Video game movies have been around for decades now. With some huge successes out of the Tomb Raider, Need for Speed, and Resident Evil franchises as well as some notable box office flops like Super Mario Bros. and the more recent Ratchet & Clank, it’s hard to tell how well a new film is going to do early on. But, if there was one promising thing about Assassin’s Creed before its trailer dropped, it’s that Ubisoft’s own Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is the highest grossing video game adaptation of all time. Clearly they know how to successfully adapt their IP into film.
But can Assassin’s Creed live up to that same legacy?
One of the most appealing parts to the movie is its creation of a new story set in the Assassin’s Creed universe. For many fans of the franchise, including myself, one of Assassin’s Creed‘s biggest failures was an inability to translate Desmond Miles’ accumulated knowledge into a present-day setting. Based on 20th Century Fox’s summary of the film, it seems like this is exactly what the Hollywood adaptation is looking to rectify…
Through a revolutionary technology that unlocks his genetic memories, Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender) experiences the adventures of his ancestor, Aguilar, in 15th Century Spain. Callum discovers he is descended from a mysterious secret society, the Assassins, and amasses incredible knowledge and skills to take on the oppressive and powerful Templar organization in the present day.
If handled correctly, this is an excellent plot for an Assassin’s Creed film.
Another thing that I think a movie adaptation can actually do better than the game series is the overall handling of present-day in the universe. I’m someone who never really found Desmond Miles or the present day struggle interesting within the Assassin’s Creed games. Those sections of the games would often dramatically slow down the pacing and take you out of the most interesting part of any Assassin’s Creed game…its historical cities.
By having Fassbender portray the modern day Callum as well as his ancestor Aguilar, I think that Callum’s eventual rise as an assassin make a little more sense to a wide market audience. Ultimately, it will help to build the relationship between the two characters in the eyes of the audience and, hoepfully, sell Callum’s character growth as he gets in touch with his Assassin roots.
The trailer is also bursting at the seams with visual flare. Abstergo is in line with what gamers would expect. Its quarters are dark and mysterious, something the film will no doubt explore as Callum works to attain his freedom. Meanwhile, Assassins traverse fifteenth century Spain clothed in the hooded robes made famous in the games, all while showing the sort of trademark agility we’ve come to expect from the franchise.
Honestly, this movie wasn’t even on my radar before watching yesterday’s trailer. Now, having seen it, I’m very excited to see how the movie handles some of my bigger issues with the franchise, most notably the present day setting and a boring main character. In any event, it’s definitely shot up my list.
Assassin’s Creed will be released in theaters December 21, 2016.