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June 12, 2017

Assassin's Creed (2016) --- "Is Unlocking The Genetic Memories In Our DNA Possible? Or Straight Out Of A Video Game."

Plot Summary
Cal Lynch travels back in time to 15th-century Spain through a revolutionary technology that unlocks the genetic memories contained in his DNA. There, he lives out the experiences of Aguilar de Nerha, a distant relative who's also a member of the Assassins, a secret society that fights to protect free will from the power-hungry Templar Order. Transformed by the past, Cal begins to gain the knowledge and physical skills necessary to battle the oppressive organization in the present. (1)

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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
     Assassin's Creed (2017) is based on the computer game of the same name by Ubisoft. Basically, Assassin's Creed1 is about two factions: the Knights Templar – who want to do away with free will as they believe that free will is the root of corruption – and the Assassins – who believe that violence is the sacrifice that one must pay for freedom. Both factions have been in an eternal conflict for control of humanity’s destiny. There are a number of artifacts that the factions are looking for, one, in particular, is the Apple of Eden which promises an end to violence and destruction by containing the genetic code for human free will. The Templars want to control humanity while the Assassins are trying to prevent the former from getting the artifacts. Now I have never played the computer game nor have I seen the old movie adaptations, so aside from the impressive and intriguing trailers I was unsure of what to expect from the movie. The film is entertaining with its captivating production designs (Raphael Lacoste and Andy Nicholson), the cinematography (Adam Arkapaw) captures the splendor of Andalusia, Spain and the island of Malta, and the action sequences through the use of the Animus, involving the Assassins is spectacular. The action sequence outside of the Animus are still cool but have a sense of lacking to it or perhaps it’s just me who loves period fighting scenes. Although I have been told that the Animus in the game – a chair with screens – is different from the one seen in this film – a robotic scorpion’s tail that attaches to the base of the skull/brain – the change is a welcome one. Or so some friends have said.
     While I enjoyed the film, I find that viewers with no prior knowledge of the computer game may need to watch the movie a couple times before all the details start making sense. Perhaps what makes the film a bit confusing is a screenplay and direction. The screenplay was good, however, it turns out to be rather predictable and it fails to explain a lot of the information. Now the writers did present a more original story, from what I’ve heard, and thus putting a fresh spin on Assassin’s Creed story in comparison to the game. It is quite obvious that the action sequences during the 15th Century Spanish Inquisition far surpass the action sequences of the 21st Century. This constant flip-flop between two separate, although parallel, plot stories proves to complicate what is already a difficult story to understand. In addition, the action either lacks a sense of suspense or just doesn’t have enough and the surprises are a bit questionable.
     On another note, the cast was rather outstanding, Michael Fassbender (300, X-men) continues to defy label casting in his role as Cal Lynch/Assassin Aguilar. He is on screen most of the time and it is amazing to see how he portrays his two characters who are complete opposites. Throughout the film we see a blending of the two characters in what is known as “The Bleeding Effect” as a result of the Animus, only to reach the end and discover that maybe the two characters are not so different after all. Perhaps one just needed a little help remembering. Jeremy Irons (Beautiful Creatures, Batman v Superman) indulges himself as a wicked villain in a turtleneck, Rikkin, and provides a strong performance of believability. Marion Cotillard (Allied), on the other hand, is not that believable as her character, Sofia, continues to deny the predicament of her reality. It is obvious that she and her father have some tension that both refuse to admit until much, much later than expected. Charlotte Rampling (Under the Sand) and Brendan Gleeson (Troy) hold unanswered questions as they lurk worryingly in the background. Although, despite these characters being filled by some great actors, the characters are a bit underdeveloped and should have been used better.

     Overall, Assassin's Creed (2017) is a very entertaining film to see. Although the final fight at the end was a little too soon and too short for my expectation, the film as a whole most certainly does not qualify as the worst cinematic adaptation of a video game. In the same sense neither is a new thrilling action movie. One cannot deny that the film can be pretty confusing, especially for some who is not a fan of the game, but I believe that if 20th Century Fox fixes some areas (i.e. character depth, action sequences.) then this film could turn into an exciting franchise.

“These are the sacred tenets of our brotherhood: to stay your blade from the flesh of the innocent, to hide in the plain sight, and above all else, never to compromise the brotherhood.”
– Cal Lynch 

Final Vote
Worth Seeing:  3.5 of 5 star
Worth Buying:  3.5 of 5 stars

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Warcraft (2016)
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Cast & Crew
Directed by Justin Kurzel
Writing Credits
Produced by 
Markus Barmettler                      ---      executive producer
Jean-Julien Baronnet                 ---      producer
Chris Brigham                             ---      line producer: additional photography
Christine Burgess-Quémard      ---      executive producer
Patrick Crowley                            ---      producer
Jean de Rivieres                          ---      executive producer
Daniel Emmerson                       ---      associate producer
Michael Fassbender                    ---      producer
Gerard Guillemot                        ---      producer
Serge Hascoet                              ---      executive producer
Philip Lee                                     ---      executive producer
Frank Marshall                            ---      producer
Conor McCaughan                      ---      producer
Arnon Milchan                             ---      producer
Alex Taylor                                   ---      associate producer
Richard Whelan                          ---      associate producer
Music by Jed Kurzel
Cinematography by Adam Arkapaw
Film Editing by Christopher Tellefsen
Production Design by Raphael Lacoste and Andy Nicholson
Michael Fassbender                      ---      Cal Lynch / Aguilar
Marion Cotillard                             ---      Sofia
Jeremy Irons                                   ---      Rikkin
Brendan Gleeson                            ---      Joseph Lynch
Charlotte Rampling                       ---      Ellen Kaye
Michael Kenneth Williams          ---      Moussa
Denis Ménochet                              ---      McGowan
Ariane Labed                                   ---      Maria
Khalid Abdalla                                 ---      Sultan Muhammad XII
Essie Davis                                       ---      Cal's Mother
Matias Varela                                   ---      Emir
Callum Turner                                 ---      Nathan
Carlos Bardem                                ---      Benedicto
Javier Gutiérrez                             ---      Tomas de Torquemada
Hovik Keuchkerian                       ---      Ojeda
Crystal Clarke                                  ---      Samia
Michelle H. Lin                                ---      Lin
Brian Gleeson                                  ---      Young Joseph
Julio Jordán                                     ---      General Ramirez (as Julio Jordan)
Rufus Wright                                   ---      Alex
Angus Brown                                   ---      Young Cal
Kemaal Deen-Ellis                         ---      Prince Ahmed
Aaron Monaghan                            ---      Gilles
Thomas Camilleri                           ---      King Ferdinand
Marysia S. Peres                             ---      Queen Isabella
James Sobol Kelly                          ---      Father Raymond
Gabriel Andreu                               ---      Christopher Columbus

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