Assassin’s Creed The Movie
- Director: Justin Kurzel
- Producer: Jean-Julien Baronnet, Frank Marshall, Micheal Fassbender
- Distribution: 20th Century Fox
- Cast: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Michael K Williams
- Release Date: 1st January 2017
- Runtime: 116 Minutes
Apple Of Eden
Assassin’s Creed is the first big budget live action film that is loosely based on the popular video game franchise by Ubisoft Studios. It centres loosely along the same sort of lines of the first few games in the series whilst also offering a different perspective of the story.
Video game movies don’t really tend to have a good track record when it comes to them. For every Resident Evil or Doom which aren’t too bad overall you then have films like Super Mario Bros and Double Dragon which are awful as films. For this reason I was hesitant going into this, whilst I did like the look of the film from the trailers the doubt was always there in my mind that this would be another waste of treasured source material. Thankfully this was not the case at all. Instead we actually get arguably the best video game movie yet.
We have a plot very similar to that of Assassin’s Creed 2 but with different characters in the lead. Instead of Desmond Miles we have Michael Fassbender’s Callum Lynch, and like Desmond’s ancestor Ezio Auditore we are introduced to Callum’s ancestor Aguilar de Nerha for the flashback/animus chunks of the film.
This new addition to the Assassin’s Creed lore is easily the strongest lead character we have had since the Ezio days. He’s part of an ancient Spanish bloodline sworn to protect the object the film revolves around – the Apple of Eden. This object has popped up in quite a lot of the earlier games as the big MacGuffin piece throughout that the Templar Order want to retrieve to eliminate freewill from the human race and eradicate the Order of the Assassins.
This premise brings us directly to the focal point of the story. Callum from an early age has been a troubled child and ends up on death row, during his execution the situation is rigged so the Templar’s can transfer him to the Abstergo Industries lab/prison in Madrid and through the Animus system trace his memories back to the location of the Apple. It comes down to the simple three act structure films tend to lean on. Act one introductions, act two placements are made and lead character still undecided by motivations, act three lead character see the right path they need to take and all hell breaks loose in final set piece.
It’s pretty much the entire plot of Assassin’s Creed 1, 2, Brotherhood and Revelations all rolled into one really this film. Simple enough and very familiar at first but then this is where it gets interested as unlike the games we get to see Abstergo and the Templars from a different point of view and spend a considerable amount of time with them.
Mainly Marion Cotillard’s Sophia Rikken who is a driven member of Abstergo but with mixed feelings and motivations throughout and a sort of weird evil fondness for Callum and his past lives. We also have her father Alan Rikken played by Jeremy Irons as a driven member of the Templar Order with a drive and rush to find the Apple at all costs who comes across more as a shady character than an evil one.
The Animus is also vastly different in this film than the games but for the better. In the games it is just really a couch you’re led on and plugged into. In this it’s a more weird sci-fi looking claw machine which whilst you are in the synchronisation allows the person to freely move about mirroring what you are doing in the past life which makes for a very cool visual aspect.
Death By A Thousand Cuts
The real highlight of Assassin’s Creed the Movie is Callum’s past life as Aguilar in 15th Century Spain. Like with the games the fleshed out world of the past is always the crux of the series and it is evident in these scenes. We see Aguilar’s life as a mirror opposite to how Callum has lived. He’s a driven hardened member of the Assassin’s and loyal to the Creed where Callum is an outcast who has drifted through his life with no meaning.
We see all the staples from the games such as the free-running and parkour, scaling buildings, different means of stealth assassinations, blending through crowds and of course Eagle Vision and the Leap of Faith. The fact that these stunts where actually real really does shine through and make it seem authentic and incredibly cool looking.
Visually 15th Century Spain looks fantastic and very authentic. The areas in Andalucía, Granada, Madrid and Seville we see all look amazing plus the fact these periods where filmed with people speaking the native language and being subtitled added a layer of authenticity that the games lack and really made you feel like you are in that time period with the characters.
My main criticism though is that the film does lack more Assassin characters. We have Aguilar’s team in the Spanish flashbacks that whilst doing all the fancy Assassin skills don’t really get fleshed out. This also applies to the team Callum puts together in the Abstergo lab/prison.
We have a few characters in there like Michael K William’s Moussa as the lead in these particular scenes looking and acting cool and hopefully will be more expanded on in the sequel but currently from this film it does seem like a one Assassin show for the time being.
Overall there wasn’t a ton to complain about really with the film. The casting was spot on and the source material was honoured even though the majority of the cast admitted pre-release to never having played any of the games.
The locations where used to great effect and overall they made it original enough whilst still maintaining all the staples of the games people loved to the degree where it comes across as good fan service but also something new and fresh. It also leads directly into territory to where a sequel would be obvious and a utter disservice if they don’t follow through.
- Casting spot on throughout – Michael Fassbender shines as two opposite characters, Marion Cotillard provides a different type of villain to the traditional method
- Locations all looked fantastic and authentic
- Use of Assassin’s skills from the game look very cool in film, stealth assassinations and Leap of Faith being the standout
- Could of used more Assassin’s and more background information on the Creed in general
- Great original story idea whilst also paying homage to the series