The first time I had ever heard of Assassin’s Creed was during Christmas vacation several years back. I had taken my three grandsons to the Mutter Museum in Center City Philadelphia. Granny was trying to impart some knowledge into her grandsons, but they had other ideas. While we visited the many display cases that held a multitude of medical and biological oddities, I constantly found myself alone and the boys missing. Where the heck were they?
The other visitors in the museum that day would constantly point towards one of the hallways and smirk whenever they heard me calling out for the boys. It took several round-ups before I figured out that they were playing their own version of Assassin’s Creed. So, what exactly is Assassin’s Creed and did the game successfully transfer to film?
Assassin’s Creed the Game
Assassin’s Creed is a video game that can be played on Mac, PC, Xbox 360, and Play Station 3 and 4. It was developed by Ubisoft Montreal. The basis of the game is that the players are assassins and they stalk their prey. The assassin is a warrior shrouded in secrecy and feared for his or her ruthlessness. The action takes place in richly detailed and historically accurate environments that shape events during pivotal moments in history.
The player gets to explore the Holy Land during the 12th century. The battles that take place are between two ancient secret societies: The Assassins and the Knights Templar. While the game is presented through protagonist Desmond Miles, the bulk of the game is through his memories of ancestors like Altair ibn-La’Ahad through a device called the Animus. There are at least fifteen versions of the game that take the player to different places and times.
Assassin’s Creed the Film
Assassin’s Creed is the 2016 action film that is based on the video game. Even though I had never played the game, I knew enough, thanks to that museum trip, to see the movie with two of the grandsons: Josh and Nathan. The film is directed by Justin Kurzel and stars Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson, Charlotte Rampling and Michael K. Williams.
The film features an original story that expands on the events of the Spanish Inquisition, but takes place in the modern world when a convicted criminal Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender) is rescued from an execution via lethal injections by the head scientist, Dr. Sophia Rikkin (Marion Cotillard), of Abstergo Industries. It isn’t long before Callum learns the reason for his rescue. Alan Rikkin (Jeremy Irons) is a member of the Templar Order and he is trying to find the mythical Apple of Eden, a device that will give the Templars power to take away mankind’s free will. Alan and his daughter have built a time machine of sorts that connects Callum with his ancestor Aquilar de Nerha, a member of the secret order of assassins sworn to keep the whereabouts of the Apple’s location a secret.
There are other prisoners at the Rikkin facility and they are also descendants of assassins. There are many trips into the past via the Animus machine and we get to see why it was so important for Callum/Aquilar to protect the Sultan Muhammad XII and his son. When the final resting place of the Apple of Eden is discovered, Callum and the remaining assassins must break free and save the world
My grandsons grew up playing Assassin’s Creed, and when the film came out, I wanted to go with them to see if the film lived up to the game. Although my husband wasn’t impressed with the film, the boys and I loved it. What’s not to love? Assassin’s Creed has lots of action and a good story.
And any film that has parkour scenes included is always a big hit with me. My grandsons grew up playing Assassin’s Creed on their XBox and PlayStation and, they played Assassin’s Creed that day at the museum. Two of them are now in the military with the third joining after he graduates high school and I’m left wondering if it was all because of the game. Granny gives the film a three star rating.