Assassin’s Creed Preview

Having infiltrated the super secret terrorist HQ in Budapest under the guise of the world famous Bad Movie Twins, Patrick and I attempt to locate what we were sent to recover: the obsidian dongle (bum, bum, bum). Trust us, this technological wonder is bad news and we totes gotta get it before the bad guys do or else… something bad for sure. In a stroke of bad luck my mutant disease takes hold and I reveal myself to be a bad guy working in league with the terrorists (what a twist!). Patrick knows the real me and helps me understand that I was never a mutant at all. That to overcome the disease all I had to do was believe in myself, for the nonmutant was within me the whole time! Hooray! With me now cured and our twin powers combined we handily defeat the terrorists, but at the last moment the obsidian dongle slips through our grasps. With hope seemingly lost we are approached by a representative of Absterlutely FerSher Industries. They know the way to finally rid the world of the dongle as long as we are willing to make Spain the next stop on this crazy hike we call life. That’s right! We’re watching Assassin’s Creed for the Fantasy entry in the cycle. Set in Spain both past and future, this video game adaptation did anything but break the video game curse. Despite the high level talent and effort put forth they still ended up with shit. Bad for them, good for BMT. Let’s go!

Assassin’s Creed (2016) – BMeTric: 40.7

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(Wow, opening near 9.0 is hilarious. Dropped below 6.0 at this point which is definitely where I would have expected it as this point. Loving the VOD bump, it has been a while old friend.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars –  Unlike the actual video game, “Assassin’s Creed” isn’t ridiculous and fun, but rather ridiculous and turgid. … there’s no way to translate the hands-on action of a video game to the silver screen, so many video game adaptations either have no plot, or get bogged down in blase set-up.

(Yup. Well … no plot is a stretch. But it is either a ton of kind of boring set up (Street Fighter Legend of Chun Li’s plot is basically all set up and no fighting for example) or really ridiculous stuff constantly (Super Mario Bros. or Silent Hill: Revelations come to mind). They have plots, they are just often boring or ridiculous with no inbetween. The more successful ones, like Silent Hill, tend to reign in the ridiculous and don’t get super bogged down in the details. Sounds like they got bogged down in the details here.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfJVoF5ko1Y

(I think it doesn’t help that a film like this just … isn’t really up my alley. Like the fight choreography looks overdone and a little tired at this point. I can kind of see the seams of the film come apart a bit and see the Prince-of-Persia-with-better-production-quality showing through. That isn’t even necessarily bad … it just doesn’t feel like the first video game film to actually be “good”. Also feels like it is going to be dark. Hate the music, but whatever. I think I hated the trailer when it came out too. I never played the games, which might also be a bit unhelpful.)

Directors – Justin Kurzel – (Known For: Macbeth; The Snowtown Murders; The Turning; BMT: Assassin’s Creed; Notes: Australian. His brother is a music composer and often works with him on projects, and he has four movies in production at this point, which is pretty crazy.)

Writers – Michael Lesslie (screenplay by) – (Known For: Macbeth; BMT: Assassin’s Creed; Notes: Both him and Kurzel worked with Fassbender on Macbeth which is why they were chosen. Next on the docket: Hamlet.)

Adam Cooper and Bill Collage (screenplay by) – (Known For: Tower Heist; Future BMT: The Transporter Refueled; Allegiant; Exodus: Gods and Kings; Accepted; BMT: New York Minute; Assassin’s Creed; Notes: They do a bit more television now, including a television movie called The French Detective. It is based on a series of “bookshots” by James Patterson … I’m officially intrigued, although when did we start called short stories “bookshots”?)

Corey May, Jade Raymond, and Patrice Désilets (based on the video game series created by) (uncredited) – (BMT: Assassin’s Creed; Notes: Hugely successful video game series with, at this point, 10 main series games (20 in total). Jade Raymond was a programmer for what I consider to be the best online trivia game ever made: Sony Online Entertainment’s Trivial Pursuit Online!)

