Assassin's Creed Review
Director: Justin Kurzel.
Score: Jed Kurzel
So the long awaited film of one of my favourite game franchises comes to life on the big screen, and fortunately with Ubisoft, one of my favourite game developers behind the scenes every step of the way. Does this mean we're going to get the film fans deserve? Or does it unfortunately fall to the curse of games being churned as a movie?
Why is it so hard to beat this curse that's plagued films like Resident Evil, Street Fighter and Need For Speed. Is it because games are an interaction, immersing you into the plot more than a film would, playing out the story, where as a film just shows you the way, telling you how it happens?
It's a hard challenge to accept for any director or studio to take and you can read more about games on the big screen in my blog here. (though currently a little out of date.) Do they make a film purely for the fans? a film that will capture and be appreciated by non-players? Or try to achieve the balance of both? Which is what I feel they attempted to do here.
Justin Kurzel is the daring director who reunites with both Fassbender and Cotillard from his visually stunning and artful Macbeth, a style that is very prominent this film too, with heavy use of smoke and moody slow-mo which suits the presence of the Creed.
The core of the Assassin Creed story is there but the tweaks really ruin any good progression. The game's plot has a certain level of romance, an air of authenticity, it's historical nature was something the whole series really prided themselves on. This was lacking from the film, as were the locations which, in the games play an incredibly important part of both the story and gameplay. The film done away with this almost entirely.
The games were so accurate to a degree that when I visited Roma, I could actually get myself about the glorious city without a map, purely because I had spent many gaming hours running around the virtual city in Brotherhood. The first game was modelled on Jerusalem, followed by Venice and Florence in the second, my point being that these iconic landmarks played a massive integral part of the Assassin Creed stories yet the film did nothing, in fact, purposefully avoiding key cities the games had previously visited.
As with the locations, they've done away with the characters from the original plot line. Michael Fassbender plays Cal, an orphan of the Creed's bloodline but he's no Desmond Miles, not even an Ezio or Altaïr and there doesn't appear to have any scope to introduce these characters. Not that I disliked her before, but I'm becoming quite a fan of Marion Cotillard who plays the daughter of Abstergo CEO, the company bent on using their groundbreaking technology to get what they're after.
The animus itself is complete different from being a recliner, maybe to shy away from The Matrix and not just to add dramatic affect but it is a step in the wrong direction creating an unbelievability in an already super fiction world. But all this is coming from the opinion of a hardcore gamer and shouldn't taint the viewing pleasure of a non-player. My friend who's never played the games throughly enjoyed the film because he couldn't, wouldn't have, picked up on the alterations.
Something they did do right was the fighting and the parkour, dedicating ample scenes and sequences to the action style famed from the games. It's superbly captured and quite creative actually rekindling that "awesome" gaming mechanic that actually makes me want to pick up the controller and play.
Another good thing to come from this film is the score from Jed Kurzel and it had listening to it after the screening. Tracks like "Abstergo", "The Animus" and "The Regression" are all amazing and worthy of the game/film. Gladly the film lacks a soundtrack, not to ruin the ambience of the film, but the few tracks it does play actually fits well.
It's already fast becoming the Suicide Squad of 2017, but don't get me wrong, I was disappointed with Suicide Squad as much as everyone else was, and even though my actual write-up pretty much contradicts my overall rating, it's actually far from being the worse film of the year; and Assassin's Creed is very much of the same ilk.
The film has some great elements, just like Suicide Squad, and no, I'm not comparing them, simply stating how both have been received by critics and viewers alike. There's a great score from Kurzel, some amazing action sequences and plenty of nods to the game source, obviously Ubisoft very heavily invested in the film; but it just doesn't hit it's target.
It tries to be an Assassin's Creed movie, it's a not a bad attempt, and though I would be willing to see where they go with this, hoping for Brotherhood, Black Flag and Syndicate, it's unfortunately not what I would call a true Assassin's Creed film.
You can read more about Games on the Big Screen in my blog here (needs updating since last year, so forgive me)
Running Time: 8
The Cast: 7
Job Description: 6
The Extra Bonus Point: 0
Would I buy the Blu-ray?: Actually yes.