I am a big fan of the Assassin’s Creed games, so I was initially worried when it was announced that Hollywood was going to attempt to make a movie out of it. Aside from the fact that video game adaptations are box office poison, I was concerned that the narrative and the ideas were a bit too big to fit into a two hour movie. But from the looks of the trailer, I may not have anything to worry about:
Aesthetically, the movie is very in-keeping with the look and feel of the game. The modern days sections seem a bit darker – the shadowy rooms of brushed concrete and and glass – but the colour and grittiness of the historical setting of Spanish Inquisition era Spain is pretty spot-on. Costume-wise, the Assassins look fantastic – right up there with the most impressive designs of the franchise. The way that they move and fight looks really good in the trailer, and some of the more supernatural aspects of their abilities seem to be faithfully recreated.
A key difference between the game and the movie seems to be the Animus itself – throughout the various video-games, it’s shown as either a futuristic looking psychiatrist’s chair or some sort of VR headset (depending on which game you are playing), but it the movie it appears to be a mechanical arm that keeps the subject suspended in the air. It seems likely that in the film version of the universe Animus users literally act out everything they are doing in the memory, which has a lot of potential actually. A large feature of the earlier installments in the series is that Assassin’s can be trained using the Animus and learn the abilities of their ancestors that they can then use in the real world – and some of the later footage in the trailer seems to show Fassbender putting some of these skills to use.
One slight worry about the movie is that, according to the executive producer, the film will spend the majority of its time in the modern day – apparently it’ll be a 65% to 35% split. This feels instinctively wrong, as one of the main criticisms that many have about the games is that the modern day sections are increasingly unnecessary. In more recent installments, these segments are token at best; there is an over-arching story to them, but they feel needless and perfunctory. For me personally, there is nothing more annoying than being yanked out of the game to have some character you don’t really know spout exposition of a story you don’t care about. Having said that, just because it has been handled badly in the games before, doesn’t mean that this focus will necessarily be bad in the film – the two media work completely differently. We’ll see I suppose.
So yeah – all in all, I’m actually quite excited about this movie! While I hope that it does the games justice, I do seriously think it has the potential to be great film. Maybe this can be the movie to break the game adaptation curse once and for all.
P.S. I know I am not alone on this, but the music they used in this trailer was just totally wrong. Film-makers take note: less of that, more of this: