Do video game movies have to look like the video games that precede them?
The Assassin’s Creed trailer dropped on the internet. The film is set to be released in theaters on December 21, 2016 and stars Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, and directed by Justin Kurzel. The movie is based on the popular annual video game series produced by Ubisoft. In the games characters are able to relive their ancestor’s history by a machine called the Animus. The games are part science and historical fiction and ripe for a movie adaptation.
If the next great wave of genre films are going to be video game adaptations, then this franchise is a great place to start. The struggle between the Templars and the Assassin’s developed in the games will make great stories to tell. This trailer shows the promise of what the film could be with the great actions shots shown. The big issue I had with the trailer though is the action felt like cut scenes from the video game. For fans of the games this is great and is going to get them excited to see the movie, but I’m not sure it’s going to move the needle for people who haven’t played the game.
The ending shot of the trailer is of a leap of faith which is prominently used during the games. It is a cool shot, but I’m not sure the movie needs it. Would fans of the game be disappointed if it isn’t in the film? Yes, but that is what I worry about with video games made into films. The people making the movies feel obligated to put things into the film that may not benefit or be believable within the story they are telling. Maybe this isn’t the case within Assassin’s Creed, but if Michael Fassbender’s character ends up landing in a hay cart I’m going to guess people who are not fans of the game are going to roll their eyes with the unbelievability of the act. I love the shot, and love performing this act in the game, but I worry it’s not needed for the film and it is going negatively affect the movie by being forced in.
I want video game movies to do well, and I think they can. There are wonderful stories being told in the video games, and films can expand upon this experience by telling other stories in unique ways. No one has cracked the code on how to translate a video game into a great feature film. Assassin’s Creed could very well be the first one because of the great story the game has behind it. They can’t be slaved to the game’s visuals though, and this is what the trailer felt like to me. It felt like I was watching a great cut scenes from a game. The response the trailer has gotten has been extremely positive, except for the weird song choice, but I’m still nervous after what I saw.
I know I’m in the minority in not loving this trailer, and I didn’t hate it. It just worries me that the movie is going to be too focused on providing great visuals that were used on in the game and not focused on telling a great story, which has been the downfall of most video game movies. Granted this is just a teaser trailer, and we are probably going to get more story in later trailers that can ease my fears.
Am I crazy for not loving this trailer? Are you worried about the film being too beholden to the visual style of the game? Comment and let me know.