Assassin’s Creed (Action, Adventure) (2016)
Director: Justin Kurzel
Writers: Michael Lesslie (screenplay), Adam Cooper (screenplay)
Stars: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson
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Assassin’s Creed is a movie based on a video game series of the same name developed by Ubisoft. Many other games have also had the movie treatment, some genuinely seeming interesting. Yet still, the vast majority of them fail in capturing the actual game content and telling an exciting story at the same time. One of the few recent exceptions is Warcraft (A film about the old Warcraft games by video game studio Blizzard).
As a gamer and a film critic, I was excited about the Assassin’s Creed movie and what it could mean for video game movies in general. The games themselves have an exciting story about an order of highly trained Assassin’s and their creed to keep the world pure by killing the corrupt, thus saving those who can’t save themselves. Their enemies are the Templars, an order of knights that seem to help everyone by way of charity and providing safety yet behind closed doors, they act in corrupted ways. This war between the Assassin’s and the Templar Order has waged for centuries, unknown to most people. This war takes players of the games to many historical locations around the world spanning throughout several games each of them in another environment or country. For example, The Middle Ages, specifically Jerusalem, Acre and Damascus. The Italian Renaissance with many Italian cities like Florence and Rome and even one was taking place during The Golden Age of Piracy with places like Nassau and Havana, to name just a few of the games in the now-massive franchise.
The main protagonist is a man in the 20th century put into a machine named the ANIMUS made by a company called Abstergo (incognito company name for the Templars) the ANIMUS scans his brain for remnants of ancestors memories which the protagonist relives through the machine which makes him relive the memories of his ancestors through his own eyes.
This is a concise summary of the games and might sell it short, but everything encompassing there’s a lot more to it and the gameplay is innovating and exciting because of the story told and the freedom the player gets to roam around in these cities and locations.
With that out of the way, you can imagine how many possibilities there are for a film like this based on the massive scope and lore of the games so far and being able to take any location or character from the games. Instead, they chose to set the movie apart from the games with a unique setting (Madrid) and character (Cal/Aguilar), and soon you’ll realize (at least if you’re familiar with the games) this isn’t the only liberty they’ve taken. It’s not a bad thing to create a unique character and location for the movie and could’ve turned out fantastic adding to the vast universe of the games; instead, they took away many of the games key attributes, for example, the ANIMUS is no longer a table with a virtual screen but seems to be some sort of extreme exercise device. The main point I’m trying to make is that they primarily took the base principles from the original material and turned them into an easily digestible story with oversimplified characters seeming like they are from the first game. Even the main ingredients of the film itself didn’t feel exciting with a villain you barely know anything about, two or three Assassins’s not seeming like they genuinely have an idea about what they’re doing apart from chasing the bad guy, And most of the film taking place at the lab that makes the main character use the ‘’ANIMUS’’ to relive the memories of Aguilar (his ancestor). And in the games, the player always wanted to play as the Assassin not the guy that gets put in the ANIMUS, so it’s like they took the most tedious parts out of the game and made a movie about that. But in the end, it doesn’t matter as the Assassin parts in the film weren’t interesting either. And sadly I don’t think it makes any difference if you’re a fan of the games or just a movie-goer as it just turns out to be an absolute waste of your time.
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A shell of the gaming franchise, only taking the most obvious story elements of the game.