Here we are with another video game movie and another question of whether it will be a flop or not. Movies based on video games more often than not don’t do well at the box office for a number of different reasons. As soon as it was announced questions of whether Assassin’s Creed would be good or not began. We got the chance to go check it out today, and see if it follows suit with all other failed video game movies or whether it would break that trend.
Assassin’s Creed has a lot of things to set up in its near two-hour runtime. It has to set up all the backstory for our main character Callum Lynch (played by Michael Fassbender), the film also has to give casual cinema goes an over of the history of the Assassins, the Templars and Abstergo, the Apple of Eden and what it does, and what any of this has to do with Michael Fassbender. To be fair the film does a fairly good job of doing that, while at times it could be too straight forward when revealing certain aspects of the films plot (it doesn’t leave much for audiences to figure out by themselves) it does well to set up the film and it’s characters.
The film centers around Callum Lynch (Fassbender) a death row prisoner who is preparing to meet his maker. But rather than die on the execution table, he wakes up in Abstergo, face to face with Dr Sophia Rikkin (Marion Cotillard). Sophia tells Callum that his genetic code holds the answer to the lost location of the Apple of Eden (a sacred artifact that has the secret to riding the world of violence)
Sophia belongs to the modern day incarnation of the Templars, who seek to rule humanity by robbing everyone of their free will through use of the Apple of Eden. Callum is the descendant of an Assassin named Aguilar from the early days of the Spanish Inquisition who is the last person known to have seen the Apple. By attaching Callum to a the animus, Sophia can unlock his genetic memory and access his ancestor’s experiences.
There are aspects of the film that take away from it, such as the backstory that was put together for Callum Lynch it felt like it was literally just thrown together, some of the supporting characters in the film, and the odd inclusion of hallucinations that Callum has upon leaving the animus don’t need to be in the movie. It also falls prey to one of the main things that annoyed people about the video games and that is when you have a main story point or on a main question Abstergo pull you out of the animus for no reason, this stopped the momentum of the film when it happened.
For the things that take away from the film, there are plenty of things that the film does right, for instance the visuals in the films are truly spectacular, while the film does not include the infamous eagle vision trait from the games, there are scenes that see the camera follow a falcon as it flies across cities and it recaptures some of the sights from the games eagle vision. The fight scenes and the parkour in the film are exactly like what you see in the video games, the characters move fluidly from building to building, ledge to ledge just like you would in the games. The use of new characters rather than ones from the game series also make it stand out as it’s own film even though it is tied the video games and includes the Apple of Eden.
Perhaps the best thing in the movie is the animus, or rather the films version of the animus. When fans first seen the mechanical arm style animus in the trailer they were not impressed by it, it was one of the key parts of the game, the bed style animus and the film had gone and changed it. After seeing the film, the decision to make it a mechanical arm style animus was not a bad one at all, the reason for it is that it allows the characters to move while in it. While yes it would be great to see the original animus, having the mechanical arm that moves Callum around while he is jumping from building to building as Aguilar. This adds a whole lot to the film as the animus is not only used to relive memories, it is also teaching Callum the ways of the Assassins which are made all the more effective by this free moving version of the animus.
Overall the question of whether Assassin’s Creed is good video game based movie or another bad one, it is a good movie. While like all films it is not without it’s flaws, for its nods to the video game series, stunning visuals and fight sequences, it is the best live action film that is based on a video game to be released in quite sometime, it is not jam packed, it doesn’t feel like the story is rushed and the cast in the movie is great. This writer certainly enjoyed it having gone in as a fan of the video game series and came out with the sense that it done the games justice to an extent. If you are a fan of the video game series it is definitely worth going to see.
Assassin’s Creed is in Irish cinemas now.