‘Assassin’s Creed’ Will Spend Most of Its Runtime in the Present
In news that may come as a disappointment to fans of the Assassin’s Creed video games, it appears that Justin Kurzel’s big screen adaptation of the series is primarily set in present day. As most fans of the games will tell you, the best, most exciting and immersive stuff happens in the sequences set in the past. But the film could still be good, right? Michael Fassbender certainly thinks so, but he’s kind of paid to think that.
It’s somewhat surprising, considering that 20th Century Fox has been releasing images from the film in sets of two: one from the past, one from the present. That seemed to indicate that there would be a decent 50 / 50 split between time periods, but during IGN’s visit to the set, executive producer Pat Crowley said that the film is set 65 percent in the present, 35 percent in the past.
That’s quite a change from the games on which Assassin’s Creed is based, though it’s not the only difference, as Fassbender‘s protagonist is not one that appears in the original series. The actor plays Callum Lynch, a man who uses a revolutionary genetics technology to access the memories of his ancestor, Aguilar, a 15th century Spanish assassin. Using valuable skills learned in the past, Callum continues his ancestor’s secret war with the Knights Templar in the present.
Even the plot description makes it sound as though the balance between time periods will remain faithful to the game, but Fassbender explains that while they want to honor the source material, some elements had to change due to the nature of filmmaking:
There are certain things that we absolutely want to respect in the game, but we also want to bring new elements to the game [...] This isn’t a video game that we’re making. We’re trying to make a cinematic experience, so there are new things that we have to introduce.
While some fans may balk at the concept, the very nature of adaptations is to, you know, adapt. What works on the page (or in a first-person game) doesn’t always work in a movie. What is important is that they capture the spirit and tone of the series.
Given their great work together on last year’s Macbeth, perhaps we should give Fassbender and director Justin Kurzel the benefit of the doubt on Assassin’s Creed, which hits theaters on December 21.