Monday, August 21, 2017

Looking At Movies - Assassin's Creed (2016)

This has been a rough summer at the Root house. We are normally dedicated to our weekly jaunt to the drive-in, but this summer has conspired to keep us at home. We have finally broken free of the viruses that have kept us prisoners in our own home, and we will be back out at the movies this weekend. For now, I finally got to see Assassin's Creed, and it is a movie I have wanted to see for some time.

I see a lot of movies that are based on mythology my son is familiar with and I am only slightly familiar with. When we both saw the early teasers for Assassin's Creed, we both desperately wanted to see it. When I saw that it starred Michael Fassbender, I was definitely interested. If a movie stars Michael Fassbender or Benedict Cumberbatch, you can rest assured that I want to check it out. The last time those two were in the same movie (12 Years a Slave), the movie turned out to be a classic. On their own, they both do a lot for a movie.

I know nothing about the game Assassin's Creed. My son, as usual, knows all about it and I was prepared to gauge part of my opinion on the movie on his response to it. If you watch the Resident Evil movies, they usually follow the games pretty closely, which is how I feel movies adapted from video games should be done. But movies like Assassin's Creed adapt the source material and try to make something of their own, and I don't understand why. If the plot elements of a movie franchise are already laid out in great detail, then you should use those elements because an adaptation is inevitably going to seem hollow. That is exactly what has happened with this movie.

I was not impressed with the fragmented plot line in this movie and, much to the peril of the movie itself, my son was definitely not impressed. Why does my son's opinion matter? Because video game movies already have a captive audience that they should try to appeal to, and this movie does not do that. My son loves the games and was only mildly impressed with the movie, that tells me that the adaptation of the source material was weak.

For me, someone who knows nothing about the games, the story was all over the place and, at the same time, dragged horribly. Even Michael Fassbender, who was great in this movie, could not save the movie's tendency to slow to a crawl and leave us wishing we were watching something else. Some of the effects were great and the devices used to bring memories to life were incredibly creative, but it gets too far away from the source material to really be effective.

When the makers of Resident Evil made it apparent there were going to be sequels, it was assumed that the sequels would follow the games...and they did. Assassin's Creed is trying to create a different mythology by altering and adapting a fully fleshed-out story that already exists, and it just does not work. If the makers of this movie had only stayed with the stories that already existed, then they might be working on a sequel right now. But as it stands, this is just another movie Michael Fassbender could not save.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

George N Root III is a movie fanatic and drive-in devotee. Follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3, or send him a message at