I was going through the Oxford Dictionary to describe the movie in one word. Fortunately I found it. It’s discombobulate. I first heard this word in RDJ’s Sherlock Holmes. You know, when he is planning to smack the living hell out of the big guy. In this case, I was the big dude getting smacked and the movie was RDJ. I was really very excited after seeing the first look of Fassbender in full gear. I really was.
The feeling I have after watching this movie is the same feeling I had after watching Batman V Superman. It felt that there is something in the movie but it just got lost in translation. That said, I have to break this down into parts because at that end of the day, the movie does need a section-wise smacking.
I have played the first game and have only watched my friends play the games that came out afterwards. So, I will judge the story and the characterisation based solely on the movie and how it is as a movie. I am not into the fandom of Assassin’s Creed but I have seen each and every game trailer and I really like the concept. In the movie, we follow the bloodline of Aguilar(Michael Fassbender) and he and his group of Assassin’s were given the task of retrieving the Sultan’s kid because if the Templars would do so, they would have leverage on the Sultan to hand them the Apple of Eden in exchange for his son. Then we cut to the present time where a young Callum Lynch witnesses the death of his mother and is eventually pushed into a life of crime which leads to his capture and eventual death. Just moments after his death he is brought to life(at least that’s what I think) so that the modern day Templars can salvage his memories and know where the Apple of Eden is hidden because that will allow them to fulfil their sinister plans.
I guess that’s a pretty simple story but there lies the problem. We get to know all this within a time-span of 20 minutes. I don’t know about others but it was just too much to take and once the whole plan is revealed, there is no mysticism left. Callum dies and then comes back with a very vague story of killing a pimp!? For that he was sent to the death chair? Why? Yes, no explanation. Then the next point of confusion was what was this Apple of Eden and how the hell is it going to “cure violence”. That’s a major problem of the writing. It delves so much into the philosophical description of a world nobody knows about that it just forgets to describe the science of it. The other assassins are allowed to roam freely in the facility and are even handed knives to play with but are also beaten for practising and then Sofia(Marion Cotillard) says “it’s not a prison”. I was like “PICK ONE!”.
Another major letdown is that none of the eras feel interesting. Part of that goes to the direction but a major part of it goes to the writing. The modern part looks and feels bland and people keep talking in such a confusing way that nothing makes sense, even for Callum. Similarly, the Assassin’s world isn’t established well enough and the only thing the writers wanted the Assassins to do is hard-core parkour. That’s it. By the end of the movie, the core point of the movie isn’t fulfilled because it ends with violence and a bunch of uninterested, uncoordinated killing machines free and looking around searching for the loo.
I have watched only one Justin Kurzel movie and that was Macbeth. It also had Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard in it and from that movie I determined one thing: Justin Kurzel can capture the era very accurately and in a very grounded manner. Now, I don’t know whose decision it was to keep the movie in the present era and to keep cutting back and forth between the present and the past but that was one of the worst ideas that could have come in anyone’s brain. Why? Because we always see parkour type action which is set in the present era. We want to see how it looks when it is in the past but every-time the movie begins to settle in the past era, Kurzel just yanks us back into the present and that is evidently one of the biggest downsides of this movie.
That brings me to the action set-pieces. One word: horrendous. It felt like a lot of work had gone into it but the final result is an absolute mess. Before I begin with the action, I think I should mention one other thing which hindered the action. It was the frequent cutaways from the action and the overall dusty flavour. Everything looked so dusty. It was made to look so dusty that I couldn’t even see what was happening at times and when that dust was coupled with the solar flares, it was really difficult to even look at the screen. Now, the fight sequences look like they have some good choreography in it but the way it is shot really took the zing out of it. Every fight scene would keep alternating between the arm-pit of the Assassin and a shot from 100000 miles away from the scene. It was just irritating as hell and when Kurzel finally decides to show the fight, he also decides to show glimpses of the present. It just turned me off so much and just took me out of the moment and the intensity that was building up. It’s like he was deliberately trying to make a bad movie.
The only thing I can laud is the costume design and the set-design for the Spanish Inquisition era. It looked believable and real. Then again when the fight started I was turned off. If you look closely, well, even if you don’t look closely, you can see that they haven’t even tried to make the fights look believable. It’s especially noticeable during the Carriage sequence. Also, I really hated the concept of the Animus. I mean, the way they showed it, nothing was visible. I know they were trying to make it look like they are seeing whatever Callum is seeing Aguilar do, but it didn’t look like that at all.
Wasted will be the right word. Everyone was just wasted. Michael Fassbender was watchable because he is Michael Fassbender. I mean, just because it is him, I wanted to see what he does next. That’s it. I think I know how to describe Marion Cotillard’s performance. Do you remember her death scene from The Dark Knight Rises? It was just bad and even she regrets doing it that way. Now copy that singular moment and paste it all over her character throughout the movie. They even managed to waste Jeremy Irons. I didn’t know that was even possible and I don’t even wish to speak about the rest of the Assassins.
Just don’t watch it. Play the game if you have the money to buy the game. Send me a copy if you want. I’ll play it on multiplayer with you, probably, but don’t make the mistake of watching this bore-fest just because it has Michael Fassbender in it. Just don’t.
Thanks for reading.
Picture Courtesy: Fox Movies, Gamespot, Forbes, HeyUGuys