Rewrite: Assassin’s Creed

So you’re working in a visual medium and NOT ONCE do you edit a match cut between Assassin Fassbender and Present Day Fassbender to show they’re the same person? Instead you rely on a whole heap of exposition? I know you’re on the big Hollywood money now Mr Kurzel but go back to your notes from Introduction to Filmmaking and read up on how.

Adapting a video game to the big screen is perhaps excusable/understand, but just making a plain old bad movie, with rookie mistakes? Why not just light your money on fire and achieve the same result as this film. It’d be a better spectacle, too.

A few better moves when it came to editing and the screenplay would’ve been interesting. Let’s have a look. Here’s the plot to the actual movie if you need a refresher.

Open on Callum in jail cell.

Because everything before this SUCKED and WASN’T NECESSARY.

The walls are filled with gruesome pictures.

PRIEST: Samurai, pirates, native Americans…

CAL: I keep having dreams, Father. I’m all these different people, but I’m always fighting for something good. To protect something, or save something. Instead I’m rotting here, doing no good for no one.

PRIEST: That’s because there is only one true saviour, my son.

CAL: Oh? Well why didn’t he save those girls? Why didn’t he kill the pimp?

So pretty quickly we’ve established:

  1. Cal is a good dude, in as much as killing a pimp is a good dude move. This is important because the audience is now rooting for him, instead of not caring and being annoyed/actively against him.
  2. Cal wants to do good. He has what’s called in the industry a MOTIVATION. This makes him active for the rest of the movie, instead of reactionary. It also makes him easily to manipulate later.
  3. There is some FORESHADOWING that Cal might have a connection to historical people. The idea is therefore easier for audiences to understand and accept when it becomes the CENTRAL BLOODY CONCEIT of the movie in a bit.

Cal gets lethal injection.

This was the most disturbing part of the whole film, and that’s saying something given all the blood and stabbing.

MATCH BLOODY CUT

to beardy assassin Cal.

It’s the assault on the big castle thing whatever it’s called.

Blow me down if we’re not into some cool action sequences almost instantly, instead of waiting HALF A BLOODY HOUR until something interesting happens in the actual film.

This is good. We’re now interested because things are exploding on screen, and our heroes look cool and likeable. We’re am prepared to give this movie a chance. We’re not actively hating this movie and ourselves for still being in the theatre.

Cal is surprised and isn’t sure what he’s doing but manages to kill a Templar. Then Moussa, Maria and Lin show up, kill a bunch of Templars to protect fumbling Cal/look cool.

Firstly, I’m pretty certain NOT ONCE was her name mentioned as Maria. I think maybe Moussa did introduce himself, but I can’t remember the name Moussa. Lin doesn’t speak at all. I had to look their names up on the internet. Not a good sign. Anyway it’s Omar, Past Assassin Chick and Present Day Assasin chick from the movies.

Now a GOOD MOVE is just giving Michael K Williams a lot more roles. That would go a long way to improving a lot of movies. But since we’re paying these damn actors, let’s have them actually do something. Otherwise it’s just more money on that bonfire.

MOUSSA: We have to get the Apple, Aguilar.

CAL: What?

MOUSSA: The Apple of Eden. It’s in the temple, and I don’t think it’s going to last long. We need to hide it.

This shows how wise Moussa is. He is in charge and knows things.

We like and trust him.

We don’t like a guy who’s first introduced telling Cal to kill himself by jumping out a window, who talks a bunch of cryptic BS to Cal in the cafeteria, who does nothing interesting, and who Cal also cares little for.

That’s not even filmmaking, that’s just understanding human social interactions. But then, not Hollywood’s strong point.

They do a bunch of cool parkour. Cal retrieves the Apple.

The Black Knight turns up.

Who knew the bad guy’s name was Ojeda? Not me.

It’s important the Black Knight is wearing a hood at this stage.

The trio tries to fight him but he’s too powerful. They run, leap off a high thing. Cal doesn’t want to do it, freaks out, does it anyway, shocks himself back to

MATCH CUT

the present. He is on a hospital bed.

What a rush! We’re excited! But we’re also tired and giddy! We don’t know what’s happening!!!!

NOW is the time for an explanation. Now is time for exposition.

But not heaps.

Dr Rikkin: Glad you’re awake Cal. Sorry we couldn’t save you from that whole death penalty thing, but the Templars had you pretty locked down.

Cal: Who? What?

Dr Rikkin: Let me explain.

Cal: I’m hungry.

Why do they repeat that dumbass line three times?

They go to a room with a bunch of photographs showing Cal and tracking back to Aguilar.

Dr Rikkin: Since the beginning of history, the Assassins have been at war with the Templars. The Templars have been searching for something called –

Cal sees a picture.

Cal: The Apple of Eden.

Dr Rikkin smiles like a cat who got the cream.

Dr Rikkin: Yes. It holds the power of humanities free will. The Templars believe with it, they can eliminate aggression in humans, leading us into a golden age. The Assasins are trying to prevent them from finding it. The problem is, it was lost, centuries ago.

Cal: I’ve seen it. In my dreams.

