HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Assassin's Creed
HTS Overall Score:80
The video game to movie adaptation world is a bit of a strange phenomenon. Video games are a unique medium that really is hard to replicate. You spend hours and hours playing a game, unearthing a character, and learning the intricacies that make up the world that they live in. You could say that the world building is something that is highly complex (if done right) and putting that type of visual flair and intense world building into a 2 hour or less film is something of an effort in futility. With that being said, some of my favorite “bad” movies are video game adaptations. There’s something about seeing your favorite game come to light on the screen even though you have to nitpick all of the failings of the endeavor as a “good” franchise fan. I love the “Resident Evil” films even though they’re NOTHING like the games they were based off of, and the 1990s “Mortal Kombat” is one of the guiltiest pleasures known to man (although the sequel was an abomination, even by my standards). “Assassin’s Creed” reminds me a lot of “Warcraft”. It tries to be better than the schlock that came before it, but much like “Warcraft” ends up being incredibly flawed in ways that counterbalance all the incredible world building that it attempts (something that has both films stand apart from the rest).
The original Assassin’s Creed video games were what I like to call a remote crusher. The games were a blast, filled with great mission based gameplay, but you wanted to crush your PS3/Xbox 360 controller with pure rage as trying to leap upwards had you leaping backward, or doing a dive tuck n roll from a rooftop had you somehow standing completely still. I still had a blast thought. Aguilar and the invention of the Animus was a fantastic piece of storytelling that allows you to tell a story across multiple timelines and combine the two, and the movie takes much of the BASIS for that first game and molds it into the film. Cal Lynch (Michael Fassbender) is a criminal who has just been sentenced to death, only to be rescued from his fate by Sophia (Marion Cotillard), a top scientist of the Abstergo Corporation in Spain. There he is given a second chance at life, but also remains a prisoner. A prisoner who is hooked up to a machine called the Animus and sent back in time to view the actions of his ancestor Aguilar, a member of the brotherhood of Assassin’s.
As the game continues Cal realizes that there is more to this than just experiencing the past. Sophia and her father Alan (Jeremy Irons) are after something. Something that is in his ancestor’s past. Something that intersects the happenings of 500 years ago, and what is still happening today. To make matters worse the Animus is giving Cal visions, or “ghost images” of Aguilar’s life. A life that is filled with blood, assassinations and the opportunity to be something more than just a petty criminal wondering how his life go so off course.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=93858[/img]“Assassin’s Creed” is helmed by Director Justin Kurzel who also directed Fassbender in the modern rendition of “MacBeth”, and it’s a strange juxtaposition to see Fassbender and Kurzel in with a classic piece of literature and a modern video game movie. I won’t say that “Assassin’s Creed’ is a good movie, as it is heavily flawed, but I will say that I had a good time watching it. If you’re a fan of the video game franchise you’re sure to notice a lot of the discrepancies and changes to the source material. The idea of the Animas and Cal Lynch’s transformation into an Assassin is still there, but much of the complexity involved with that first video game is missing. Not to mention the fact that there are elements of the 2nd and 3rd game thrown into the mix and a whole new subplot involving Sophia, Alan and Cal is explored. I complained that “Warcraft” spent so much time trying to build a franchise and setup sequels that it failed to make a compelling narrative, and “Assassin’s Creed” suffers from many of the same missteps. So much time is spent developing the “apple” and it’s importance, as well as the creation of Cal into one of the new Brotherhood, that by the time the credits roll you realize that there wasn’t much time for anything else, and many strings are left dangling.
The core appeal of the movie comes from the nonstop action and the intense driven nature of Michael Fassbender in the role. While the plot is lacking in many ways, the action is top notch and the blending of martial arts, weapons play and parkour is a blast to watch. The best way of describing “Assassin’s Creed” is that it’s a check your brain at the door film for video game fans. It may have a harder time reaching mass audiences who have never seen the game or want a deeper plot, but if you’re expectations are in check and a big dumb action movie is all you’re expecting, then you should have a good time.
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, thematic elements and brief strong language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=93866[/img]“Assassin’s Creed” was reportedly shot with a variety of different digital cameras and given a 4K DI (which benefits the 4K UHD disc rather nicely), and the Blu-ray really shines as a result. Right up front I’m going to tell you this. The image is dark. Like, REALLY dark. This is one of the most impressively and dimly lit films that I’ve seen in quite some time. 95% of the movie takes place in doors, and when we do see the outside world it’s through the smoky eye of the Animus view into the past. Colors are cool blue and grey in the modern world, while the realm of Aguilar and the Assassin’s Brotherhood we have a smoke and green tinged look to recreate the period and invoke ideas of “memory”. Throughout all this there is exceptional detail all around from the tattoos on Aguilar’s face to the blood trickling down the blades on his wrist. There’s some occasional digital noise that becomes most prevalent during the days of Aguilar, but it’s never wildly obtrusive. Blacks remain deep and inky, showing of incredible shadow detail and the minimal daylight sequences look brilliant.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=93874[/img]The Blu-ray (and the 3D Blu-ray) come with a DTS-HD MA 7.1 track that is glorious to the ear, and had I not heard the Atmos track right on the heels of this review I would have given it a full 5/5 rating. The only reason that I’m giving it a 4.5 is due to the fact that the Atmos mix is clearly superior with its use of directionality and overheads. Dialog is crisp and cleanly replicated in the center channel, while the rest of the film is a sonic attack on the listener, drawing them into the chaos that is the ancient world 500 years ago. When Aguilar goes all ninja on the Templars the track just pulsates with energy. Surrounds blast with the video game score and usher in the effects of the parkour like movement of the Assassins. The scraping of a foot across the stone wall as he dives through an opening, or the thundering of horses hooves upon the sandy desert floor. LFE is just punishing, with deep waves of bass washing over the listener and creating a sickeningly intense experience for the listener.
• Take the Pledge: Behind the Scenes of Assassin's Creed – Join the Brotherhood as you go behind the scenes of Assassin's Creed in a five-part documentary:
• Conversations with Justin Kurzel
• Deleted Scenes Converastion with Justin Kurzel and Justin Tellefson
• Deleted Scenes
• Theatrical Trailers
“Assassin’s Creed” is not a wildly intelligent movie. In fact, it’s really not THAT good of a movie to begin with. However, if you go in with the knowledge that this is a big, dumb, video game movie then it has a visual appeal and flair that really speaks to fans of the long-standing video game franchise. If you’re looking for a movie that is honestly a GOOD movie, then I’d certainly look elsewhere, but for what its offering “Assassin’s” creed is fun little action movie that gave the video game nerd in me a big happy. The Blu-ray is an amazing package, with great cover art and amazing technical specs. My only complaint is the modern habit of leaving extras on the side lines and just giving us a pittance. Worth a rental for those inclined to enjoy these types of films.
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons
Directed by: Justin Kurzel
Written by: Michael Lesslie, Adam Cooper
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 7.1, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Urdu, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu DD 5.1
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Runtime: 116 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: March 21st, 2017
Buy Assassin's Creed On Blu-ray at Amazon
Buy Assassin's Creed On 4K Blu-ray at Amazon
Buy Assassin's Creed 3D On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Decent Rental
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