Super Mario Bros. Resident Evil. Prince Of Persia. Need For Speed. They were all utter gash and everyone knows the common thread between them; video game fans have had it lauded over them for so long – video game to movie adaptations just do not work.
Some absolute nut jobs will try and convince you that the Angelina Jolie-fronted Tomb Raider movies of the early 2000s have their positives, but take a look at Crystal Dynamics rebooted take on Lara Croft and you’ll soon realise what a shallow, misogynistic take on the character Paramount served up.
But with the arrival of the trailer for Assassin’s Creed – the Michael Fassbender-led take on Ubisoft’s mammoth historical/sci-fi franchise – for the first time in a very long time, there’s hope for the video game adaptation; for the near future and beyond.
Ignore the estimated $125m budget and look at the core of the film. There’s a great up and coming director with a truly unique vision in the form of Justin Kurzel pulling the strings, and he’s working with arguably the most sought-after A-list male actor on the planet and the Oscar-winning and always-mesmerising Marion Cotillard for the second time in quick succession after the masterstroke of last year’s Macbeth.
We’ve known this for a long time now though. Even when Alicia Vikander departed to take up a spot in the Bourneverse, most fans held hope. With the arrival of this trailer, it’s really time to get excited. They clearly understand Assassin’s Creed and know what makes it appealing to gamers.
The skinny is that Callum Lynch (Fassbender) is placed into a program with a seemingly shady science technology company where he enters the Animus – a device that allows a person to relive the memories of their ancestors via DNA. In the games it’s a great plot mechanic that serves to drive the story forward in distinct chunks. For the film it offers the perfect way to flick between the action of the Spanish Inquisition and the psychosis of a fragile Lynch.
There are some undoubtedly cheesy-looking moments in the trailer; the moment of Ariane Labed’s Maria pauses in some weird Neo/Spider-man pose is a little on the nose. But Kurzel’s fingerprints are all over it.
The intimate dialogue-heavy scenes between Lynch and Dr Sophie Rikkin (Cotillard) sizzle with that sense of dread that was rife in Kurzel’s breakout Australian drama Snowtown, while the rooftop action and stealthy assassinations are laced with the intensity and swiftness of some of Macbeth’s most visually impressive scenes.
It’s a truly great trailer, and if that leap of faith right at the end doesn’t have you punching the air then you’re clearly not human.
Come the end of the year we could have a genuine contender to break the dreaded game-to-film hoodoo, and if we’re really lucky that Last Of Us adaptation could finally happen. Oh what a sweet nerdy life that would be.