I recently watched the 2016 film adaptation of Assassins Creed. Actually, a little correction is needed here, I recently watched Assassins Creed the film not once but twice. And not because I thought the film was spectacular but because I was having critical issues following the overly complicated storyline. Casual viewers beware! If you are not already familiar with the story arc of Assassins Creed the game series then there is little to no hope of you following the story line of the film adaptation. Not without the assistance of Google and Wikipedia that is.
I also made the mistake of watching Assassins Creed on Bigpond Movies in standard definition. Heed my warning! Spend the extra buck and watch this in high definition otherwise you will be treated to scenes of utter chaos and confusion as your eyes fail to make out anything that resembles something amongst the computer generated smoke effects of the film.
Shitty standard definition of the film aside, I still felt compelled to try and finish this movie. For some unknown reason I had an almost unnatural compulsion to finish and understand this piece of work. I felt the needed to give it a chance. I really wanted to enjoy this movie.
During the first ten minutes of my initial viewing of Assassins Creed I lost interest. My motivation for continuing to watch a presentation is quality sensitive. If I find myself standing in front of the TV, refusing to leave, then chances are I am thoroughly enjoying the movie. Not so with Assassins Creed. Instead of standing I sat and I picked up my phone, this is a good indication that I have indeed lost interest. If a film cannot hold my attention for more then 10 minutes without me feeling compelled to pick up my black mirror then there are some serious issues with the film at hand.
So, the first screening didn’t go so well. I stopped the movie twenty minutes from the end and thought to myself “let’s try again”. So, you may ask, why did I lose interest in the film so quickly? What caused me to stare into my phone for the next hour paying very little attention to the no doubt expensive production on my TV. If truth be told and it will be, two reasons in particular stuck out at me. The first is the standard definition version of the film. If I was 20th Century Fox and I had just spent untold millions of dollars on a production only to have some half assed company present it in such a piss poor fashion I would be furious! This movie was made to a quality standard and that standard should be meet by the company providing the media for the viewing experience. It is a disgrace that a company such as Big Pond films can be allowed to degrade the quality of a production over a simple dollar difference. Shame on you Telstra! And pay attention 20th Century Fox, you are after all the one allowing this to happen.
The second reason for losing interest in the film so early on was the quality of the sound. I could rarely understand a freaking word any of the main characters were saying. How the hell are you supposed to follow and maintain an interest in a story when you can’t hear it! I can’t mumble mumble mumble. See! It doesn’t work! People don’t get any sense from a mumbling Marion.
However, even though the first viewing failed I decided for the sake of this article to give it one more try. This time, instead of checking tweets while I watched it I would use my phone to research the film as it progressed. I was dedicated to learn more about the story and characters involved it it. And it worked! The second viewing experience was much more enjoyable. It wasn’t great but it wasn’t bad either. There is a level of detail to this films story that demands your close attention. If your not listening carefully or if you can’t hear it because the main characters are mumbling then you are going to struggle to grasp just what the hell is going on. But, if you are willing to spend the time to soak it in and really pay attention to the story line then you will be rewarded. Simply said, if attention is paid then the plot line is interesting, if you work to understand the core plot mechanics then you will enjoy this movie. However, under no circumstances should an audience ever have to work towards understanding anything in a movie. Now fair enough that there should be enough detail to keep the hardcore audiences interested but having the main story line wrapped up in such levels of details is damaging to your audiences experience of the film. This is how you create a disinterested audience who walks away from the viewing saying “just another crap game adaptation “. And this is a real shame. The story line behind Assassins Creed is extremely interesting. It deals with serious topics such as the origin of violence, the garden of Eden and the refining and perfection of the human species. It deals with relevant issues of morality such as whether it is a good thing for people to have free will, while also revealing what people will do in order to maintain it. Assassins Creed switches back from the present (2016) to the past (Cal’s memories). Genetic memories are accessed using the Animus, a machine designed to view the genetic memories of someone’s ancestors. By viewing these memories the Abstergo Foundation hopes to reveal the location of the Apple of Eden. A sacred object that will allow them to control humanities free will. The past is set in the 1490’s and is set in Granada, Spain. This is where the movie was supposed to shine. One of the reasons for playing the video games was so you could explore the streets of the past. You were able to climb the walls of catherdrals and view the cities landscape around you. As a first hand visitor to the city you were able to see the details to buildings architecture and see the ‘everyday’ people walking through the medieval streets below going about their daily medieval routine. You were able to immerse yourself in the middle history world and imagine what it would have been like to live there. That is what the Assassins Creed games do so well and this is exactly what Assassins Creed the movie failed to do at all, with one small exception towards the end of the film. I was chasing an emersive experience and was disappointed but not surprised to find I did not receive it.
Assassins Creed is currently available to watch at home with iTunes or the media distributor of your choice. But remember don’t take a leap of faith! Spend the extra dollar and buy the HD version.