Dr Rikkin: They’re not dreams Cal. They’re memories. Your ancestor was Aguilar de Nerha, an assassin during the Spanish Inquisition. He was the last person known to possess the Apple.

CUT

to the Animus room.

In this version, the Animus machine looks like one of those water pods people go to float and meditate in, because no one gives a flying fart about watching present day Fassbender jump around on one of Doctor Octopus’ arms, shirtless or otherwise.

I guess these pods are a little too like The Matrix, but that was a good film instead of this pile of poo, and anything that gets me closer to watching a good film is fine by me.

Dr Rikkin: I invented this. Pretty sick, right?  I call it the Animus. It lets you relive your ancestor’s memories. We’re hoping you can lead us to the Apple, Cal.

Blow me down a second time if all the exposition is covered in under five minutes, way better than the 3/4 of the running time the movie seems to spend on it.

Also, Cal is keen to help. He thinks he’s working for the assassins. He wants to do good, remember? He told that priest he is a saviour of people.

It makes absolutely no sense to force Cal into working for Abstergo. The contrivance of convincing him is such a waste of time and energy. Just trick him. That way we can support Cal doing cool assassin stuff, which keeps us on board with the movie, instead of hating everything and wanting to leave.

Cal lies down in the tank

MATCH CUT

to Cal on the run again. The Black Knight catches up to them, they have a big fight. Cal drops the Apple unfortunately, then has to make a choice between saving the life of Maria or regaining the Apple. He chooses Maria, the Black Knight gets the apple.

Also Lin dies.

Sorry Lin.

MATCH CUT

Cal wakes up back in the pod. Moussa and Maria are also in pods! So is Lin, but some guards lead her away.

Cal and Maria and Moussa go and hang out. They play basketball maybe. Moussa and Maria are really good at doing parkour off the walls and stuff. They run rings around Cal.

This is fun! We’re enjoying the characters we like having fun!

Cal: Looks like you have some of your ancestors blood in you!

Maria: Maybe. The more you use the Animus though Cal, the more you learn from your ancestors.

Stuff the “bleeding effect” science jargon, stuff the visions, stuff Fassbender training in his dimly lit bedroom. We just VISUALLY experienced modern day people being assassin-y and got a simple explanation for it.

They eat lunch.

Cal: What happened to Lin? What happens when you die in the Animus?

Maria: Once they can’t get anything out of your ancestor’s memories anymore, Abstergo doesn’t need you. They let you go back to your life I guess.

Moussa frowns. He isn’t so sure. There is ominous music.

Things are not as they seem. We’re interested in the present day plot line now thanks to this tantalising mystery, instead of being bored and annoyed every time we come back here. But we don’t want to do it, so back to some assassin stuff.

A guard appears.

GUARD: We need you back in the Animus.

MOUSSA: We’re eating.

The guard slams his fist on the table.

GUARD: The doctor says now.

Hmmmmm this guy is a bit of a jerk. He appears and its immediately set up so we don’t like him. He is a STRONG CHARACTER if not particularly deep or nuanced.

We’ve already paid to come and see Assassins Creed, so we’re not the brightest audience. But we don’t need to be. Bad guys are bad and that’s enough. Just get on with it.

They go back in the pods.

They know where the Apple is and have to Ocean’s 11 a complicated plan full of parkour and assassinations to get it back.

This was always the most interesting part of the first few games for me, and why the later ones fell away. Each assassination attempt was a carefully structured experience. Sure you could go in there sword waving, but it was better to collect some info, blend in, and the satisfaction you felt by getting the guy at his weakest moment was worth it while you were hauling ass back to your hideout.

I want to experience a highly structured and well executed version of that.

They witness the Templars mind controlling some people with the Apple.

Yep, okay, definitely bad, definitely don’t want that happening. We want Cal and Co. to succeed.

The plan is fun and visually exciting and they get the Apple back. They put it in a secret vault in a castle – the same castle the Abstergo Lab is built in! But then the Black Knight reveals himself to be the ancestor of that Guard who is always being a dick.

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT! False dawn. Cal has been working for the bad guys the whole time! Now they know where the apple is! It’s right under their noses, eliminating the need for a tacked on change of location!

Where before only the past was really under threat and so we were mostly invested in that, now that threat has been seamlessly transferred to the present day, and we’re invested in what happens next.

Present day Cal, Moussa and Maria leap out of Animus’s. Fortunately their assassin skills have transferred to present day. They defeat the Abstergo guards including the Black Knight.

Fassbender can take his shirt off here is you really need him to. (You don’t).

They retrieve the Apple, escape the facility. Dr Rikkin vows to find them.

The trio finishes on top of the building.

Maria: What now?

Cal: We continue the Creed.

Get out while the going’s good and boom there’s a sequel available as well.

There’s some gaps to fill, but I’ve already made better moves in a bare bones outline than Michael Lesslie, Adam Cooper and Bill Collage who got paid millions to write this.

Either they’re too lazy or too stupid to make some better moves. Either way, no one involved deserves to be making money to churn out this bollocks.

 

 

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