Exhibit A of Hollywood’s Continued Incompetence: Assassin’s Creed
By Lucas Henley
In a world filled with cynicism and pessimism, I’m usually the first to tell people that everything will be alright in the end: we’re being too critical, etc. However, no one can restrain themselves from critiquing Hollywood’s continued incompetence. The past eight years for mainstream movies have been bust after bust. Many point to lack of creative stories as the cause, with more and more sequels and less originality than ever before. But even when creators do get good source material to work with, they do even worse. A perfect example is the new Assassins Creed movie.
Even the great Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard could not cure the plague that has been video game based movies. This is the duo’s second time starring together, with the first being Macbeth, which was not much to write home about either. Don’t be mistaken, the two are just as great as ever, and they single handedly carry the plot at times. However, the script they were given is average at best and negligent at worst.
The plot follows Callum Lynch, a man with a troubled childhood who is sent to death row for killing a pimp. However, his death is faked, and he is captured and imprisoned in a strange, prison like facility. The place is run by Abstergo, a billion dollar organization which is used as a front for the Templar order. The Templar’s have captured Cal because they need his DNA to relive the memories of his ancestors, who happen to be Assassins, the Templars’ arch enemies. The Templars need Cal because their one collective goal is to find the legendary Apple of Eden, which supposedly has the power to control free will, which is considered by the Templars to be the root of all evil.
The story is basically ripped from the first game, which is not a bad thing by any means, but if you are going to do it, at least fix the problems of the original.
One of the complaints about the games was the fact that the present day stuff was incredibly boring. Most of the time, it took the players out of the gameplay and established story to interject a confusing, half finished, inferior one into the forefront. Apparently Hollywood did not get hear the gamers’ cries. The majority of the film takes place outside the Animus, the machine used to relive Cal’s ancestor’s lives (you know, the part the game is known for). What are in the Animus scenes is a mix between bad CGI and some cool action scenes. I’m usually one that prefers building up to one or two action scenes instead of having multiple ones all over the place, but in the case of Assassin’s Creed, it could have done with more. The fight scenes were definitely the strong suit of the film, with each move mimicking the game perfectly. As long as you do not look past them to see the blurry textures, the action is quite the sight to see. It is one of the only game based movies where the moves actually look like they do in the game, which is a good thing too, as that is pretty much all that happens in the Animus scenes: action.
There is little to no substance in the historic sections of the film. They try to add tension and depth by having a romance between Cal’s ancestor and another assassin, but it seems forced and just makes things more complicated at the end.
With the exception of the choreography and acting, the quality of Assassins Creed is reduced to one word: subpar. It is a shame too, as my friends were hyped for it, which is a rarity these days. Honestly, no one goes to the movies anymore. Most of the times when my friends and I are looking for something to do, the theater is one of the last options, and when we do decide to go, we can never find something good. With the exception of Star Wars or the occasional Marvel blockbuster, teens do not talk about movies like they used to, and if they do it is always about the classics.
You could contribute this to a multitude of things, such as Netflix or smartphones, but I tend to blame the quality of movies. It does not make sense, either, as technological possibilities are as great as ever, and the quality of every other medium has arguably gotten better, as shown by TV shows and video games. CGI is better, special effects are better, and editing is easy. Unfortunately, producers want a quick profit and low budget, so creativity and scripts take a backseat; therefore, no risks are made and safe sequels reign supreme.
There is no telling if Hollywood will ever produce quality stories again. Maybe we are just back in the Bronze Age, and we need to repeat the cycle to get to another golden age. There are a few original films that look good, such as A Cure for Wellness, but for every one of those we get two obnoxious sequels like Pirates of The Caribbean and Kong: Skull Island. Either way, if Assassins Creed is the next step, then we are a long way away from proficiency.