Missing the target
Some things go together like chocolate and peanut butter; unfortunately that isn't always the case with film adaptations of video games. While there have been some decent attempts like last year's Warcraft and guilty pleasures like the Resident Evil film series, unfortunately Assassin's Creed's leap of faith doesn't fall into any of the two. I could talk about how convoluted the plot is but that would be unfair considering it's following the story of the video game to a point, which in itself is already confusing even for a gamer such as myself. Instead, I'll give you a "cliff-notes" version just bring you up to speed. Assassin's Creed is based on the popular video game series and the story revolves around a long-age war between two different factions: the Assassins and the Templars. Both factions seek an item called the Apple of Eden, which is said to hold mankind's first act of disobedience and the capacity to rewrite free will. The Templars want to use the Apple to gain control of the world and eradicate violence whereas the Assassins want to prevent them from using such a deadly weapon. For over 500 years, the war has shift plains and the Apple remains hidden; flash forward to 2016, we witness Cal Lynch (Michael Fassbender) being executed by lethal injection only to reawaken in a facility called the Abstergo Foundation. There he is informed by lead scientist Sofia (Marion Cotillard) that he is a direct descendant of an Assassin called Aguilar, and that through the use of her Animus machine, she can let Cal relive Aguilar's genetic memories to uncover the location of the Apple. (Sigh), OK I know I said a mouthful and trust me, this was the best I could do to clarify the already perplexing story and bear in mind, this is based on a video game. I've argued many times before about why it can be difficult to bring video games to film, and I've also stated that given the right dedication they can work; so it bothers me that we're already into 2017 and Hollywood STILL can't give us an adequate adaptation. Fassbender gets kudo points for working with what he had, and the use of the Spanish Inquisition era was an interesting choice of a setting. Unfortunately, everything else about the film falls apart. The biggest problem is the scenes with the animus machine where the action that's taking place with Aguilar overreaches into Cal's scenes in the present; they don't transition smoothly and feels disorienting; which only interrupts the pacing of the action. To reiterate, I know that's how it is in the video games but the filmmakers could have at least taken some creative liberties and changed this. I won't mince words; Assassin's Creed fell under its' own ambition. It's amazing to look at, I'll give it that much but nothing else, and only continues the bad trend of video game film adaptations.