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Assassin’s Creed was billed as the video game movie that was going to break the streak of cross-media disappointments. Here to explain why Assassin’s Creed disappoints is our own Elodie Cure.
Film Review: Assassin’s Creed
Assassin’s Creed is one of the most renowned franchises amongst video game fans worldwide. Since the release of the first game, Ubisoft has managed to build a rich and vast universe mingling an original story and inventive gameplay. It was only a matter of time before the franchise took its shot at the big screen. The film director Justin Kurzel with his Macbeth star Michael Fassbender have tackled the difficult task of producing it and living up the expectations of an enormous fan base.
Preceded by enthusiastic buzz, the film had to satisfy existing fan expectations and win over new supporters. Unfortunately, both sides will be disappointed by this film anomaly that pretends to be an Assassin’s Creed story.
As in the game, the film takes place in a fictional reality where two secret societies with opposite ideals, the Assassins and the Order of the Knights Templar, have been fighting against each other for centuries to acquire powerful artefacts. Thanks to a revolutionary device that releases genetic memory, Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender), a new hero, relives the adventures of his look-alike ancestor during the Spanish Inquisition in the fifteenth century. While he discovers that he originates from the assassin line, he also assimilates the abilities he will need to survive in the here and now.
In view of the talents involved and of the astronomical sums invested in the project, we were entitled to expect the best. Admittedly, the photography is satisfying, the cinematography remains faithful to the games and the costumes are sublime; the plot, however, doesn’t follow. One of the major problems with this adaptation is that it grants to much importance to a story devoid of any sense. It is utterly boring. Three quarters of the film takes place in the present, while the real interest of the original games are to experience a transcendent trip through the eyes of a former assassin; to explore an unknown era and mysterious part of history. More than that, it takes almost an hour for the protagonists to start parkour-jumping over the feudal rooftops which is where the real action is during the games.
There is nothing good to say about the characters; they are featureless, underdeveloped and devoid of personality traits. Aguilar is portrayed as just some good-looking guy who fights to protect the Eden apple from God-knows-what. Cal is a passive protagonist who barely does anything during the entire film, yet we constantly hear how special he is. As for the doctor Sophia Rikkin, played by Marion Cotillard, she is a scientist who hates violence and who is too focused on her work to realise that her avid father (Jeremy Irons) manipulates her right under everyone’s nose. Its mind-boggling how such great actors can be so under-utilized.
Even though the initial concept was rather enticing, the Assassin’s Creed film fails at keeping its promises. It doesn’t excite anyone with its scenario and the audience is swiftly lost in boredom and nonsense, while the characters’ motivations, past and evolutions are barely discussed.
Despite the undeniable effort from Ubisoft and Century Fox during the production, the franchise stumbles. After Blizzard’s failure to make a movie out of a videogame with Warcraft this year, it is Ubisoft’s turn to suffer from a regrettable misfire. All this leads us to believe that an enjoyable video game movie adaptation remains an elusive target.
You’d better stick to your game console for the moment.
Elodie Cure is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow her on Twitter @Elodie_Cure.
Source: 20th Century Fox
A deceptive piece of work that doesn’t live up to its billing.