Assassin’s Creed movie review: A hit or miss?

The Tuesday I have been waiting for arrived yesterday. We went to watch Assassin’s Creed, the movie adaptation of a popular video game series that blends science with historical fantasy themes.

It was our first time going to the theaters over here so we were pleasantly surprised to find no lines and that it was totally okay to buy your tickets 15 minutes before the movie began. The nice and sunny morning was destroyed by my awkward mumbling to the box office lady who asked me to repeat myself.

We went inside the building, gawked at how different it was from home, stared at the ridiculous popcorn prices, took a few pictures outside the auditorium and went in, ready to watch our first movie in what seemed like years. It felt strange that we got to choose our own seats and that it was so darned bright inside. Even the ads were sectioned into fun facts and then other movie trailers (and I swear there’s a sequel for Planet of the Apes every other year).

You don’t know how tempted I was to start my post with “As a fan of Assassin’s Creed for EIGHT years…” but I figured it would be too cheesy, too boring, too pompous. I have not played a video game in more than a year until last week, a shocking comparison to my high school days (video games, I love you), so you could say that I didn’t think too much about what the plot was going to be like and that I didn’t have many expectations.

This is the part where you look away if you hate spoilers!

As a non-gamer looking for some good entertainment over winter break, the movie was decent. As a gamer, the movie was mediocre at its best. There wasn’t enough action at all. The three times that the main character went into the Animus was all we got. And if you’ve never played the game, Assassin’s Creed is 90% historical and 10% modern day. The way important moments in history are intertwined with an entirely fictional storyline is part of what makes the game so rich and so compelling. And the movie was quite the opposite – 80% modern day, 20% historical.

There was far too much focus on the modern day story, which, I suppose, was used to appeal to a wider audience and not just those who have played the game. Some parts could have been shorter. It was obvious that the movie was only building and focusing on the main character, Cal, to set up a nice background for its movie sequels. The huge miss for me was that Aguilar, the assassin from 500 years ago, did not have a story of his own. The appeal of AC games lie, as I mentioned earlier, with the historical scenes and characters. We don’t care about the main character but we care about his ancestors.

With that said, I loved how dedicated Michael Fassbender was to this adaptation. In 2011 or something like that, I read he was attached to the project and was very surprised that he did not drop out all this while. I was glad because I thought he really looked similar to Desmond Miles (main guy in the modern day part of the games) and his acting was great in X-Men. He was successful in creating a great character out of Cal who seamlessly fit into the AC universe unlike new characters in movie adaptations of video games or comics who often seem out of place. I thought the other actors/actresses did a great job as well. Some part of me wished that they had kept the original modern day characters like Lucy, Shaun and Rebecca, but oh well.

I also did not expect the historical scenes to entirely be in Spanish. It certainly made it more realistic and interesting but there was something lacking about it. I figured it was because the characters didn’t have enough lines. It made everyone seem really stiff because there was less talking so the characters were either nodding or staring at each other with intense gazes.

The cinematography was messy. I thought the Prince of Persia movie did a better job at recreating the feel of the games. I could barely see the parkour because the scenes were cutting wildly from spurring horses to wide angles of mountains to dark silhouettes and blinding white lights. The eagle was iconic but there was no need to keep following it around because it made the panoramic shot of the city lose all its magic (it’s freaking magical in the game). Another appeal of the games (because I can’t help but compare) is the beauty of the historical cities. With the lack of exploration, there was nothing to appreciate about the dusty and poorly lit locations.

While the movie’s Animus didn’t make me cringe as much as I expected to, though there were cheesy sci-fi elements about flying around with metal arms and football field lights, it was extremely distracting to have the scenes cut from the past to the present just to capture Marion Cotillard’s wide-eyed look of anticipation. It made it more difficult to get immersed in the action that was happening in the historical timeline.

I’m glad they did not throw romance into the storyline. I thought Aguilar and that female assassin were going to have a scene together or something but it didn’t happen, thankfully. That would have racked up the cringe factor. I hope that they won’t in future sequels because that would turn it into another romance/action/sci-fi thing. What they should add is some wit and humor but just a little. Like, really little. Too much would take away its essence. In the game, Desmond Miles was a crappy character but his sarcasm made up for all that he was lacking. At the same time, I suppose the serious tone in the movie wasn’t all too bad either.

I enjoyed the soundtrack. I actually thought Jesper Kyd (musical genius who composed the soundtracks for the games; this might be a bit outdated since I only played until AC3) composed it because it sounded similar, but it wasn’t him. It was good though. The rock music at the beginning was also very AC-like because all the game trailers have really awesome non-mainstream songs that sound epic.

Overall, I would give this movie a 7/10. It was a hit AND a miss for me. Would I watch it again? Probably, because Fassbender’s sport shoes and sweatpants look is fab! Just kidding. I wouldn’t mind watching it again but not so soon. People actually clapped after the movie was over! I didn’t yawn or complain which tells me that I found it entertaining. It was nice to be reunited with in-game jargon and understand all the references. I would probably watch the sequel. I was mostly disappointed that people who have never played the game did not get to experience the feeling captured through AC’s use of history as its playground because it was, and still is, a great feeling that inspired me to delve deeper into the subject of history and see video games as a wonderfully unique form of art.

