There may be only one month left of 2016, but we’re not exactly starved for exciting upcoming movies. Obviously there’s the usual glut of exciting Oscar hopefuls, like musical La La Land, Denzel Washington play adaptation Fences, Martin Scorsese’s Silence and (outside shot, but still) J-Law and C-Patt sci-fi teamup Passengers – but, to cement December as “Star Wars Month”, there’s also Rogue One, Disney’s first spin-off from the franchise. That’s not the only big blockbuster making its bow before 2017, however: just a week later comes Assassin’s Creed.
Based on the hit Ubisoft video games about a millennia-spanning conflict between Assassins and Templars, with characters in the near-future using secret coding in DNA to relive memories of their ancestors (don’t ask), Assassin’s Creed has a lot of hope pinned on it to at long last break the video game movie curse. It certainly has a strong plot ripe for the big screen, but what really points to greatness is the talent involved; it’s directed by Justin Kurzel, who has reunited the cast of his gritty Macbeth adaptation, Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. The footage released so far hasn’t set the world alight, but it’s hard to not get excited by each new glimpse.
The official Assassin’s Creed Twitter has released a new TV spot that provides a brief overview of the premise (sans pseudo-science) for newcomers, then gets right into showing off some of the action. Interestingly given how the film is reportedly only set 35% in the past, most of what’s shown here is from the 15th century Spanish Inquisition stretches, with a better look at a cart battle, as well as some sweeping city shots.
Of most interest is the glassboard of Callum Lynch’s (Fassbender) family tree that Abstergo (the Templar-front company that Cotillard’s Sophia Rikkin works for) have constructed, going back 500 years into his bloodline. These are the building blocks of the Creed mythology, so it’s a pleasure to see them realized. In that vein, the action too feels much more in keeping with the lone-killer-stalking-roofs-and-quietly-taking-down-guards-while-freerunning that the series is known for than previous trailers. Best of all though, they’ve got rid of that perplexing Kanye West soundtrack.
This Assassin’s Creed TV spot is unlikely to sway anyone’s opinion on the film. However, it’s worth remembering that while the focus of the film’s marketing so far has been on the basics, we do know the more bonkers parts of the mythology from the original games will be included – so there are definitely more secrets yet to be revealed.
The big risk financially is competition with Rogue One – last year’s The Force Awakens dominated the box office for about a month after release – although it seems that Fox is hoping to tap into the lucrative Christmas Day market; a gamble that could pay off. That said, Ubisoft has already admitted this is more a branding exercise than an artistic one, so that eases up the expectations for Assassin’s Creed on the box office front.