Assassin's Creed

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Assassin's Creed

Postby Lunkhead » Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:29 pm

Movies I watched when flying to/from Spain

Wow. I don't even know where to start with this dung heap. How in the heck did they get not only just Michael Fassbender, who I knew was in this, but also Marion Cotillard and Jeremy freaking Irons to be in this garbage? I don't know the games at all but I'm willing to give the "writers" the benefit of the doubt and assume that the needlessly complex multilayered plot was baggage carried over from the games. (Checks the wikipedia page for the game series: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassin%27s_Creed) Yep, most of it is lifted from the games. Bad idea! They have to go through four opening scenes in three different points in time (the crusades, the recent past, and the near future in the US and in a sci fi facility in Spain) just to really start the plot. It's like 30 minutes. Needless to say the dialog is awful. Marion Cotillard totally phones it in, giving every line the exact same intonation. I'll give her the benefit of the doubt that maybe some of that is a language thing but probably not much. Michael Fassbender tries to find anything to grab onto in his nonsensical character. Jeremy Irons has the most coherent character and gives the best performance probably. Some of the action is OK I guess but overall the whole thing is just a mess. Don't bother unless you're a huge fan of the games, and let's hope that, unlike the games, this movie doesn't spawn a franchise. D
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Re: Assassin's Creed

Postby Manhattan Glutton » Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:47 pm

It was the best movie of 2016, which isn't saying much.

As a huge fan of the game, I was happy it stayed true to the material and generally pleased they didn't completely screw it up, but it seemed to lose steam at the ending. I think the franchise as a whole has a lot of potential if they'd get a good writer in to own it again, which is doubtful if Vivendi succeeds in their hostile takeover.
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Re: Assassin's Creed

Postby Lunkhead » Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:27 pm

Manhattan Glutton wrote:It was the best movie of 2016, which isn't saying much.


Um, wat?

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Re: Assassin's Creed

Postby Manhattan Glutton » Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:48 pm

Maybe slight exaggeration, but this was coming off the heels of seeing "Arrival", "Hidden Figures", and "La La Land". I've never been so underwhelmed in my life.
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Re: Assassin's Creed

Postby jb » Tue Jun 20, 2017 7:29 am

Man it was so boring IMO.

The thing about staying true to the source material is that USUALLY people don't mind so much if you deviate and make an awesome movie. It's when you deviate and suck that people start getting pissed off (e.g. The Hobbit movies despite their box office success). If you stick to the source material but make a terrible film, then all you get is "at least it was true to the source" and you waste a lot of people's time and put a ding in Fassbender's career. (Jeremy Irons already did Dungeons & Dragons and there's no coming back from that).

I think sometimes videogame movies put all of this fan service into the movie but they can't make it work smoothly because there's just too much. It's the reverse of The Hobbit, which was puffed out to 3 movies despite being a 200 page book. Any videogame trying to cram 100 hours of content into a 2 hour movie is just going to make a mess. Which I think is what they did. If you saw the videogame I'm sure a rich tapestry unfolded when you saw each of the other assassin types. To me, they were just empty homunculi that the movie didn't bother pouring character into.

Apparently Assassin's Creed the movie made almost $241M worldwide on a production budget (before marketing) of $125M, so it didn't completely tank even if the US box office was a non-blockbustery $54M. So the game fans did go see it, I guess. (The most popular Assassin's Creed game sold some 12 million copies according to this: https://seekingalpha.com/article/352450 ... games-year .)
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Re: Assassin's Creed

Postby Manhattan Glutton » Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:26 am

I agree- it suffered from poor pacing.

It's a pretty complicated story to fit into a movie. If they had a contract for 3 movies off the bat they would have paced it a lot better. The unfortunate situation is now they've gotten past the lore bootstrap and could make a great action-packed sequel, but will they bother?

I highly recommend the games to anyone who hasn't played them. The first 5-ish games had probably the best story arc of any game series I've played. After that, they started treading water - worse stories, no modern-day thread. If anything comes out of this average movie, I hope it's a fresh look at the game franchise.

But as a fan I have to entirely disagree with the "making a mess" assessment. Given their lofty goals, it was probably as coherent as it could possibly be. I think it is probably the best it could be, given the circumstances. But that does beg the question: is this an appropriate story to tell in movie theaters?
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Re: Assassin's Creed

Postby jast » Tue Jun 20, 2017 3:25 pm

I disagree. I say they totally could have done better, and it was quite the mess the way they did it. I'm not sure I recall all the details correctly so some of this may be a little off the mark.

(Spoilers ahead but I'll try to avoid all details about interesting developments.)

