Five Ways To Make The Assassin's Creed Film Not Suck

by Jeff Marchiafava on Oct 23, 2012 at 01:58 PM

Yesterday, Ubisoft announced it is one step closer to making a film adaptation of Assassin's Creed, thanks to a deal with the film production company New Regency. However, even if it does get made, will it be any better than the average game-to-movie adaptation? Here are five things that can help Ubisoft surpass that incredibly low bar.

#1: Minimize the modern day, sci-fi hocus pocus
The Assassin's Creed games do an amazing job of recreating historical periods, places, and events. The sci-fi elements and mind-control wack-job conspiracy that tie all of these eras together are less compelling. I'm sure Ubisoft and New Regency will be chomping at the bit to spice up Desmond's cyber mind journey with a bunch of flashy CGI effects, but it's an urge that should be avoided at all costs. The Assassin's Creed movie should be grounded in Altaïr's story of becoming a master assassin and the corrupt Templars he must kill. I wouldn't mind if they skipped the modern day stuff altogether.

"Less glowing people and more stabbing, please."

#2: Don't "video game" it up
I appreciate the fact that directors working on adaptations of video games try to include a bit of fan service to players. It's a nice but unnecessary gesture. Players go to these films to see cinematic interpretations of the stories they enjoy – not to see gimmicky attempts to make a film that looks like a video game. Doom's first-person segment was just plain stupid, as was Prince of Persia's "Hey look, the camera is flying around the environment like it's the beginning of a video game level! Isn't that cool?!"

No. It's not. And I don't want to see some stupid callback to the Assassin's Creed games when Altaïr is stabbing dudes in the face.

#3: Cut out the annoying characters
The Assassin's Creed series has a number compelling characters – chief among them, Altaïr and Ezio. It also has its share of annoying secondary characters, which should be politely swept under the rug. Again, I'd look at the present day narrative for characters to cut; I have no love for Desmond, Lucy, or that preachy bore Warren Vidic in the original Assassin's Creed.

However, I'm more concerned with some of the characters in the sequels, which would inevitably be translated to the silver screen if the first movie is successful. Rebecca Crane and Shaun Hastings should be the first characters left on the cutting room floor, unless the film provides an alternate canon in which Desmond flips out and assassinates them for the fun of it.

"Not these characters. Not ever."

#4: Hire good actors
Good actors can't always fix a crappy film adaptation of a video game (i.e. Mark Walberg in Max Payne), but casting some no-talent heartthrob is a surefire way to sink a movie regardless of the script's quality.

Ubisoft has already signed Michael Fassbender as the lead of the movie, which would presumably be Altaïr. I'm not sure how the German-Irish actor plans to pass himself off as a Syrian assassin, but he's a decent actor, so I'm willing to suspend my disbelief. Picking up other quality actors and actresses should be a priority for the filmmakers. That doesn't mean they need to be A-list celebrities, either; I'd take a talented no-name actor over a disinterested Jake Gyllenhaal any day of the week.

#5: Stay Mature
I'm sure Ubisoft and New Regency will be inclined to shoot for a PG-13 rating in order to minimize the risk of making an expensive summer blockbuster. The only problem is that Assassin's Creed is a series about Assassins. Cold-blooded, throat-cutting assassins, who have hidden wrist blades that they frequently jam into peoples' skulls. Trying to make that suitable for a younger audience would be disingenuous to the series, not to mention amoral.

The action in the film should stay true to the series, with swift, brutal sword fights, and unflinching assassinations. If the filmmakers are worried that will alienate the movie's potential audience, it would be best not to make the film at all.

Those are five things I'd like to see from an Assassin's Creed film. What about you? Share your thoughts below.