Sam Raimi to Direct ‘World of Warcraft’ Adaptation: ‘Warcraft’

With just a single announcement, a “World of Warcraft” movie went from an eye-rolling geek joke to something any film fan wants to see. What was that stroke of greatness? Sam Raimi!

According to Variety and Ain’t It Cool News, the director of a thousand genres has signed on to helm “Warcraft,” a live action adaptation of the wildly popular online role-playing game for Warner Bros. The project has been in limbo since Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures teamed up with Blizzard to develop the game into a big screen adventure. Things have gotten serious now, with Raimi and Charles Roven, producer of “The Dark Knight,” both confirmed to be on board.

“World of Warcraft” is the most popular massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) out there, with more than 11 million subscribers. If you haven’t played it, the premise is simple: you’re a member of either the Alliance or the Horde, taking on a limitless series quests to defeat the other side. Users pay a monthly subscription fee to continue playing, and game developer/overseer Blizzard Entertainment keeps players on the hook with frequent content updates and a range of community features.

It’s a very interactive, detailed world that may take its inspiration from “Lord of the Rings” but without the scholarly tone, because the game is loaded with pop culture references, in-jokes and oddball moments. (Every time I go to Stormwind, there’s a naked elf dancing on the fountain…) If there is a director who can find the fine line between action and humor, it’s Raimi. His involvement promises to turn this into something special.

The director plans to tackle the project after “Spider-Man 4″ wraps. The superhero flick is set to begin shooting early next year. In the meantime, I have a hankering to dust off my account and level up my Tauren….

Do you think Sam Raimi is a good choice for the “World of Warcraft” movie? Do you want “Warcraft” to be a movie? Or are you happy to have it stay on your computer screen?