Finding a good book-to-movie adaptation is hard enough, but finding a video game-to-movie adaptation that’s actually passable is even rarer given how often Hollywood completely misses changes the plot into something unrecognizable. So to have Warcraft, a 2016 film based on the MMORPG World of Warcraft (WoW), feature a plot that’s familiar to movie fans is a delight.
The movie brought beloved WoW characters to the big screen, such as Medivh, Anduin, and Garona. Look closely, and you’ll even spot easter eggs from the video game, like funnel cakes. If you loved the geeky goodness of Warcraft, you’re going to love these films that are just like it.
1. Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (2023)
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (2023) is a fantasy heist based in the Forgotten Realms, one of the many settings of the table-top roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons. The film follows a ragtag group of adventurers as they realize that they have to work together to save the people they love – even though they start out being in it for the money.
Honor Among Thieves is hands down the best depiction of Dungeons & Dragons that we’ve gotten to date. It pays respects to the rules of the game without getting too bogged down by them to the point that the references are intrusive for anyone not 100% familiar with the gameplay aspects of D&D. If you can imagine a movie where fantasy tropes meet Guardians of the Galaxy, you can probably get a good grasp of what Honor Among Thieves has in store for you.
2. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
It’s impossible to talk about fantasy movies like Warcraft without talking about The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) movie trilogy. Based on the novel written by J.R.R. Tolkien, the LOTR movies are a quintessential fantasy adventure that features magical races such as dwarves, elves, hobbits, and orcs – all of which should be familiar to anyone who loves World of Warcraft given how much the game borrows from LOTR.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) is the first movie in the trilogy. It introduces viewers to Middle-earth, a world that looks much like ours but with magic. A darkness plans to take over Middle-earth. Sauron and his evil forces are trying to obtain the One Ring, a magical ring that’s capable of commanding other people to do its wearer’s bidding. The heroes of The Lord of the Rings — Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Gandalf, Pippin, and Merry — must now leave behind their prejudices against each other and come together to stop Sauron.
3. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2012) is set decades in the past but in the same world as the LOTR trilogy. In it, Bilbo Baggins begins telling the story of his youthful adventures to Frodo, his nephew. Bilbo relays how he first met Gandalf and how the wizard tricked him into going on an adventure to recover the gold that the dragon Smaug stole from the dwarves.
While the LOTR trilogy feels grander in scale, The Hobbit feels like a heartwarming adventure that wouldn’t be too out-of-place in a table-top roleplaying game session as a one-shot. The movie also has a lot of cool scenes where viewers get introduced to legendary swords and meet legendary figures they first met in the LOTR trilogy.
4. Conan the Barbarian (1982)
Conan the Barbarian (1982) is another fantasy film centered on the titular Conan, a Cimmerian who is taken as a slave of war after invading forces decimate his people. Conan grows up to become a strong, massive man, so instead of being kept as a slave in a mill, he’s made to train as a gladiator. But Conan doesn’t forget his origins and what Thulsa Doom and his army did to his people. Conan decides to escape at the first chance he gets and takes on the responsibility of freeing his people and slaying Thulsa Doom.
The film is a classic of the fantasy genre and has since been rebooted in a 2011 film of the same name.
5. The Princess Bride (1987)
Another fantasy classic, The Princess Bride (1987) is famous for the meme, “My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father. Prepare to die.” before we meet Inigo, though, we’re introduced to the princess bride in question – Buttercup. Buttercup isn’t actually a princess by blood, but she is forced into an engagement with the Prince of Florin, Humperdinck. Alone and with her beloved Westley seemingly lost at sea, it looks like Buttercup has no choice but to marry the prince. That is until she’s kidnapped by a ragtag trio consisting of Vizzini, Inigo, and Fezzik.
6. Eragon (2006)
Eragon (2006)’s titular protagonist was a simple farm boy. One day, while hunting for deer, he sees a stone materialize in front of him. The stone turns out to be a dragon egg that was teleported away by the elven princess of Ellesmera, who wanted to save the egg from the evil king, Galbatorix. The kindly Eragon takes the egg home and nurses it until it hatches into a dragon. Together with the now-hatched Saphira, Eragon must embark on a quest to defeat Galbatorix.
7. Stardust (2007)
Stardust (2007) is a movie about a star falling to Earth after the King of Stormhold knocks her out of the heavens with a ruby he throws into the sky. The star, who now appears as a girl named Yvaine, wakes up on Earth and meets Tristan, a young man who plans to exchange her for his beloved’s hand in marriage. That is until a string of events leads him to realize that it’s Yvaine who his heart has always longed for.
The movie has a folktale feel to it. The premise about a star becoming a woman and meeting a human man is similar to other tales of mystical women marrying human men, such as the legend of the selkie and the Crane Wife. It also incorporates a number of folklore tropes that will no doubt be fun to spot for fans of fantasy looking for movies like Warcraft.