Glad to see you guys again. So, I had the day off from work on December 26th. I went to a morning showing of Assassin's Creed and it was a lot of fun. Like the rest of my film reviews, this one is going to include the strengths and weaknesses of the subject. This is my first review about a video game film. Let's check it out.
Overall, I really enjoyed Assassin's Creed. Most video game movies are terrible, but this one is actually pretty good. It's very much like the game series. Stylistically, the movement, action, story, and environment is very characteristic of the Assassin's Creed series. It takes place in a different setting though. Part of the story takes place during the modern era. Certain scenes take place during the Spanish Inquisition. Basically, the series and this movie revolves around a feud between the assassin's and knight templars. Keep in mind, the templars are corrupt and power hungry antagonists in the series. It has high paced action scenes that are very exciting. The environment in 15th century Spain is quite interesting and expansive. It almost looks like the open world environments from the video games. Michael Fassbender is excellent as the lead character. He plays both Callum from our modern time period and the assassin named Aguilar who lived during the Spanish Inquisition. I'm rarely disappointed with Michael Fassbender's performances. Even though Assassin's Creed is based on a video game series, Fassbender still took the part seriously. He fits roguish roles very well and it totally worked in this movie. Fassbender brings out the rough and damaged elements from his characters, but he also comes across as redeemable in other ways. There are weapons galore in this film. Assassin's and templars break out a wide variety of weapons and engage in highly styzlied combat. Again, the video game fans should appreciate that part. Several of the weapons come straight from the game series, including the signature gauntlet switch blades. Marion Cotillard plays one of the antagonists named Sophia Rikkin. She's a knight templar and scientist who wants to learn more about Aguilar and a valuable relic he possessed called the Apple of Eden. Rikkin is downright cold and calculating, but her performance works quite well for the part. She's not completely evil either. Basically, she wants to make the world a better place by eliminating violence. It sounds good, although her methods are questionable. She may seem bland to an audience, but I don't think the part would be effective any other way. This movie is also open ended to pave the way for sequels.
Assassin's Creed has some shortcomings too. I have to admit, this film will primarily appeal to people who played the video game series. Some fans of action movies will probably like it as well. I doubt anyone else will understand the content. The plot seems like total nonsense if you're not familiar with the Assassin's Creed games. Rikkin uses a new form of technology on Callum called the Animus. It was designed to bring out memories from deceased ancestors through the current subject's DNA. Yes, it sounds confusing and utterly preposterous. However, that's also one of the elements in the game series. The Apple of Eden might also seem like a bunch of nonsense. It contains mankind's free will of which the templars want to destroy. After all, free will can lead to violence. Apparently, a peaceful world will be devoid of free will. Sounds terrible. Other characters are not very impressive. Sophia Rikkin's father, Alan, is played by Jeremy Irons. His character is dull and doesn't make a very strong lead antagonist. I think Jeremy Irons is an exceptional actor, but his performance and the overall writing just doesn't work in Assassin's Creed. Most of the supporting characters have little or no development. In a way, Assassin's Creed has the problem we see in a lot of superhero films. The movie has a lot of characters and they don't have a chance to stand out. The flashbacks are also much stronger than the present days scenes. Aguilar is a more impressive character and the action scenes in 15th century Spain are incredible. So, the past events overshadow the current timeline. I wasn't fond of the conclusion either. It didn't feel like a real ending. I guess it's supposed to lead into other films. There are some holes in the plot too. Callum could have easily killed Sophia Rikkin at the end, but he allows her to live for no particular reason. Naturally, she vows to plot revenge against him and the other assassin's. I assume she was kept alive to serve as the main antagonist in future movies. Some people might say Assassin's Creed has too much action and very little substance in the plot. That's somewhat true, but it makes sense for a video game film.
Overall, I believe Assassin's Creed is a good action movie. The story is actually pretty solid, but it will seem very confusing for viewers who are not familiar with the franchise. This is a must see for hardcore gamers. Leave a comment if you want to say anything about this review. This should be my last post of the year, but fear not. I'm going to have plenty of blog posts during 2017. Have fun and happy New Year!
