Assassin's Creed: I don't know/5
Minor spoilers(?) ahead
I don't even know if I liked this movie. It started off choppy, slow and kinda boring. Got quite good, especially right before the climax, but then ended anticlimactically. A real sequel fisher of an ending.
The more I think of it, the more I'm not surprised that this comes to us from Fox as I can just feel bits of X-Men: Apocalypse and Fantastic Four in the way its put together.
I haven't paid close attention to the Assassin's Creed games since the end of Ezio's time. I own AC3, its in the plastic. I own AC4, its part of my un-downloaded library on Steam.
But I was still a really big fan of the games. Annual releases drained me a bit, and I've kinda tuned out of video games in general outside of a few titles. But something that really put me off keeping Assassin's Creed in my circle of attention was that they stopped having focus on the present day storyline and Desmond. I liked the past, but I liked how it tied to the present just as much. I liked the end goal it presented.
If the reason they started to pare that away from the games was so that it could all go into the movie I just watched, well... maybe it wasn't such a bad thing. It hits at parts, but it definitely misses too.
Maybe I should go back and play the games again, because I think this movie reminded me why I was such a fan.
Now, I liked the future/present day stuff when it was the little group of misfits and there was the weird God(s) stuff and weird space visions or whatever. Desmond strapped into a fancy massage chair to get his brain probed back in time. It made it seem so much more like a science experiment.
The big arm thingy, the Zack Snyder-esque washout of all images, the deathly seriousness, surprising lack of charisma from Michael Fassbender... it all just kinda drains the movie.
If the present day stuff was purely for a framing device, thats not bad and probably works better. But so much back and forth, especially during the flashbacks can really take you out of the moment.
I was really into one scene in particular, and just as I was about to be hooked, I was actually leaning forward in my seat, you're cut back to the lab for a couple reaction shots of scientists and then back into the flashback. Its just jarring and ruins your ability to immerse in either setting.
Part of the fun of the settings of the games is getting to have a fun action adventure romp through different time periods. This was so deathly serious in the past and present/future. Even though you're on the Assassin's side as a viewer, you don't get connected or sympathize with any of the on screen ones until the third act.
There are great visuals. I think there is more here for a game fan than a movie fan - things like wardrobe design and certain nostalgia imagery. Its probably more of a Netflix or airplane film than something to spend 20 bucks+snacks on. Its more of a neat watch than an engaging film.
I don't know. I saw it. I don't regret seeing it. But I'm not sure I can encourage you to go see. Honestly, you probably knew before the release whether you wanted to see it or not.
Why Video Game Movies Are Bad
The big thing that a lot of video game movies miss is capturing what the game is about.
- Hitman isn't a big dumb action flick. He's a stealthy, precise and innovative contract killer who takes out high profile targets creatively. Sort of Jason Bourne with a little Neal Caffrey.
- Prince of Persia is a one man's redemption story, not a goofy Disney-ized wacky half action story.
- Silent Hill is a psychological horror with clever themes and "action" for the sole purpose of gameplay suspense versus action scenes.
- Resident Evil doesn't know what it is as a game anymore so the films kinda line up actually.
A lot of these movies come out well after the property is at its high point as well. This should have come out during Ezio's trilogy. The Warcraft movie in 2008. Prince of Persia in 2006. It almost forces the movies into suffering the same fate of the decade later sequel - Anchorman 2, Bad Santa 2, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, 300: Rise Of An Empire, etc.
Its why I hope there is never a Mass Effect film. If there was, it needed to come out in 2010 before Guardians, Star Trek and Star Wars got going again. It would be better served as a Battlestar Galactica series. Fitting 25-40 hours of exposition, characters, moments and story into 120 minutes in nearly impossible.
I thought that Assassin's Creed doing its own thing versus an Ezio or Altair story was one of the best chances a video game would have. It had the potential to do its entirely own story. And it did, but poorly.