Okay, so I don’t know what went wrong here, this movie had so much promise. We’d been waiting for years, they finally confirmed it ages ago, then this year they told us who would be in the movie… and then the movie came out.
And it is horrible.
I’m going to start with the story.
So it seems that the producers and scriptwriters were just like “well everyone who knows the games knows the story inside and out; as good as the story is, we should totally screw that over and go with something that probably won’t work”. I don’t see how they thought that would work. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for originality in Hollywood, but people wanted Altair or Ezio, not a lore-breaking story.
I’d just like to warn you, there are a couple of spoilers ahead, nothing too big and pertinent to the plot, but points that should nonetheless be discussed.
At one point in the movie, we hear “All the other bloodlines have died out”. This instantly means that there are no Assassins left, that there are none who are related to previous Assassins to access their memories through an Animus. If this is canon to the games, then we have a problem, because that basically means no more Assassin’s Creed games with parts of the story set in the modern day. Now that doesn’t seem to be much of a problem, with the last few games completely ignoring the life of whoever is stuck in the animus, but it was those parts of the story that made the science of it all intriguing for some, making the magic of the Pieces of Eden (and the Apple of Eden) just that much more amazing to really think about.
The next issue is the animus itself. They completely redesigned it. Gone are the days of someone lying on a bed hooked up to a computer; now the user finds themselves moving along with their ancestor, physically reliving the memory as if the event were still taking place, a mechanical arm which the user is attached to accounts for upward and downward movement. Holograms allowing others in the room to see whatever is surrounding the user in their memory. This doesn’t really destroy the canon but it does expand upon it.
Now for the actual movie review.
The combat was amazing, it was all an Assassin’s Creed fan could have asked for. The acting wasn’t too bad (could have been a lot worse) and the accents were a little all over the place; although I’ll cut Fassbender some slack on that one, a German man playing an American and a Spaniard; it certainly sounds like he practised his Spanish though. The soundtrack was far from amazing; normally I don’t mention the soundtrack in my reviews but this time I had to, seeing as the soundtrack of each AC game is part of what makes them so good.
Then there is the issue of all the in-animus scenes being in Spanish. What the hell? Justin Kurzel, you realise that the animus automatically translates languages so that the user can understand, right? Or did no one on the production team do their research? Thank goodness for subtitles.
And what was with the Apple of Eden? That thing is supposed to glow, in the movie, the only time we see it actually glow is when Alan Rikkin (played by Jeremy Irons) activates it; pretty sure it is supposed to glow all the time.
Now for the biggest problem of all…
This movie felt short, despite the runtime of two hours and twenty minutes. The ending was abrupt and unexpected, I honestly felt like I’d only been in the theatre for half an hour when the end credits rolled. So if you’re looking to lose time, this movie is the way to do it.
And I’m certainly not the only one to feel disappointed. I struck up a conversation with two guys who had watched the movie at the same showing as I and asked them what they thought. One of them was clearly a fan of the games, and he said he felt the movie could have achieved so much more; the other said he’d never played the games before but that he definitely wanted his money back.
At the end of the day, this film has only three redeeming qualities: the combat choreography, Michael Fassbender and Jeremy Irons.
Image courtesy of Syfy.com.