Unsuccessful Video Game Movies
While comic books have been fully accepted as one of the mainstays of blockbuster filmmaking (2016 will see at least six major comic book movies released), video games have yet to see the same success. Whether it be the interchangeable Resident Evil films, either attempts at a Hitman movie, or the somewhat bland Prince of Persia film (hopefully not a precursor for Assassin’s Creed‘s success), video games can not seem to catch a break. It seems strange, in the age when established brands and name-recognition mean everything, video game movies have yet to breakthrough as a cinematic success.
2016 looks to be the year to try and break the video game movie curse. Three major films will be released this year, and no, we’re not going to count The Angry Birds Movie. In addition to April’s Ratchet and Clank, video game fans are looking to Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed to fix the world so broken by the likes of Uwe Boll. With two trailers out, the anticipation for Warcraft is somewhat conflicted, all eyes are on Assassin’s Creed to be the monster hit fans of the medium are looking for.
An Amazing Trailer
Reuniting the team behind 2015’s Macbeth adaptation, Assassin’s Creed will be directed by Justin Kurzel and stars Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. The trailer itself is great and is what we have come to expect from a science fiction blockbuster. The first half of the trailer is set in modern day, we see Fassbender’s character used for scientific experiments while Cotillard rattles off some exposition. There was a question as to whether the marketing would keep the modern day story line a secret or not (the marketing for the original Assassin’s Creed only displayed the ancient middle-eastern story, the modern day Animus storyline was not revealed until the game was released), and it is probably smart for them to explain the movie’s premise to general audiences beforehand.
The second half of the trailer (set to the drop of Kanye West’s “I Am A God”) kicks in the action, and again, it looks great. The set pieces look to be what we would expect from an Assassin’s Creed movie. On the conflict side, we see our assassin fighting with both swords and his signature hidden blades. On the movement side, we see Fassbender jumping off of ridiculously high viewpoints and participating in the series-defining parkour from the games. The production design is very reminiscent to Kurzel’s Macbeth, and it looks like he can handle himself as a competent action director. One can only hope that the script is as good as the action looks here.
A Faithful ‘Assassin’s Creed’ Adaptation?
Where you fall on the hype scale may depend on your connection to the game series. Though i did not continue playing the games through its yearly releases, the two original Assassin’s Creed games are amazing and I loved living in that world. When I watch this trailer, I see a faithful adaptation to the game, while also looking to be an exciting movie. Seeing others’ respond to the trailer, it seems as though if you don’t already have a built-in connection to the universe the trailer might not be as hype-inducing as it is for fans.
This gives me some insight as to why I’m not feeling the love for Warcraft. I think the trailers are pretty mediocre, although I’m optimistic for a good fantasy movie. Perhaps if you are a fan of the Warcraft universe, you are able to project what you know is possible into the trailer at hand. That’s what I was doing with the Assassin’s Creed trailer, though it is just exposition and action, I know the strong storytelling that is possible because of my experience with the games, and I can fill in the cracks to see what the movie is capable of.
If any year can break the video game movie slump, it is 2016. If these huge productions featuring stellar casts can’t produce a hit, I’m not sure anything can.
Warcraft is coming out next month, and Assassin’s Creed will be released on December 21, 2016, here’s hoping fans can get the video game adaptation they have been waiting for.