When Cal wakes up in the facility, the way they introduce him to it and the things they want him to do are completely stupid and only a complete idiot would go that way about getting someone's cooperation, particularly having them jump right into it without so much as a "here's what this is about". After that, introducing him to the other folks in the facility seemed pretty unconvincing, like they were looking for a random excuse to get some kind of relationship jump-started without providing a proper shared context (other than all of them being in the same facility). Similarly, the twist seemed rather sudden and without proper setup in scenes involving Cal (it was maybe somewhat more obvious to the viewer but I don't think that alone preserved suspension of disbelief). All that based on a single scene? I guess it's possible for things to happen that way... but why not add a few subtle elements to some of the earlier scenes to hammer it in further? Things that could credibly instil a seed of doubt in Cal. This is not rocket science...

I think they wanted to bring that idea of synchronizing over into real life, by outlining a conflict between Cal's and Aguilar's identity and then having them fully line up in a key moment. I think that was way too abrupt, they should have slowly brought the two closer together instead. As for introducing Cal to the Animus, I think they wanted to go for the type of thing Matrix did when first getting Neo out. Matrix succeeded by doing a pretty abrupt break and a transitional scene in which Neo first fully realizes the extent of what he's agreed to, and even then it takes him some more time to figure out what's going on, and the audience is taken along for that ride. There is no equivalent to that in Assassin's Creed, no scene in which denial or understanding are given enough room to really become believable. It's just "here, have some Animus and do this quest", and then suddenly we're seeing that quest play out much more smoothly than it has any reason to (apart from not fully succeeding). The whole thing feels like poorly matched patchwork. Some of that is a pacing issue, but not all of it. I do think a little more focus in the writing could have made this a much better story.

Oh, and of the 2016 films I've watched, this was not the best by far. I watched nine others, eight of which were easily better than Assassin's Creed. Not sure which one takes the top spot, possibly Rogue One or Doctor Strange.
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Re: Assassin's Creed

Postby Lunkhead » Wed Jun 21, 2017 7:17 pm

Wow, 18% on the Tomato Meter, and only 46% of the popular opinion. https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/assassins_creed
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Re: Assassin's Creed

Postby Lunkhead » Wed Jun 21, 2017 7:28 pm

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Re: Assassin's Creed

Postby Lunkhead » Wed Jun 21, 2017 8:00 pm

They really could have used a much more straightforward "hero's journey" kind of structure for the plot. Start with young Callum, he does bike stunts, loves his mom, but maybe he's troubled by nightmares, hinting at his genetic memories and ancestry. Maybe have his father as a sort of shadowy figure, have his mother make some vague allusions to their family history. Then things go haywire when the Templars show up and then maybe what happens with his parents and how it effects him might have some kind of impact on the audience, they might actually get at all invested in the character. And you could introduce Jeremy Irons's character then too, at Callum's house afterward, collecting artifacts or something, providing a little more exposition. Then, montage of Callum growing up a troubled person. Ooh, wait, maybe you introduce Marion Cotillard's character as a child, she's with her dad, at Callum's house. Then you could have Jeremy Iron's giving exposition to his daughter as a child, which would make a little bit more sense and feel more natural, a parent explaining things to a child. Then the growing up montage could be of both Callum and what's-her-face, which would allow for giving the audience the backstory on both characters, and comparing and contrasting both the characters and their respective clans, maybe give some brief bits showing the development of the Animus. Then before Callum's execution scene (which would have been lead up to by the montage, rather than just jumped into completely out of the blue) maybe there'd be a scene of the end of an Animus session with someone else, a discussion between Marion Cotillard's character and Jeremy Iron's character about Callum, then you cut to his execution, with Marion Cotillard in the audience. At that point you wouldn't have shown the assassin's yet at all, or really any action, but, all the modern day stuff and the three main modern day characters would all make a lot more sense, I think. You'd have a little more talking and explaining to wrap up the first act, and then dive into the Animus sessions for the second act, but maybe focus more on the time in the past and cut a bunch of the lame stuff happening in the present. Or maybe they go slow through the first couple Animus sessions and get a lot of the exposition and character establishment over in the past, but maybe they'd have to action packed montage mode for a bit to show some parallel rapid development of Callum and Aguilar, before the end of the second act with the rebellion in the facility. The third act, I am kind of stumped as to how you fix it. It seems like they should have one final chase sequence, with cool action across the rooftops of modern day London, but, either way, the ending is that some people "get away" (somehow) so that's not a very definitive or conclusive or satisfying ending. It feel like a weak cop-out ending that they didn't think mattered anyway because they planned to make sequels.

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