Actors – Michael Fassbender – (Known For: Alien: Covenant; Inglourious Basterds; X-Men: Apocalypse; 300; X-Men: Days of Future Past; Prometheus; The Light Between Oceans; 12 Years a Slave; X: First Class; Steve Jobs; Shame; Song to Song; Macbeth; A Dangerous Method; Eden Lake; Jane Eyre; Centurion; Frank; Haywire; Hunger; Future BMT: The Counselor; BMT: Jonah Hex; The Snowman; Assassin’s Creed; Notes: We just saw him in The Snowman. He is apparently going out with Alicia Vikander. They are a regular video game acting couple!)

Marion Cotillard – (Known For: Inception; The Dark Knight Rises; Allied; Contagion; Midnight in Paris; Big Fish; Public Enemies; Macbeth; Rust and Bone; Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues; Two Days, One Night; Le Petit Prince; Les fantômes d’Ismaël; La Vie en Rose; Rock’n Roll; It’s Only the End of the World; The Immigrant; Blood Ties; A Very Long Engagement; Love Me If You Dare; Future BMT: Nine; BMT: Assassin’s Creed; Notes: Very impressive resume considering she only has one more qualified film left. Cast in the upcoming Dr. Dolittle film.)

Jeremy Irons – (Known For: Justice League; Red Sparrow; The Lion King; Beautiful Creatures; Lolita; Die Hard with a Vengeance; Their Finest; High-Rise; The Man Who Knew Infinity; The Mission; Margin Call; Stealing Beauty; Inland Empire; Casanova; Race; Appaloosa; Damage; Dead Ringers; The Merchant of Venice; Night Train to Lisbon; Future BMT: The Pink Panther 2; The Time Machine; The Man in the Iron Mask; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; La corrispondenza; BMT: Dungeons & Dragons; Eragon; Assassin’s Creed; Notes: Well established theatrical actor who grew up on the Isle of Wight. Currently, still, Alfred in the recent Batman films.)

Budget/Gross – $125 million / Domestic: $54,647,948 (Worldwide: $240,942,515)

(Not bad worldwide, although given the budget maybe a disappointment? But top 10 video game adaptation … they couldn’t have really hoped for more than $100 million domestic I would think.)

#18 for the Hitman / Assassin genre

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(Huh … I completely forgot about This Means War which juuuuust barely beats this film out for the highest grossing Hitman film we’ve seen for BMT. The giant peak is Pulp Fiction, and these days the per theater average looks a bit down. I wish Wanted qualified for BMT, that film is just god awful.)

#9 for the Video Game Adaptation genre

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(Naturally, perfect timing from BMT with Rampage releasing this week. Tomb Raider and Rampage this year are very likely to be the two best critically received video game films ever. They are kicking it up a notch, and given The Rock’s current hotness I imagine Rampage has a decent shot at a top three gross for the genre. Which will open the floodgates even more.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 18% (35/192): Assassin’s Creed is arguably better made (and certainly better cast) than most video game adaptations; unfortunately, the CGI-fueled end result still is still a joylessly overplotted slog.

(Joyless doesn’t sound very fun. Other reviews call it “over-cast” which is meaningless … except I think they are going for some “joyless” pub of sorts with “overcast”? Maybe, that would be kind of bonkers and I kind of love it now. Reviewer Highlight: Assassin’s Creed mistakenly assumes that the plot is the most important element of its source material. Actually, it’s the least. – Darren Franich, Entertainment Weekly (I actually agree with this, a lot of video game movies fall into the trap of trying to deliver too much fan service via the plot, when making a new story is probably the best way to go).)

Poster – Assassin’s Sklog (B-)

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(Blah, you need better coloring, bro. Embrace that blood red and wash out Fassbender’s coloring and you might have something. Like the framing and the font, but comes off bland and amateurish as it is.)

Tagline(s) – Your destiny is in your blood (B-)

(God damn! That would work amazing with the Sklog poster with “Your destiny is in your sklog.” Otherwise this is real close to not meaning anything. Probably better than it actually sounds… which is real awkward. My brain doesn’t like it.)

