Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Assassin's Creed: The Non-Gamer Review

Now, before you raise a condescending brow, let me put it out there --without the slightest qualm-- that I am no gamer. Until last weekend, I wouldn't have known the difference between Aguilar de Nehra and Gordan Freeman. But I do have 2 teenagers who who have done the popular Leap of Faith, so I consider myself schooled. Crash coursed, more like it.
I am also a nerd. So before our weekend Assassin's Creed movie date, I did research. I went through the Assassin's Creed storyline, watched every game trailer, and felt my brain implode. I also found myself going through movie reviews. It was a pretty daunting experience because most of them were on the negative end of the spectrum. Something about how weak the movie plot was, about how the story should've delved more into the Spanish Inquisition past rather than the Animus Experiment present. Picking up the pieces of my brain, I went and told my boys about this. They were unfazed. We were going to watch Assassin's Creed no matter wahat. And I'm like, "Oh, heck, Michael Fassbender's in it --sure, let's go!"
And, boy, was I glad I got so easily swayed!

To the true blue gamer, Assassin's Creed may not have met their standards like most movie translations flop to every video game imaginable. I remember how Doom was criticized. Wait, that was too kind. Doom was adequately bashed.
But from my perspective, Assassin's Creed was amazing!

1. The story line of good versus evil, past versus present may not be the most original, but the storytelling was on point. While some people complained about the unbalanced editing, I found it crisp and clear. Keep in mind that jumping from past to present and back again can be quite confusing. But Assassin's Creed delivered through its simplicity.While I do agree that the Spanish Inquisition past served as better eye candy, for an intro phase in this Assassin's Creed series, the present needed to be played up more. It made the entire plot more believable. I even believed that there could be a cure to the disease called violence.

2. The action was insane! The parkour-heavy fight scene that ran almost 10 minutes had me riveted! The horse-drawn carriage chase scene was incredible. And every one-on-one mano-y-mano was brilliantly choreographed. Case in point, Aguilar's ghost versus Callum Lynch. And don't get me started on Maria's 2-against-1 number. That one almost had me screaming 'Girl Power!' in the theater.

3. Cinematography. Damn, those wide angles! Thanks to the iconic CGI eagle, we were pitched into the landscape of a cruel past. I dig that. From the GoPro shot of a mountainous terrain, to the dramatic caress of a stage of burning bodies, to the rustic dusty skyscrapers and towers specifically built for Aguilar to jump off from.

4. Are you seeing this, cosplayers? The costumers were on point --from the ominous garb to the tattooed skin. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing an imaginary character come to life in its most faithful detail. Heck, I squealed the first time I saw a Morrigan cosplay, thinking, "So that's how you keep that impossinle bustier up..."
Anyway, you should've seen my boys geek out to high heavens every time a hidden blade was unleashed. Kudos to the movie's production designer, seriously.

5. The cliffhanger was done clean. I know that some movies or TV shows have cliffhangers that give too much (I'm looking at you, Marvel) or too little (I'm looking at you The Walking Dead), and that kills the magic all together. Whereas, Assassin's Creed held its breath just enough to make you want a sequel.

Bottomline, even if you're not a gamer, you can enjoy this movie. You can keep up without feeling left out. It also helps that assassins, in all their mysterious glory, can be fascinating and crush-worthy. Oh! Michael Fassbender helped, too. :)

Assassin's Creed. It's still showing. Catch it.