Assassin’s Creed Home Media Review

Posted March 21, 2017 by Jideobi Siphen in Movies

My only experience with Assassin’s Creed – ever – has been Black Flag. This has never stopped me from taking interest in the world, and what makes it so special. When they announced an Assassin’s Creed movie my first reaction was, of course, to be skeptical. Video game to movie adaptations are almost always hit or miss. For the most part, you simply watch them for entertainment value. That is what I looked for when taking a chance on Assassin’s Creed.

As far as movie adaptations go, I have to say that Assassin’s Creed was a treat. I would have to agree with most who have seen this movie as well that this is better than most video games. That might not be saying much, but as a video game fan it means more than you would think. Plenty of film adaptations stray from the source material, some even feeling almost unrelated to the game. However, Assassin’s Creed comes closer than most and in an exciting way. I mean, if you were looking for the best movie ever or something award-worthy then you were watching the wrong movie. This movie meets you halfway – at best you are entertained by the world being brought to life through live-action.

Despite not agree with Fassbender’s views of the X-Men franchise – you don’t simply change what is already established – I do think that in the case of Assassin’s Creed you can create a brand new story, with new characters set in that universe. Sometimes you want to grab a wider audience, and I would say they succeeded here with that approach. At the core, they tried to stick to the elements which make the movie feel like Assassin’s Creed. Lets take The Animus for example. The changes they made to this machine, which is used to experience ancestors’ memories, works. Redesigning for the film from a chair to a machine that lifts the user in the air, allowing for a more interactive experience, is engaging.

Whether you are a long time fan or new to this franchise, this movie was easy to get into. Figuring out the plot did take some time as they played with being vague until clarity was necessary. Aside from that, the story was fairly straightforward about what it is the Abstergo Foundation wants from these descendants of Assassins. The very idea that all these descendants are brought together with the idea that you could cure murderous intent was creative enough. What grabbed me the most had a lot to do with the casting. Fassbender was a great choice to play Cal, the lead character. He was a solid character in terms of purpose – he had nothing else but finding the Pieces of Eden. That’s as as far as his appeal really goes. Characters such as Moussa and Dr. Sophia Rikkin carried the story more. Through them there was more depth and understanding in intentions from the perspective of either the Assassin or the Abstergo Foundation. They had drive which Cal lacked throughout most of the movie. He simply felt like a tool or a pawn.

From the minute Michael K. Williams’s character stepped onto the screen as Moussa, you could feel the atmosphere change as someone stepped in who had direction. He was like the guide you run into who might not be in the most convenient position, yet still has the most to offer through interaction. Marion Cotillard as Dr. Sophia Rikkin, on the other hand never allows the audience to feel the emotional weight of this conflict. Her agenda does differ from the other Templar, so I cared for her success because of how devout she is.

I will say that the movie at the times struggled when it came to Cal’s ancestor, Aguilar de Nerha. That whole part of the story felt like them just trying to pack as much action as they could into the story that would satisfy those who love the parkour elements. There were some memorable action sequences, yet it was still hard to overlook the lack of substance that really pulls you in these set periods in time. Exploration is key as much as anything else, and they missed that. This was the time of the Spanish Inquisition, though there wasn’t much to it beyond knowing when this takes place. Beyond this, whole the movie struggled with pacing. 1 hour and 50 minutes just did not feel like enough time was used to fully flesh out the potential this story had. I don’t want to use the word hollow, but some areas of the story are just that. They didn’t take the time to dig into what makes some of these characters tick as Assassins or Templar, not to mention how the world around them works.

Take the Pledge: Behind the Scenes of Assassin’s Creed and Take the Pledge focus on elements like deleted scenes, how the filmmakers shot the movie’s death-defying stunts, and how they recreated 15th-century Spain for the assassin sequences. These made me appreciate the film more. Disappointingly, there were things that should have happened which they cut out and shouldn’t have. I get their reasoning when it came to what they were going for, though it didn’t mean everything could be agreed upon as the supporting cast felt like they were deprived of what would have made things a bit more interesting. All in all not enough to overlook some of the problems mentioned above. Regardless, it is nice to be able to see what happens when a studio is trying to go the distance to be better than your average game adaptation. The music, props, and much more were difference makers.

Where Assassin’s Creed is one of the better video game adaptations at the end of the day, that doesn’t mean it comes without flaws. This does face some of the same flaws as the others, but it makes more effort to produce a quality experience through vision and potential. All versions of Assassin’s Creed offer a package of bonus features running for more than 90 minutes made this an improvement too. A fair number of deleted scenes could have worked if they took the risk. Story and plot should come first, while not forgetting that characters are key to investment. You can’t slack off with a franchise with a following like Assassin’s Creed.

Is the movie worth picking up? I would say yes, whether you are getting it on Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray or DVD.

About the Author

Jideobi Siphen