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Movie Review: Assassin's Creed
NEW RATING SYSTEM!
All movies start with 75 points. Then for every Pro/Con, points are either awarded or taken away. The number of points for each Pro/Con will range from will be a minimum of 1 point and maximum of 10 points (varying based on the significance of the Pro/Con). All the points are then added to 75 and the total determines the letter grade based on the following scale:
F (0-59), D- (60-64), D+ (65-69), C- (70-74), C+ (75-79), B- (80-84), B+ (85-89), A- (90-94), A+ (95-100)
Callum Lynch is a man who has lead a difficult life ever since his mother was killed by his father (an assassin) when Callum was a boy. When Callum faces the death penalty, he is discovered by a company called Abstergo which has developed a new innovative method to relive our ancestor's memories using a machine called The Animus. Callum soon learns that he is the only living descendant of Aguilar, a member of the Assassin's Creed who is the last known person to have come in contact with an ancient artifact known as the Apple of Eden which holds the power to end violence. Callum Lynch must relive his ancestor's memories to find this extremely powerful artifact.
The Animus (-4pts)
Assassin's Creed (+4pts)
New Story (+4pts)
Plot Points (-5pts)
Pro - Action (+6pts)
The action in this movie was nothing short of great. The only reason I did not give it more points was because there just was not enough of it. The action we did get was fantastic. With great cinematic sequences that featured nods to the game and the fighting style that the game introduced, this movie put a ton of effort into making sure that everyone was satisfied with the action in this movie. We get hidden blade combat, long ranged weapon combat, Assassin parkour, Eagle Point dives and a lot more. I promise you will love the action in this movie and your only complaint with it will be that you want more of it.
Con - The Animus (-4pts)
I was very confused as to what was going through the mind of whomever decided to make The Animus a giant claw machine. It screams "studio executive meddling" because it was probably the dumbest part of this movie. It is the first example of the filmmakers having no understanding of the concept for this movie. In the video game, The Animus was a simple medical bed. Believe me, I am not one that thinks the movie has to be exactly like the game. The game understood that as soon as the modern day character enters The Animus, the focus needs to be on the ancestor's storyline. The movie failed to understand this concept. The first example of this is that during action sequences, the movie regularly cuts back and forth between assassin action and Michael Fassbender jumping around in a giant claw.
Pro - Assassin's Creed (+4pts)
This is one element that the movie got right. The Assassin's Creed is a brotherhood of sorts. Every assassin is completely loyal and completely devoted to the cause. They are ready to die on a moments notice if it means protecting The Apple of Eden and defeating the Templars. This movie conveyed this loyalty and showed how important the Creed is. That being said and similarly to the action, I could only give it 5pts because there wasn't enough of it.
Con - Timeline (-6pts)
Easily the biggest problem with the movie and the ultimate evidence that the studio had no idea what movie they were making, the movie spends way too much time in present day. On the surface, I see the issue. There are two storylines in different timelines and the movie cannot be as long as the game. However! The movie is called Assassin's Creed. The first of the two words in the title should have been a giant clue as to which timeline should have gotten the most focus. I know almost nothing about Aguilar which is incredibly disappointing. Essentially, the plot of this film was 95% modern day storyline and we only saw the assassins in order throw random action sequences in there. It made the assassins unrelatable and less compelling and that's coming from someone who loved the games. For a movie titled Assassin's Creed, I needed to see more of the assassins. I want to know about their involvement in the Spanish Inquisition. I want know about Aguilar and his relationship with his fellow assassins and I want to see the Templars involvment in that timeline as well. Was the modern day storyline bad? I do not think so, but it could have been better and it was not the movie I wanted to see.
Pro - New Story (+4pts)
I liked that the movie did not use Altair or Ezio (the two most notable assassins from the game) because it provided a fresh story to everyone regardless of whether or not they played the game. This was a great decision by the filmmakers but I could not give this many points because I still know nothing about Aguilar.
Con - Plot Points (-5pts)
The next big issue with the movie was that there are pretty significant plot points throughout this movie that should have been big reveal moments but instead were just thrown out their as if they were nothing. Things like: Modern Day Templars, the fate of Callum Lynch's father, and Callum Lynch's synchronization with Aguilar. These should have been big moments in the movie and if they were given proper focus, we could have gotten a much better movie. This is another example of the lack of understanding that the filmmakers had with this project. There was potential for some big dramatic moments in this movie, moments that captivated the gaming community. Unfortunately the studio dropped the ball on this and I think a lot of things will not carry as much weight with the non-gaming community.
Score: C- (74pts)
This movie had massive potential. I've played all of the games and have been captivated by the storytelling and world building. This movie failed to provide the Assassin's involvement in the Spanish Inquisition, it failed to properly depict the Templar vs. Assassin rivalry, it failed to develop what could have been a very cool new Assassin in Aguilar, and that's just me getting started. Is this a terrible movie? No, do not listen to those reviews blindly. There is some great action in this film and it has set up the cinematic version of Assassin's Creed featuring a new assassin named Aguilar. This movie isn't bad but it is far from perfect. It misses the mark on most of its potential and for that, the studio should be very disappointed in this movie. The Assassin's Creed property has the potential for billions of dollars in the movie industry but this movie will not get that ball rolling. I really hope the studio finds the money to make a sequel to this movie in which it can fix its mistakes. If you were interested in this movie then go check it out, as I think you will enjoy it but be aware that it has it's problems.