Monday, May 8, 2017

3 Short Paragraphs: Assassin's Creed

2016, Justin Kurzel (Macbeth) -- download

Yes, that Macbeth with Fassbender. This time, Kurzel comes along with a video game adaptation of a popular franchise, well at least the first game, the intro game, that most people would tell you has pretty much been glossed over since the first game. In other words, not even the big fans of the game enjoy the origins of their popular franchise. So, part of me think this is another Assigned Director Syndrome situation, where a bunch of producers have the idea that this game would make a great movie, so they dig up the latest hot new director and pitch it to him. And they are kinda right; this premise is really neat even if I didn't enjoy the game. But... you know how well video game movies do.

In Assassin's Creed, Fassbender is the descendant of a great family name in a long line of legendary assassins. Fassbender's family got out of the killing business just before they were all killed themselves. An organization, a Templar organization, takes the broken man that Fassbender grew into, from his very last hours, from the moments where he is executed for capital crimes. So, he is technically a dead man, a man they can do with whatever they want. They use him in an experiment, where they draw upon the trace memories in his DNA, so he can jump into a memory based virtual reality of the distant past, and help them recover something, a lovely red herring called The Apple.  Yes, this is the Apple, the one that Eve plucked, and it contains the genetic code for free will. The Templars want to eliminate it from mankind, to return us to a state of compliant and peaceful bliss. The assassins were against that.

This is a lovely lovely movie. It just looks so damn good! And Fassbender buys into the story so very completely, but even that cannot save it. The story, like the game, involves jumping from the VR / Time Travel sequences in the past to the current era's super science experiments. There was a reason the game abandoned it; people wanted one or the other, not both. And the past won. The current wins in the movie and it devolves very quickly into a low rent Dan Brown religious conspiracy flick complete with final chase before the Templars do something nefarious with The Apple. Maybe the sequel will just forget the first movie existed and embrace the jumping and stabbing?