If movie adaptations of video games have a reputation for one thing, it’s for sucking. Terrible decisions just seem to plague them from day one. A Super Mario Bros that looks Blade Runner? Jean-Claude Van Damme playing Guile in a Street Fighter about terrorism? Hollywood, what are you smoking? That’s why the news that Ubisoft’s newly-minted film division is working with Michael Fassbender on an Assassin’s Creed movie is so exciting. If this collaboration pans out, it could set a new standard for how material like this is handled. So look out Hollywood, the bar is about to be raised. We know that Lara Croft: Tomb Raider looks like Chinatown after watching the Double Dragon movie, but we’ve got a few reasons why this Assassin’s Creed movie could end up the vest video game movie yet… 1. Michael Fassbender is starring, and he's amazing We now know that actor Michael Fassbender would be starring in and co-producing (with his company, DMC Film) the Assassin's Creed film. Besides adding some necessary legitimacy to the project's production side, it also means the film will star an extremely well-respected actor. Fassbender's roles in 300, X-Men: First Class, and Prometheus have gained him a huge following among filmgoers, as he melts into roles and turns even mundane characters into wonderful, well-rounded pro/antagonists. No matter which assassin Fassbender picks up the cowl of, we're sure he'll be able to knock it out of the park. Desmond's confused, helpless role could be expanded greatly, or Fassbender could create a more likable character out of the stoic, serious Altair. We're hoping the story will follow Ezio, giving Fassbender his first shot at playing the fun playboy-type we all know he can be. 2. The plot is deeper than most game stories One reason game-based movies have bombed is because of the games they're based on. A Super Mario Bros. Movie? Really? House of the Dead? Doom? Come on. There have been a few attempts at turning AAA game stories into AAA movie tales (Max Payne being the most obvious example), but by and large the popularity of the franchise came first, and the story of said franchise came second. This isn't a hurdle Assassin's Creed's writers will need to deal with. The story is more robust than most summer blockbusters, with plenty of twists and turns to play off of for a full film. It's also a deeper story, with themes and morals beyond “kill that guy over there because he's a monster and you kill monsters.” 3. There's plenty of material to work with The Assassin's Creed movie will undoubtedly come out after Assassin's Creed III is released. Hell, it'll likely be released after whatever spin-off or semi-sequel Ubisoft has planned for 2013, too. This means that, at the time it's being made, there will be at least six full Assassin's Creed games to pull content from, as well as a smattering of animated movies, comics, and books. Because of this, the writers of the film won't need to rely too heavily on trying to replicate the events of one game or one part of a story. They could pull from whichever sections they want, or even attempt to make the movie span the time of several games. If they wanted to play it almost like a time-travel movie (yeah, we know the Aniumus isn't actually time-travel, but work with us), they could do that, too. Just imagine a thrilling action film that pulls the viewer through 1100s Jerusalem, 1400s Rome, and 1700s America – it'd be amazing. 4. The developer actually has some control Disagreements between movie studios and developers have put the brakes on video game adaptations before. Remember that long gestating, Peter Jackson produced Halo movie? Or that fan-maligned Uncharted adaptation that would’ve starred Mark Wahlberg? Maybe it was for the better that they didn’t happen, but it wasn’t fan outcry that stopped them, it was because game developers didn’t want Hollywood to tarnish their biggest franchises. What if the Uncharted movie had bombed so badly people stopped caring about Nathan Drake? That’s the sweat-drenched nightmare Naughty Dog executives were awakening from in the middle of the night. They had the foresight to say no to Hollywood, but Ubisoft has done them one better. After complaining about a lack of input in the Prince of Persia adaptation, Ubisoft has chosen to develop the film internally, founding Ubisoft Motion Pictures. The Montreal-based publisher has already scored a solid lead with Fassbender, and now gets to work with him picking writers and directors. All a studio like Sony will get to do is distribute the picture. If Assassin’s Creed turns out well, this could become the model for future adaptations. If not, Hollywood will never stop saying, “we told you so.” 5. This story will benefit from real locations Creating the production design for a movie is an unbelieveable amount of work. Turning a handful of pictures and concept art into sets takes a clear vision, an able staff and a ton of money. Even with that though, the result can end up looking like the Mario Bros movie. With Assassin’s Creed, the filmmakers don’t have to worry about making a plumber break bricks with his head or shoot fireballs out of his hand. Despite some sci-fi elements, Assassin’s Creed (no matter where/when it is set) is essentially a period piece, and Hollywood knows how to do those. Not that recreating historical locations isn’t a ton of work (especially on the sweeping scale an Assassin's Creed movie will likely need), but the production designers will be able to look at classical paintings and sketches for inspiration, probably some of the very same references the developers at Ubisoft used. 6. The games are full of memorable heroes There's Desmond Miles, the mild-manned bartender torn out of his relatively calm life and thrown back into a war he abandoned; there's Lucy Stillman, the mysterious assassin with motives we're only not learning; and there's a wide range of other characters outside the Animus that help make the 2012 world of Assassin's Creed interesting. But besides the modern-era cast, there are plenty of likable characters inside Desmond's DNA. Throw a hat on Paul Giamatti and you're looking at a fun, energetic Leonardo da Vinci. Each protagonist, too, brings something new to the table, from the romantic Ezio to Assassin's Creed III: Liberation's Aveline, who has the potential to be one of the most interesting characters in the franchise. Of course, there are plenty of memorable characters on the other side as well... 7. There are also plenty of awesome villains Sure, the good guys are fun and easy to relate to, but Assassin's Creed is nothing without interesting people to assassinate. Al Mualim's complicated story was one of the most interesting narrative points of the original Assassin's Creed, and the Borgia family is full of infamous characters, so much so that the Borgias recently had their lives adapted to a mini-series on Showtime. Outside the Animus there are some interesting personalities, too. Abstergo Industries' Warren Vidic could make for an incredibly strong film role if handed to the right actor, helping show the dark, misguided plight of the Knights Templar's 2012 activities. 8. The bar isn't that high Alright, let's be real: one of the reasons the Assassin's Creed movie could be the best gaming movie ever is because the competition is absolutely lackluster. The best, as of now, is likely the Silent Hill movie, and that was only passable. If handled correctly, Assassin's Creed could easily leapfrog that to become the new bar, creating a boom for high-quality game-based movies similar to the one we're seeing with comic books now. Who knows? Maybe a great Zelda, Metroid, Star Fox, and Mario movie could lead to a Smash Bros.-sized film akin to The Avengers? Alright, that's sort of a terrible idea, but either way – we're super excited by the recent news surrounding the project, and have high hopes that it could bring one of our favorite franchises to life in a new medium.
Jul 10, 2012
Assassin's Creed movie – 8 reasons it might be the best game movie to date | GamesRadar
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