Ruth's Diary

15/1/2017

OK, a bit later than intended and most of my irritation has been eroded, but here it goes.
 
My thoughts on the Assassinís Creed movie.
 
So my conclusion was that, the film was made and written by people who saw the artwork for the games franchise, fell in love with the art, played the first game and then didnít bother researching the franchise further.
 
I will start with the positives: the film looks gorgeous. Well shot; the Abstergo Institute looks almost exactly as it does in the games, the Assassins resemble the titular Assassins and move like Assassins. However, I do not understand why there was a weird sepia overcast when it came to the scenes in 1492 Ė the great strength of the games was just how much colour and vibrancy there was in the locales you visited. Basically, it made you feel like you were interacting with a modern metropolis, because from the point of view of the people living in those locales, it really is (was) a modern metropolis!
 
The actors were good, although they were doing their best with a questionable script. The soundtrack I canít remember at all, which is infuriating because Assassinís Creed games had always had memorable soundtracks.
 
The trouble with this movie is, itís not outright bad, which I personally find far more infuriating than a film that is truly terrible. It has elements that are really good, mostly aesthetics since I loved the set design and just how things looked and how people moved. BUT it just seems to get so many little details wrong, then all the wrong details just start to pile up and make a completed, yet very wrong picture.
 
Problem 1: Everyone talks so cryptically and donít act human. This is ridiculous as one thing the games got (mostly) right was having everyone acting human and with a barrage of humorous lines. The cryptic speak was probably taken from the philosophical discussions that the first Assassinís Creed had, except these discussions were grounded in something. That and the characters were still showing investment in each other (even if Malik was convinced AltaÔr was a deluded, impulsive fool).
 
Problem 2: Granada and the surrounding cities arenít explored. Contrary to the games (and most of the audienceís wishes) the film really doesnít spend much time living in 1492. There isnít much watching the crowd or hiding in the streets incognito or just walking along the scenery. My Mum was intrigued by the setting of southern Spain in the late medieval period and she was greatly disappointed at the film yanking back to modern day. I donít blame her: the best part of Assassinís Creed is the ďstaying in the pastĒ bit. It would also explain why the filmís use of the bleeding effect rubbed me the wrong way: it truly felt like Callum (Michael Fassbenderís Protagonist character) had not stayed in the Animus long enough to suffer a bleeding effect in the first place.
 
Problem 3: The Brotherhood of Assassins never explained why they cherish free will in the first place (since the Templars want to subjugate humanity).
 
Problem 4: Why were the abilities of the Apple of Eden never demonstrated? I still maintain that the final boss fight of the first Assassinís Creed is the best final boss of the entire franchise, purely because this was the moment that the crazy capabilities of the Apple were finally unleashed in a trippy and creepy fashion. At first I was ok with the abilities staying secret, but the fact that there was only speculation of what the Apple could do and no proof or demonstration of its abilities really angered quite a few critics. Since they knew little of the games, I can understand why. No crazy scene where a crowd of people are hypnotised..? NoÖ
 
Problem 5: What the hell was up with that scene where Callum comes face-to-face with holographic projections of all his ancestors and his mother? Sure, it looked cool, but it makes no sense how it happened. The Animus itself has always been a ridiculous piece of technology (find the right code in your DNA and you get to relive your ancestorsí memories, wahay!) but within science fiction weíve always had silly technologies that people simply let slide. Letís take Star Trek and the transporter: it was created so that money was not needed for expensive ship docking and landing scenes, it was accepted by the audience because it helped move the plot along. Same with the Animus in the games, it was a device that allowed the players to learn about a place in history without the people around them breaking character. So we can accept that person and DNA + interface = memory reliving, but why would all the ancestors suddenly Ďwake upí and interact with you? This is just not feasible and is why you never really saw the ancestor interacting with Desmond in the video games. (The closest we got was him looking at a projection of a recording of Ezio, but this was due to the First Civilisation technology, which is far more advanced than ours.)
 
Speaking of the Animus in the film; I donít like it. It looks cool, but the chief complaint of the VR-bed Animus was that the character, or actor rather, would be lying down and that would be boring. SoÖthe tentacle-like version of the Animus in the movie was done purely so we could see Fassbender moving in time with the memories? Whatís the point of that? We (the audience) donít care what he looks like in the present day when heís re-living SPAIN IN 1492!!! The problem just did not need to be fixed!
 
Part of me does find it amusing that in completely missing the point of the franchise, the film retains its biggest flaw: style over substance.

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