You've played the game, now see the movie. Right?
Wrong-o. I've never played the game aside from a 30-minute tour, and now I wish I hadn't seen the movie, either.
Come now, you say, it can't be that bad! Wasn't Wing Commander a highly-lauded, critically-acclaimed video game? Maybe the Star Wars of the PC? Sure. But when you rid yourself of everything but the title and the setting (redux: Humans at war with Kilrathi, an evil alien race that look like walking walnuts with beards), you'll find you're high and dry.
How bad is Wing Commander? Bad. Really bad. Throughout most of the film, my advance-screening theater was filled with the merry sounds of laughter. Alas, there are no (intentional) jokes on film. (Disclaimer: Said laughter does not count those who had fallen asleep.) Not only does the plot stink, but Wing Commander has some of the worst dialogue this side of Showgirls.
The marketing ploy behind Wing Commander is obvious, and I'll outline the sad history for you so you can get a sense for it.... 20th Century Fox nabs rights to successful video game for crossover hit (Mortal Kombat, the movie, was hugely successful)--maybe even a franchise! But isn't Mark Hamill getting old? Replace him with some young, unknown studs and draw the teen crowd! It'll be cheap! Uh-oh... movie's done and it is cheap... in every way imaginable. Shelve the movie. Fast-forward a few years... uh-oh again! - Prinze and Lillard are, surprise, big stars! Release movie with big ad campaign, touting the newly idolized heroes. Teens go nuts! Score!
I hear you squirming in your seat.
I'm throwing it half a star.
Out of pity.
Somehow, Burrows' hair turned back from brown to red for this lovely publicity shot. Be afraid.