Let’s be honest, video games and the silver screen haven’t exactly enjoyed the best marriage in the past. With the likes of ‘Super Mario Bros’, the ‘Resident Evil’ franchise, ‘Hitman’ and ‘Prince of Persia’, the genre has become notorious for critical or box office bombs, and it’s beginning to tell even with the industry’s marketing of these projects. ‘Ratchet & Clank’, a staple series for Sony’s Playstation since 2002, had its cinematic debut just a couple of weeks ago, but it’s unlikely that would have registered with most people considering the astonishing lack of marketing it had, and so the genre suffers another critical and commercial blow. When even Hollywood can’t be bothered to sell your stories, you know your genre is in serious trouble.
But is there a possible Renaissance drawing near? On 30th May, the long-running online fantasy franchise ‘Warcraft’ will be brought to life in cinemas around the world, a potential epic that has seen a significant marketing push. In April, Academy Award-winner Alicia Vikander was officially announced to star as the iconic Lara Croft in a new adaptation of the ‘Tomb Raider’ series, a casting that was the subject of widespread media attention with Star Wars breakout Daisy Ridley also in the running. Now, 20th Century Fox has released the official trailer for its hugely-anticipated adaptation of ‘Assassin’s Creed’, the wildly successful action-adventure game, and with over a million YouTube views in less than twelve hours, video games in film may have just found that all-important extra life.
Starring Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Irons, the film appears to be a largely faithful interpretation of the series’ premise. Fassbender seems perfectly cast in the lead role of Callum Lynch, a criminal who escapes execution with the help of a mysterious organisation, so that they can make him ‘relive’ the memories of his Assassin ancestor during the Spanish Inquisition through ‘the Animus Project’. Few actresses convey sharp intelligence and depth as deftly as Marion Cotillard, and when has Jeremy Irons ever not been a reliable choice as a villain, in what we can only assume at this point is indeed the film’s antagonist. The visuals immediately stand out, its smoky sweeping shots of cities centuries’ past, combined with the steely sharpness of its present-day sequences, set a clear tone and emphasise a unique atmosphere, and that’s not even including the acrobatic action on display. Although, how the film is going to rationalize Fassbender’s ability to jump off of the highest towers in the city and survive landing in conveniently located haystacks is anyone’s guess.
Set throughout a fictionalized history of real-world events, the franchise follows the war fought in the shadows between the Assassin Order and the Templars, the former pursuing peace through freedom and the latter set upon peace through control. The film is set to be released on 21st December.
You can check out the trailer below.