Sometimes the hype for a movie can be built up so high that it can’t possibly reach those lofty expectations. There can be many factors that lead to hype: good actors, great premise, and captivating previews among other things. I had built a substantial hype for this movie myself. It has actors that I really enjoy (Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, and Jeremy Irons) and was based on a video game series of the same name with a very interesting premise. Even if the movie was pretty good it probably wouldn’t have matched the hype level that had been established.
For those of you that have not played any of the Assassin’s Creed video games, the plot revolves around a centuries long conflict between the Assassins and the Templars. While this movie does not follow the games exactly, the basic idea is very similar. Both factions are in search of an artifact called the Apple of Eden which the Templars want to use in order to control mankind and the Assassins work to keep the Apple out of Templar hands. As the movie opens we see Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender) running away from home as a youngster after his mother is murdered and then we jump way ahead to an adult Cal on his way to his execution. He awakens later inside Abstergo Industries and Dr. Sophia Rikkin (Marion Cotillard) informs him that he is legally dead but he is still needed for important research at Abstergo. They have developed a machine, called the Animus, which allows someone in the present to relive memories of distant ancestors. Sophia and her father Alan (Jeremy Irons) need Cal to continually enter the Animus and to locate the Apple of Eden for the Templars. They claim to want to use the Apple to rid the world of violence but their bosses seem to have more nefarious motives. Cal does not know of the history between the two factions as he relives his ancestor’s memories. I won’t drone on with the plot too much but its more of the same: Cal enters the Animus, fights some people, exits the Animus and talks with Sophia and the cycle repeats.
There wasn’t an abundance of strengths in this film but there are indeed a couple that keep it from being too much of a train wreck. The set design and the costumes were easily the standouts in the movie. When Cal is using the Animus and is “in the past” through his ancestor’s memories the sets and buildings look great. All the Assassins and Templars all look the part during these “memories”. Another strength here is the action sequences are entertaining when the “shaky cam” doesn’t try to take over. Unfortunately there isn’t much more than that to enjoy.
Where to start on the weaknesses? This movie is flat out boring. I’m not sure how you take such quality actors and mix in some story from an entertaining video game series and end up with almost 2 hours of pure snoozefest. I definitely dozed off for a bit as did Mrs. Apologist and the movie seemed to go on forever. The acting was a big disappointment which I’m attributing to the poor script since the actors themselves are strong in most of their other roles. The dialogue is unbelievably dry and absolutely wastes the acting talent. The story becomes more of a minor part since most of the movie is used as a method of character development to set up the sequel. The movie feels incomplete and more like a set up for the sequel instead of a standalone movie.
This movie left a lot to be desired. I was very excited to see it since I loved playing the games, the actors are usually very enjoyable and the previews made it seem like a can’t miss blockbuster but Assassin’s Creed is the perfect movie to put on if you need a good nap! Get ready for muddled plot lines, unbearable dialogue, with just a sprinkle of action to keep you from sleeping all the way through. I woke up to give this bumbling adventure 7 Apologies and we’ll wait to see how the sequel does.