Duncan Jones is having a year.
Earlier this summer, critics scorned Warcraft, the Moon and Source Code director's foray into mega-budget video-game adaptations, while US audiences looked the other way -- the movie made a meager $47 million in the States (despite breaking box-office records around the world). Add the birth of his first kid, just days after the movie's premiere, and the death of his father, David Bowie, back in January, and that's a lot of life to shoulder. But Jones is marching on; he phones me from Berlin where he's location scouting for the Blade Runner-esque Mute, which sounds more like a spirit journey than a fourth feature.
Here's the thing: Warcraft works. The chronicles of Durotan the orc warrior, Anduin the human knight, Medivh the conjuring wizard, Garona the lethal hybrid, and Gul'dan the villainous orc warlock (warlorc?) pulsate like the pages of a flip book. Jones authentically translates video-game action to the screen, owning the color, the craziness, and the cacophony. Once upon a time, the Warcraft game designers may have harvested J.R.R. Tolkien for inspiration. The movie version blows past the ingrained images like electricity out of a mage's fingertips, not original, glowing vibrantly in a sterilized summer season.