Disclaimer: I haven’t played the video game. I’m not much of a gamer, tbh, but if I were, I think I’d like this kind of game. But either way, I haven’t played it.
Now that that’s out of the way: let’s turn to good ol’ Rotten Tomatoes!
Title: Assassin’s Creed (2016)
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Michael Kenneth Williams
Critic’s consensus: Assassin’s Creed is arguably better made (and certainly better cast) than most video game adaptations; unfortunately, the CGI-fueled end result still is still a joylessly overplotted slog.
Right. Well. Good try, Rotten, but despite your best attempts, your Silver Linings are but a tarnished gray at best! That said, you’ve got a point about the sloginess. A few more crap things to point about before we get to the good stuff:
CRAP THING #1:
There are a lot of subtitles throughout and they’re poorly punctuated. Infuriating.
CRAP THING #2:
Film schizophrenia (n.): when a movie can’t decide what its main story line is, which genre it belongs to, or both. Sometimes it works. (Think the unlikely action/romcom/family drama that promoted awareness of autism and neurodiversity, “The Account (2016).”) Sometimes, as in this case, it doesn’t. We spend a bit too much time bouncing around between centuries and plot-lines, and not enough time figuring out who the fuck is who, and who the fuck is on whose side.
CRAP THING #3:
Marion Cotillard! Which I never thought I’d say! I normally love her to pieces! And I know she’s supposed to be a cold-hearted scientist-type and I know that she wasn’t given much good writing to play with and I know the ill-advised sexual tension towards the end couldn’t have been easy to cram in there, but come on, woman, you’ve got an Oscar. Oh well. Next time.
Now for fun! It’s Silver Linings time!
SILVER LINING #1:
The aerial shots. I don’t know what was up with the bird (eagle? Falcon? Who the hell knows), maybe it was a video game reference, but it gave us some pretty bangin’ views of various cityscapes, and of Michael Fassbender jumping off said cityscapes.
SILVER LINING #2:
The Animus. This was the machine that let Michael tap into the memories of his ancestor, relive them in the present day, and learn all the dead guy’s cool ninja tricks. (Yeah.) While the science here is… let’s say sketchy, the design of the machine itself is doooooooope. It’s got this like prehensile arm that lifts and spins and I guess just follows what you’re seeing in your ancestor’s memory so that you feel like it’s happening in real life. I want to try it. I’d probably see a bunch of Scottish farmers tending cows, but whatever.
SILVER LINING #3:
Okay I don’t know if this really counts as a Silver Lining, but in every film where Michael has to do an accent that’s not his native Irish, he’s so bad at it that they have to insert some kind of reason for it. In “Shame (2011),” it was that he’d spent time abroad for family stuff. In “X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014),” well, he was Magneto, so there was the German thing. But in this film, they literally just made Brendan Gleeson his dad!! I’m counting this as a Silver Lining because A) this is my favorite ridiculous trend, and B) who doesn’t love Brendan Gleeson? MOAR BRENDAN GLEESON.
SILVER LINING #4:
Ninja moves! The fighting is legit, and stuntman Damien Walters did a real-life, 125-foot free fall, which is the highest stunt free fall on film in almost 35 years, and also bananas.
SILVER LINING #5:
Michael Fassbender does the entire third quarter of the film shirtless.
So there you have it. 5 good reasons why you’d be completely rational to not outright despise this film.
Until next time, this is Silver Linings, signing off.