If you want a great story, play the game (preferably, most definitely, infinitely, the second game, AC2) but if you’re not picky and got about 2 hours to spare, I would say give the movie a try.

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Annual time for reflection

Happy New Year’s Eve, folks!!

 snoopy_happy_new_year_cards

While I’m at it, here’s a cute Peanuts comic strip,peanut-newyear

A few more hours to 2013. Weird to be typing 2013… Anyway I thought I’d do a little summary of how our year has been and what we’ve put on our ‘like’ list and what we’ve dumped unceremoniously into our ‘ugh, hate’ list.

The entertainment part of our year in review.

In the music section, we didn’t really find much worthy to be put on our music player except music from a few bands/musicians:

  • Boys Like Girls
  • Carly Rae Jepsen (you’re judging so hard, I know LOL!)
  • Matchbox 20
  • Owl City
  • Train

You’re probably going, What the heck is wrong with you? How could you have liked only 5 albums in ONE year? Hmm, about 95% of the music on the radio is crap and it doesn’t look like it’s getting any better. I mean, if we can have G#ngnam and that ‘We are Young’ song playing on the radio, the music industry is pretty much doomed. No, I am not kidding and no, I do not care if you are offended. That G0tye song was just as bad. Yeah, we don’t listen to the radio anymore.

Some other singers/bands we do not quite care for: One Direction, Rihanna, Taylor Swift (Why is she even still considered a COUNTRY singer? And can she stop whining about her ex-boyfriends already?), Nicki Minaj, Fun, Justin Bieber. I’m sure there’s more to add to the list but that’s it for now.

Well, I’m pretty sure if we had looked harder, we might have discovered new non-mainstream music. If you have any suggestions, feel free to tell us in the comment box. No, we are not fans of indie music, sorry! Oh my, this is making us look like picky (music) eaters.

~

In terms of TV shows, we added tons of new shows to our list of ‘watchables’. The pictures below are ranked in terms of how watchable the show is. From top to bottom: watchable to ALL-TIME FAVORITE YOU SHOULD GO OUT AND BUY THE DVD watchable.

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Covert Affairs

Possibly the cheesiest spy show anyone could ever add to their list of guilty pleasures. There’s not much to this show – most parts are cliche, the characters are silly (almost undeveloped) and the lines are supremely corny – but we found ourselves watching it till the end. It might also have had something to do with the fact that we were waiting for other TV shows to come back on air again.

Cheesiest part of the whole show: Annie wears Louboutins in almost every single episode and she has tons of designer shoes but she’s new to her job. Somebody please explain to me as to how she pays for her shoes. Maybe there’s a secret to not having a stable income but being able to splurge on Louboutins. Miu Miu heels for me, please, thanks. O:)

arrow

Arrow

Okay, Stephen Amell, you’re ripped and I know lots of guys who would LOVE to be able to do that exercise with the steel bar that you do but can you show a little more emotion and depth while playing Oliver Queen? Also, green leather does not do your superhero alter ego justice.

This show is alright but it does have its ups and downs. Some episodes give hope to the next but sometimes the next one turns out to be a disappointment. But it has potential so we’ll keep watching and keep hoping that it will get – for lack of a better word – epic.

justified

Justified

Personally, I like Raylan. He’s great. None of my friends know how to appreciate this show but it’s their loss. There’s always something interesting going on in Harlan County and you can see each character grow in every episode.

I wonder if Winona will have a girl or boy.

TVD

The Vampire Diaries

I started watching out of boredom and now I find myself looking forward to the next episode. I have to give it credit for not being overly corny or ridiculous like Twilight. The first season was so-so and now I’m at season 2 and it’s getting exciting. I hope it doesn’t disappoint!

Have I read the books? Nope. Frankly, after the Twilight saga, I didn’t think I could stomach any more so I didn’t get past the first few chapters of TVD.

I have a soft spot for Damon… shhh! Ian Somerhalder looks disturbingly like someone who used to be my friend. Creepy, I know! Not too big a fan of Stefan who is the Edward of TVD. C and I agree that Jeremy is annoying.

whitecollar

White Collar

Matt Bomer. The only explanation needed to describe this show.

Okay, fine. It’s not just his gorgeous looks (Matt, let’s be friends! I love you!). I like the dynamics of the show and there is real growth in the relationships. Neal and Peter work so well together but there’s always this part of Peter that is afraid Neal will screw up and go back to his old ways which makes their relationship complicated at times. Ugh, and Neal is brilliant and looks oh-so-dapper in a suit! Loved that episode when he parachuted down the building.

Then there’s Mozzie who is basically the secret star of the show with his paranoia and ingenuous wit. We love Mozzie! Peter’s wife, Elizabeth, can be pretty cool and helpful in some cases but we’d love if their adorable Labrador gets more screen time. 😉

suits-poster

Suits

White Collar should be down here but I’m too lazy to swap pictures. Discovered this show by accident when one day I was channel-surfing and this was the only show that didn’t look boring. Who else thinks the theme song is hilarious?!