Keyword(s) – based on video game; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.1 Alone in the Dark (2005); 88.6 House of the Dead (2003); 88.6 Street Fighter (1994); 87.4 BloodRayne (2005); 86.5 Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997); 85.8 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007); 84.0 Super Mario Bros. (1993); 79.2 Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009); 72.8 Far Cry (2008); 69.7 Wing Commander (1999);

(I always forget we “haven’t seen” Mario Bros. … we have. Many times. Just not for BMT yet. It’ll come up though. This is a sublime set of movies, just a murderer’s row from top to bottom.)

Notes – The film features the highest free fall performed by a stuntman in almost 35 years. The stuntman Damien Walters performed a free fall from the height of 125 feet (38 meters), which lasted almost 3 seconds with a 61 mph impact speed. (Exciting. I appreciate the effort for practical effects)

Michael Fassbender and Ariane Labed did 95% of the fights in the film themselves.

Cal’s father, Joseph is played by Brendan Gleeson and the young Joseph is played by Brian Gleeson – who is actually Brendan’s son. (Hmmmmm. I kind of prefer janky CGI honestly).

Ubisoft gave the prop makers a detailed list of every weapon ever made for the games that they could use as a guide.

The Assassins costumes took 2-3 months to make and were all hand-crafted. There are eight versions of each costume, with an entire costume team devoted to each of the Assassins. (Kind of love the detail here actually)

80% of the film, including stunts, extras and locations, were shot on camera, without using CGI.

This movie is based on a game with the same name. The actor Michael Fassbender had never played any of the nine games in the series until just before filming commenced; he didn’t even know that the games existed until he was hired by Ubisoft. (HA)

As one of the producers, Michael Fassbender lobbied to have Justin Kurzel directing the movie following their work on Macbeth (2015). Fassbender also chose Marion Cotillard to be his co-star again. (Yes, obviously, although I think they might have needed more experiences screenwriters on the job).

Marion Cotillard told French magazine Studio Ciné Live in May 2016, that when she was on the set of Mal de pierres (2016), she received a new version of the script of Assassin’s Creed and discovered that her character and by extension the film, no longer corresponded to what she had loved. So she called director Justin Kurzel and he fully agreed with her disagreements. For fifteen days, Kurzel, Michael Fassbender and Cotillard reworked the script. (Huh, and yet none of them have a writing credit which is interesting).

In the Assassin’s Creed video game series the present-day character, Desmond, has a scar on the right side of his lip. This same scar can also be seen on the assassin from the first game, Altair, as well as the assassin from Assassin’s Creed II, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, Ezio. Coincidentally, Michael Fassbender also has a similar scar on the same side of his upper lip. (Coooooool)

The historical sequences set in 15th century Spain were shot in Spanish language. According to Justin Kurzel, they tried to do them in English first, but the decision about Spanish was too obvious and good, and it adds an exoticness and richness to the film. In the games, however, these sequences were in English, as well as all the modern-day scenes. Which was explained by the presence of built-in translator in the Animus machine.

While portraying Aguilar de Nerha, the protagonist of the past time-line, Michael Fassbender wore brown contact lenses, creating an alienating effect to the outward world and achieving the subtle difference between him and Callum Lynch, the protagonist of the present time-line. (Jeez louise. I need to curate these notes, but I kind of love them).

Michael Fassbender actively participated in the film’s post-production, including editing. (I hope he didn’t do the same with The Snowman heeeeeeeeeeeeeyooooooooo)

Kurzel didn’t want the movie to feel like a superhero film, he wanted to embrace “what it is to be human” through practical effects and parkour-intensive stunts. (Honestly … that’s a little weird. To use practical effects to make something NOT feel like something? Not sure I agree).

Originally, it was going to be 2 hours and 20 minutes. It was then shortened to only 1 hour and 48 minutes. (Wooooooof, not a ton of confidence there)

At the end of the film when the templers all meet up. The building they are in is the United Grand Lodge of England, the building is the main lodge for Freemasonry in the U.K. (That’s a fun fact).

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