I’m a fan of the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Aside from one non-mainline game and the DLC content, I’ve played every game to date, even now forcing myself through the buggery of Unity because I refuse to not continue the story I’m so entrenched in. I’ve come this far, so why stop now, right?
Earlier today, news broke regarding the first image and the synopsis of the AC film due out late next year. Let me start by saying I’m perfectly fine with Michael Fassbender playing the main character (who I will get to in a minute). He’s a very talented actor, perhaps a bit older than I expected for the part based on the games, but I have no doubts that he won’t pull it off. The image released looks great and the Assassin garb looks true to form. I’m especially giddy over the hidden blades.
For folks unfamiliar with the game, Assassin’s Creed pits two highly secret organizations against each other, the Assassins and the Templars. The Templars are basically trying to rule the world with various artifacts containing mystical powers, and the Assassins are on the hunt to prevent the spread of Templar rule. Without giving away too much away, this battle has been going on for centuries and into present day. Through the use of modern technology, scientists among the two sides are able to use descendants of Assassins or Templars plugged into a machine to try to locate where the mystical artifacts lay in today’s world, because like all mystical artifacts, they get lost. It’s like the Matrix with memory induced time travel and amazing hidden weapons.
I could go on, but if you’ve played the game you understand, and if you haven’t, hopefully you still understand.
Regarding the film, the biggest thing that irked me was the synopsis. And really, “irk” is the best term. I actually felt that as I read the summary.
Here it is:
Lynch discovers he is a descendant of the secret Assassins society through unlocked genetic memories that allow him to relive the adventures of his ancestor, Aguilar, in 15th Century Spain. After gaining incredible knowledge and skills he’s poised to take on the oppressive Knights Templar in the present day.
Two things immediately jumped out at me: Lynch and Aguilar. Fassbender is set to play Callum Lynch, and by memory extension, Aguilar de Agarorobo. Neither of these characters appear in a single AC game, and that disappointed me. It irked me. I was equal parts hoping/expecting/assuming the film would be closely based on the game, but that is obviously not the case. Hollywood has decided that taking one story that has worked and, instead of sticking close to script, make changes that may anger fans and alienate the AC gamers. I have tremendous faith that Fassbender can pull it off, but I don’t have faith in Hollywood’s plan to change it up so drastically.
In the past it was easier, because video games were simple and linear. Mario had to save Princess Peach from Bowser. Liu Kang had to defeat Shang Tsung. Adam Sandler had to save Earth from every retro game you could possibly fit into a one hour forty-five minute film. Actually, forget the last one, everyone else has.
The point is that Hollywood is attempting to take a game that’s already cinematic in its own right and turning it into something that’s cinematic, but different. It’s like they want to change it simply because they can, not because they should. You could argue they want to create a film that’s new for everyone, regardless of game related experience. Not a terrible thought, but is it worth risking the integrity of the game’s already intriguing story to make such a change? Do they really think that fans of the game won’t see the film if it’s based on the game’s storyline? Did Marvel lose out on the comic book demographic because they kept Captain America instead of changing him to Colonel Freedomland? Of course not, so what’s the upside to changing characters in a film that will be new to every non-gamer?
Of course none of this is going to stop me from seeing the film. I enjoy the AC franchise too much (minus Unity) to not be intrigued by a major motion picture. You’ve got me, Hollywood.
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