Suits is SO clever. I’m all for lawyer shows and this one does NOT disappoint. Witty conversations, complicated lawsuits, office politics, office romance, Harvey and Donna – what’s not to like about Suits?! One thing though, Mike becomes a bigger douchebag with every episode.

Watch this and you will get Litt up!

chaos-poster-season-1

Chaos

Chaos is a discontinued TV show but C and I love it!!! They should have given it a chance… and a bigger budget. That would have helped. The four of them – Michael Dorset, Rick Martinez, Billy Collins and Casey Malick – are so funny and they work well as a team of misfits. Why couldn’t they have done something to save this show?! I honestly have no idea what TV companies think when they cancel good shows and let stupid reality TV continue airing.

If you have time, go find all 12 episodes and watch them. Admittedly, the sets are bad and story lines are mediocre but the acting is good and with a little more effort, it could have been a hit!

bbt

The Big Bang Theory

Oh, this is HILARIOUS. I don’t know why we didn’t discover this earlier. They deserve all the awards they’ve won. It’s funny, smart (beyond smart) and well done in so many aspects. Who writes the dialog?! They should be given awards. Combining witty and intelligent conversations is no easy task, I’m sure.

I started out watching it alone in college during my breaks but now I’m watching it again with C and my mom. We literally roll on the floor laughing while watching every episode. We’re semi-geeks so that’s another reason to be so into it.

Watch it and follow the epic lives of Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, Raj and Penny! It’s AWESOME.

poi-1

Person of Interest

Here we are! At our ALL-TIME FAVORITE TV SHOW. POI is ashdfksdjmind-fricking-blowin’! Have you ever watched anything so deep and well-written? The main idea of the show is stopping crimes before they happen. If this idea seems familiar to you, it’s probably because Early Edition has the same idea. But this is far from Early Edition. POI is in a league of its own.

If the other shows mentioned above are clever, this show is the epitome of brilliance. Slight exaggeration but well-deserved, I’d say. Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson portray John Reese and Harold Finch perfectly. I wouldn’t have anyone else play their roles. Detective Carter and Detective Fusco as their aides just make the show better. There are so many angles to the show and it always leaves us on the edge of our seats.

One word: Bravo!

Oh, and we LOVE Bear! <3

~

The movie department, however, has been deeply lacking in movies that make an impact on us. We did adore The Avengers and Taken 2 but 75% of everything else was just horrible.

Movies that were good/not too shabby:

  • Man on a Ledge
  • 21 Jump Street
  • Mirror Mirror
  • Lockout
  • Safe
  • The Bourne Legacy (this borders on not that great and boring but the motorcycle scene was cool)

Movies we could not sit through because they were just so bad and movies that made us feel like our time was wasted:

  • The Hunger Games (Sat through the first 10 minutes, couldn’t stand the screaming, skipped the rest)
  • Looper (Oh god, this was bad! We had free tickets so we went to watch this and regretted it. Horrible sci-fi movie)
  • Step Up Revolution (Worst of the lot, no doubt… the script was cornier than Twilight’s, the plot was a mess and the dancing wasn’t even that mind-blowing)
  • This Means War (Eww, it was a bad rom-com)
  • Snow White and The Huntsman (Lots of mumbling and it was a bit too dark for our liking)
  • Magic Mike (Sat through 10 minutes, watched Channing build a roof, gave up on the rest of it)
  • The Amazing Spider-man (First off, we don’t even like Andrew Garfield.. I don’t even know why we tried to watch this. Andrew can never be the Spider-man that Tobey Maguire was. Emma, you don’t measure up to Kirsten Dunst’s MJ Watson either, sorry. Why remake a perfectly decent movie so soon?)
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower (I know y’all loved it but it just wasn’t our cup of tea. The plot had too many holes in it, almost like suggesting we read the book before we watch it??)
  • The Vow (He didn’t end up with her, what the heck?)

Yup, gonna get flak for our list but who cares?! We have yet to watch most of the movies that came out this year but we’ll get there…?

Okay, on to the video game part of 2012. I am proud to say that I managed to play at least 2 new games this year – Batman:Arkham City and Counter Strike:Global Offensive. I didn’t finish Batman but it was a really good game. Catwoman should be with Batman!!

C and the brother bought me CS:GO so I started playing. I’m not too good at it but it’s fun. They’ve been trying to get me to play Portal 1 and 2 but I’m not biting… yet? LOL.

I did watch C play Batman, Crysis 2, Assassin’s Creed 3, Battlefield 3 and CS:GO. My observation, AC3 sucks but Battlefield 3 rocks. Connor, you can’t replace Ezio, not with that ‘tude of yours. I’m not too sure how I feel about Crysis 2 since (SPOILER AHEAD!) Alcatraz suddenly became Prophet at the end.

~

Okay, this is the end of my extremely long post. Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment or Tweet us.

(All images from Google)

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