It is an over indulged mess and no amount of special effects and fight sequences can hide the fact that Hollywood still hasn’t learned from its mistakes.
Taking a source material and turning it into a coherent film with flowing dialogue and a plot staying true to this material yet working it into on film is a very difficult task. There have been numerous occasions where this has gone swimmingly, and even more where it has gone, for lack of a better suited phrase, to shit.
To describe Assassin’s Creed as going ‘to shit’ or ‘tits up’, specifically when it is referenced to its source material would be so apt it is bordering on perfection. The film follows Callum (Michael Fassbender) as he is taken to Abstergo’s headquarters, a foundation searching for the Apple of Eden; an artefact believed to contain the genetic code for free will. Callum is placed inside the animus, a machine designed using DNA to transport the mind back in time into their ancestor’s bodies, to find the missing apple.
What Assassin’s Creed doesn’t do well is clarify itself. Almost every section of the film is under explained and when it does try to move the plot forward it is almost all tell not show. The film feels clogged with endless lines of clichéd dialogue making less and less sense as it ploughs on.
Charlotte Rampling’s first appearance has her ask ‘How is your beautiful daughter?’ An awkward moment in a scene that should have been calm and calculating. And then there is the scene where Fassbender is so angry, he is so riled by what is happening to him, that he forces himself into Marion Cotillard’s face and shouts ‘I feel different now.’ Scientist Albert Mehrabian suggested that only 7% of communication is the words that we say, Fassbender needed this to be 1%.
The script is the biggest issue with the film. The endless question and answer, the continuous lines of dialogue that literally mean nothing. Actors are the visuals. They are there to add feeling and emotion to a script, but if there’s nothing on the page to begin with, how can anyone understand what is there in the end.
By having a severe lack of effort emanating from the film, there is no care taken on developing any of the characters, meaning no care is given when lives are lost. It is an over indulged mess and no amount of special effects and fight sequences can hide the fact that Hollywood still hasn’t learned from its mistakes.
Going back to the fact that Assassin’s Creed has a source material. In fact, the source materials are some of the most highly rated video games of the modern day, but it does’t seem that the film noticed this after they announced the title. The games are 95% inside the animus, and 5% out. So why the film is so focused on what is going on inside Abstergo we may never know. There is a tried and tested system which has been completely ignore.
With far too much focus on the present day, potentially under 45 minutes of animus screen time, the film feels like there is a lack of appreciation for the games. Which, in hindsight, would have been one of the simplest parts of the film to get right.
There is a moment, where Callum is sitting in the cafeteria section of Abstergo, and he has just had his first experience with the others being held with him in the foundation, and he says, in disbelief, ‘What the fuck?’
I hear you Callum, I hear you.