Tony Black breaks down the first trailer for the Assassin’s Creed movie…
It’s not been a matter of days since my article talking about what we may expect in the upcoming Assassin’s Creed movie adaptation, and as if they heard our collective cries for more detail, 20th Century Fox only went and released a trailer today! The reaction to the first footage of Justin Kurzel’s film has been mixed; someone people saw a lot of tonal similarities to the Ubisoft games, and indeed several moments which suggested the creative team understood the source material; others perhaps were put off by the jarring use of Kanye West shouting that he’s God all over the action.
In any case, the Assassin’s Creed trailer has set tongues wagging about what we may expect come it’s Christmas release date, so handily we’ve broken down all the juicy details for you to chew on…
CALLUM & SOPHIA
The first point we meet Michael Fassbender’s modern day protagonist, Callum Lynch, he’s strapped to a bed in a very white-grey hued futuristic building—much like Desmond Miles in the 2007 Assassin;s Creed game—being informed by Marion Cotillard’s calm scientist that he was executed at 6pm, and that he no longer exists. It appears Abstergo Industries faked his death, and though we know Callum apparently killed someone, was he framed, or is he really a murderer? We see him across the trailer capable of some serious martial arts, training it seems in Abstergo with bows & arrows, so will he be skilled up through his trips back into the past?
Cotillard plays Sophia (or Sofia) Rikken, a scientist within Abstergo who according to a hugely informative (and a bit spoilery) Collider article claims is ‘looking to eradicate violence within society’. Interesting way to go about it, for sure. Quite what her motives and loyalties will end up being aren’t hinted at here – will she end up helping Callum, as Lucy Stillman helped Desmond in the games?
We later see Callum wandering through the Abstergo facility around what look a lot like the eerie, twisted botanical gardens we see inside Abstergo facilities in the games, presumably representing the ‘Eden’ they’re looking for, while asking if he’s in prison, but Sophia claims it’s no prison, and confirms the Animus is definitely being used in the movie.
We also see the Abstergo symbol emblazoned on a wall, signifying the Templar origins of this nebulous group. Abstergo labs show a range of assassin weapons from different ages inside glass cages, all while Jeremy Irons’ mysterious Alan Rikken towers above.
THE GRAND MASTER?
Irons, in all likelihood, will serve as the villain of the piece, certainly in the modern day; supposedly the chief architect behind Abstergo, and the father of Cotillard’s Sophia, we see him only briefly but given Irons’ stature we can be sure he has a major role – is he the modern day Grand Master of the Templar Order, hiding behind the conglomerate front?
He’s also believed to be looking for the ‘Artifact’, presumably a time-spanning MacGuffin along the lines of a Piece of Eden from the games. But what is his end game? Will it match the Templar plans from the game series?
As Sophia handily explains the concept of how Callum will access his dead ancestor’s memories, we see Callum being strapped into the Animus as classic Assassin wrist blades shoot out. It should be noted, as they place him inside the Animus, he does not look a happy bunny and much like Desmond in the first game, it very much appears at least at the beginning Callum isn’t travelling into his genetic memory of his own free will.
Most excitingly, the Animus appears to have been totally redesigned for the movie as a gigantic, arm-like rotating machine, capable of lifting and flinging Callum into the air, very different from the staid bed of the games – indeed Ubisoft are apparently so impressed by it they plan to work it into future Assassin’s Creed games. Does the Animus have more of an AI element than the games, or is it very much controlled by a human hand?
NOBODY EXPECTS THE…
…Spanish Inquisition, it turns out, confirming the rumours the setting would be 15th century Spain. Eagles soar over, presumably, Madrid circa 1491 and we get our first glimpse of Fassbender’s dual role, Callum’s ancestor, Aguilar de Nerha. Kunzel’s camera at one point swoops through Spanish troops in the middle of an all out war – a war between Assassins and Templars perhaps?
We glimpse other characters in this historical period – a lithe young woman who appears to be a fellow Assassin in Aguilar’s troop; plus a powerful, bald Inquisition figure – possibly the legendary Torquemada, and almost certainly a Templar big kahuna. Will this be the major historical antagonist Aguilar goes up against?
This is who Fassbender and the film will likely be remembered for: Aguilar. Hooded, covered in cool tattoos, it very much looks like he’s an established Assassin given how he executes all kinds of moves and kills in the footage we see – silent leaps, rooftop chases, hidden blades, and wonderfully we see him Eagle drop from a parapet atop a Spanish tower, though apparently he won’t be landing in any hay bales – maybe the only mistake the movie will make!
We get no real flavour from this first trailer who Aguilar is in terms of character – right now he’s just badass, and that’s all we really need to know.
We can expect a second, bigger trailer probably around the Autumn for Assassin’s Creed but—trailer music aside—this has whetted the appetite nicely for what many are wondering could be the first truly great video game to movie adaptation.
What did you think of the trailer? Let us know!
Tony Black is a freelance film/TV writer & podcaster & would love you to follow him on Twitter.
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