Video games have become an art form in terms of next-generation visuals and grand storytelling. Among the boom is the popular franchise (and personal favorite) #AssassinsCreed. With nine games (including spin-offs), the franchise was no doubt too much of a powerhouse to ignore in Hollywood. Now, we have another video game adaptation coming our way, and Assassin’s Creed has a lot on its shoulders. Being a movie based on a game is a harsh label to begin with. #Warcraft didn’t fare well critically or financially (excluding China), and not to mention that there were a whole slew of bad video game movies in the past. It’s easy to expect Assassin’s Creed to fall flat, but there is hope. Stacked with a stellar cast along with the game’s production company, the movie strives to prove to us that Assassin's Creed will not only be great, but could narratively improve on the games’ weaknesses. 20th Century Fox is looking to break the bad video game movie curse with a fist in the face (or stab).
The first way Assassin’s Creed is trying to break the strong barrier is the cast. Michael Fassbender is a beast when it comes to playing badasses. His portrayal of Magneto in the #XMen films were the highlight of the mutant-centric movies. He owned the best sequences in those films, and boasted very strong performances. Even if the film ends up being OK, Fassbender’s performance is a definite promise of something good to come out of it.
Judging from her role as Mal in #Inception, Oscar winner Marion Cotillard proved that she can be a villain. I believe she will be able to add some interesting flair to the modern-day setting of the film. Ariane Labed’s Maria looks like she could be a scene-stealer, so there could be some competition between her and Fassbender. Then there’s Brendan Gleeson and Jeremy Irons. Jeremy Irons has proved that you can deliver a strong performance with limited screen time (#BatmanVSuperman), and Brenden Gleeson can be empathetic (In Bruges) and quirky (#HarryPotter). Let's hope their talents will shine through in the modern-day setting of the film.
Fixing The Modern-Day Issue
Speaking of modern day, Assassin’s Creed looks like it’s going to try and fix the modern-day issues faced in the game. Those who have played the games know that the present-day storylines were all pretty boring. After Desmond's death, the games resorted us, the gamer, to be the face of the storyline. Yeah, it was that bad. The modern-day setting in the film shows some major changes, like the animus, which Fassbender’s Callum Lynch will use to relive his ancestor’s memories. The video game version looked too much like The Matrix, but the film differentiated itself from parallels. From the trailers, it looks like the movie will spend lot of time with Callum at Abstergo Industries. It looks like the film wants to develop the characters, as well as the ones set in the animus. With the positive changes to the modern-day setting added with the performances of Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, Assassin’s Creed is shaping up to beat its video game counterpart in terms of narrative.
The Assassin’s Creed games are fun mainly because you get to climb everything and be an agile badass with blades on your wrist. The movie’s two trailers prove to have that, all while being heavily rooted in practical effects. Director Justin Kurzel and Michael Fassbender wanted to ground the stunts, and they got professional parkour enthusiasts to translate it from game to movie. As shown in the trailers, not only do the stunts look cool and real, the fight choreography looks better than the video games. Damien Walters, Michael Fassbender’s stunt double, performed an actual leap of faith for the film, a 125 foot, free fall jump.
It’s Not An Adaptation
Don’t let the name of the movie fool you. Assassin’s Creed is a continuation of the game's narrative, and focuses on a new character. While many video game adaptations try to translate visuals and certain elements from the games, Assassin’s Creed is continuing the rich story, simply in film format. In a way, you can look at it as a sequel to the games. I’m happy that the production went with this route, because it doesn’t ruin what I loved in the video games.
Ubisoft Is Involved
#Ubisoft and 20th Century #Fox came to an agreement that the game developers has creative control over the project. Ubisoft even developed a film production company just to have a hand in the Assassin’s Creed development. This is a first for a company, going out of its way to protect its creative integrity. With talented directors leaving projects due to creative differences, Ubisoft made sure that those situations didn’t happen, and it worked in their favor.
As an avid fan of the Assassin’s Creed franchise, I do have high hopes for the film. The five points mentioned above are strong reasons why this film will break the bad video game movie curse. The talent behind the production is proof that Ubisoft and Fox set out to make a great film that can extend beyond the video game genre. With the mass audience willing to spend their precious time and money on reboots, remakes, and blockbuster tent-poles, Assassin’s Creed aims to put their hand in the huddle, and show off its greatness to the world. If (when) Assassin’s Creed breaks the curse, it could open new doors to video game companies to follow suit.
Do you think Assassin’s Creed can be the first great video game movie? Sound off below.