The Assassin’s Creed franchise took a leap of faith this year with their first feature length film soaring into cinemas on New Year’s Day.
Rating – 3 out of 5
Director – Justin Kurze
Cast – Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson
Certificate – 12A
As a fan of the games, I was looking forward to seeing the franchise being brought to life on the big screen. Although I did have reservations on whether it could be pulled off, I found myself pleasantly surprised.
Directed by Justin Kurze, the story follows Callum Lynch, played by Michael Fassbender, who finds himself caught up in a scientific programme ran by Dr. Sofia Rikkin (Marion Cotillard) at the organisation, Abstergo.
Abstergo uses their revolutionary technology, the Animus, to explore the past memories of Callum Lynch’s ancestor, Aguilar de Nerha during the Spanish Inquisition in 1492.
The Animus allows Lynch to synchronise with and discover the genetic memories of his ancestor to help reach Abstergo’s goal of finding the lost ancient artefact, the Apple of Eden.
The story also focuses around the two main and very powerful organisations, the Assassins and the Templars, and looks to explain the relationship between them.
People who are already fans of the franchise will be able to pick up aspects of the storyline that have been lifted from the games with the test subject Desmond Miles’ game story (Ezio Auditore) being the most closely linked to the film since it also features the Apple of Eden.
As a fan it is also very easy to appreciate the stunning artistic visuals and the fast moving story-telling. Unfortunately, the quick pace of the film and the way important storyline information is not fully explained in the movie may cause confusion and frustration for viewers who have zero prior knowledge of the franchise.
The high-class cast draw you in – Fassbender and Cotillard are perfect. They bring their characters to life and it is easy to see that they have thrown themselves into their roles. They portray a real passion and strength in their scenes together which builds the emotion in the story and helps to save it from various aspects the story is lacking in.
When visiting the past memories the dialogue is pretty much non-existent and being unable to get to know the characters and fully immerse yourself in this part of the story is disappointing. During the Animus scenes the constant flicking back and forth from Lynch in the Animus to Aguilar in the memory creates a disconnect and it’s a struggle to feel a link to Aguilar’s story. It is a contrast to the games where feeling connected to the past stories is something that is very prominent and important.
All is not lost in the memory scenes though. The stunts are spectacular and the beautiful visuals of the landscape are shown through eagle eye views which depict the breath taking scenery of Spain in the 15th Century. Horse drawn carriage action scenes in a dusty, desert-like Spain creates excitement and of course the iconic leap of faith just tops this off bringing one of the best parts of the game to life. The constant action and tension building keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout.
Assassin’s Creed is exciting and stunning. It is by no means perfect and is definitely geared towards people who are already fans of the franchise with parts of the story letting it down. However, it is a must watch for anyone who has experienced the immersive video games, who are now able to witness a great series brought to life on the big screen.
Assassin’s Creed will be released on DVD on the 15th May 2017 and is available for preorder on Amazon.
Featured photo – Photo Credit: Kerry Brown. – Copyright © 2016 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.