So, guys…I’m doing the 100 movies in a calendar year challenge again in 2018! Muuuuch excite and celebrationsssss 🙂
If you’re not familiar with the 100 movie challenge, it’s pretty straightforward: watch 100 movies that you’ve never seen before in the span of a year. It seems most people do that in a calendar year, meaning January to the end of December, but I don’t think that’s a fast “rule,” nor is there any sort of outside accountability. It’s very much a self-driven challenge. I completed it back in 2015, and I really, really enjoyed it. I had to watch, like, FOURTEEN movies in the last week of the year…but I did it. Holy crap, I can’t believe that was TWO YEARS ago…
Anyway, if that sound fun to you, DO IT. I love it 🙂
So, onto Assassin’s Creed…
I did not love it. Nobody loved it, it would seem. Bad critical reviews, low audience scores. And the problems with this movie are pretty obvious, but first…
Cal Lynch travels back in time to 15th-century Spain through a revolutionary technology that unlocks the genetic memories contained in his DNA. There, he lives out the experiences of Aguilar de Nerha, a distant relative who’s also a member of the Assassins, a secret society that fights to protect free will from the power-hungry Templar Order. Transformed by the past, Cal begins to gain the knowledge and physical skills necessary to battle the oppressive organization in the present.
I like Michael Fassbender. I really, really do. He’s a captivating leading man, and I understand why he gets so much work. It just so happens that I dislike so many movies he does.
Some of the fight scenes in this movie were genuinely fantastic. The one that really comes to mind is the big “in-game” heist where they save several other assassins from being executed and run across a bunch of rooftops…just like the game. The second-to-last fight is fun, too, where they have the big showdown with the “in-game” giant evil dude inside a shrine. The choreo is *legitimately* impressive, and it was very evocative of the game itself.
The costumes are dope. They just are. The cowls, the form-fitting tunics and shit. It’s dope.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK:
Nothing made sense. It really, REALLY didn’t in this movie. The central plot device of the movie, the Animus, is not explained in the slightest. There are some general allusions to genetic memory, but nothing more than perhaps a line or two. The other central plot device, the Apple of Eden, is also not explained at all. We literally have a moment at the end of the movie (slight spoiler) where we see the apple doing something, but it’s not explained in any way what it is…and that’s the climax point of the movie!
Michael Fassbender’s character motivation is woefully underdeveloped. WHY WOULD HE HELP THE BAD GUYS? His draw to the Animus is quite simply never explained. What’s in it for him? They muddy this horribly with a poorly chosen opening scene from his childhood. His history as a criminal? Never shown. We have no realy window into who he is as an actual person, with a personality, way of doing things, view on the world, etc. He’s a thin backstory that doesn’t make sense, and then someone who just reacts to things that happen to him. He drives no action. Rachel Weisz suffers the same fate, with a *completely* unjustified 180º turnaround late in the film.
I also have to say that the “look” and effects of the movie were not that impressive. They seemed to simultaneously bite off more than they could chew, AND populate the movie with the same basic settings over and over again. Abstergo HQ was fun as a set, but that was about it. I also have to take issue with WHEN they set the movie…Inquisition-era Spain…I *think*? Somethat that was SO COOL about the games was each of the eras that they selected were so distinct, immediately recognizable, and fun. Not so here.
At the end of the day, it was a fine movie in the sense of turning off your brain and just watching stuff happen. I actually feel like I enjoyed this movie more than most, and perhaps that’s because I’m not someone who was steeped in the existing Assassin’s Creed mythos, so it was easier for me to just sit back with no expectations…But, guys…HOW MANY MOVIES MUST WE SIT THROUGH THAT FALL INTO THAT CATEGORY THESE DAYS? Filmmakers are forgetting that stories are about real people, not about video games or other movies. REAL. PEOPLE. So many movies these days, I watch fundamental storytelling elements and techniques being bumbled or forgotten completely…and Assassin’s Creed does both.
5/10 – see it or skip it
Let’s see what I watch next… 🙂