Welcome back and congratulations for surviving 2016! I place a heavy emphasis on post-apocalyptic and dystopian themes in my writing. Movies can be a helpful tool for authors like me. Cinema is a great resource for themes, character archetypes, world building, mood, etc. I want to look back at this year's apocalyptic cinema. Many of these movies count as post-apocalyptic, but some of the films don't hit the apocalyptic theme until the end. Let's take a look at our resources.
The 5th Wave is a teen science fiction movie about an alien apocalypse. It was based on the book of the same name. Overall, this film was panned by critics. I can't give positive or negative remarks about The 5th Wave because I haven't seen it yet. Here's what I can tell you. The apocalyptic genre is still reaching out to teenagers. We might also see a growing popularity in alien apocalypse films again. Several years ago, those types of movies were popular and it will be interesting to see if we'll see more of the genre. This movie was taken from the literary world and it's pretty cool from an author's viewpoint. Hopefully, similar films will be much better.
How many of you remember Pride and Prejudice and Zombies? This film is a comedic twist on zombie apocalypse films. I guess you could also say it's a satire or a parody of the original Pride and Prejudice novel. Honestly, this movie is pretty stupid, but it's also very funny. You don't have to like post-apocalyptic movies to enjoy this film. Again, the title was a book first. Maybe we're going to see some themes in 2016. It has a lot of action scenes and seemed quite unique for a zombie apocalypse movie.
10 Cloverfield Lane might not be a true apocalyptic film, but I feel certain mankind is in big trouble. Most of the movie focuses on people who are trapped in a house with a crazed maniac. After a while, the audience realizes something is going terribly wrong outside of the house too. Turn away if you don't want to read spoilers. The movie includes killer aliens and some type of virus or atomic source that's infecting people. It's totally different than the first Cloverfield movie. 10 Cloverfield Lanes actually received very good reviews from critics.
Allegiant is a continuation of the Divergent series. In many ways, the Divergent series is a typical dystopia. Mankind is living in a post-apocalyptic setting under totalitarian control. A huge uprising is coming to a head and then we'll see the results when the final movie opens in theaters. Allegiant was based on the book of the same name. Once again, we're seeing post-apocalyptic films that were originally novels. This movie wasn't received very well by critics. I can't really get into the Divergent series. The first one was probably better and more interesting than any of the sequels. I'll give it credit for having decent visual effects and world building. Most of these post-apocalyptic films have a female protagonist. Let's see if the trend continues.
Batman V Superman doesn't have an apocalyptic theme until the end. Spoiler alert! Lex Luthor creates a monster called Doomsday who could destroy the earth. But most of the film is about a feud between Batman and Superman. Honestly, I can't stand this movie. I think it's one of the worst superhero films. Many superhero fans agree with me. It's dark, confusing, and squishes too many comic plots together. Batman is pretty much a sadist and then he inexplicably has a change of heart near the end. Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman unite to defeat Doomsday. Victory comes with a great price, but mankind survives. Naturally, the film received a lot of negative reviews. I hope future DC movies will be much better.
X-Men: Apocalypse didn't have great reviews, but I actually thought it was excellent. It's just not very faithful to the comics. As a film, it's still pretty good. Most X-Men installments emphasize the end of the world, but this one took it up a notch. It's seriously an apocalyptic movie. The main antagonist is a very powerful mutant named Apocalypse who wants to purify the world with his Four Horsemen. It has a really interesting plot, unique characters, and plenty of action. As a post-apocalyptic author, I felt very satisfied with this movie. Criticize me if you want, but I thought it was much better than Days of Future Past.
Here's another alien apocalypse. Indepedence Day: Resurgence was a lackluster sequel to the original movie. It has a big emphasis on action and creature effects. So, it's somewhat more like the Alien movies with Sigourney Weaver. This film also seems to have a lot of video game elements. Unlike the first Independence Day film, this one was largely despised by critics and film goers alike. I might be one of the few people who enjoyed this film. Keep in mind, I'm not saying it was very good. It just has a lot of entertainment value.
Ghostbusters is another film that doesn't become apocalyptic until the end. I think it counts. Ghosts are going to overun the world and wreak havok. Unless the Ghostbusters win, it won't end well for the living. This film is a comedy with a main cast of female leads. I still haven't seen this movie, but it was considered a box office flop. It probably didn't stand up very well to the original movies. Remakes and sequels are another trend I'm noticing in apocalyptic cinema. Unfortunately, it might not be a good thing.
Believe it or not, Suicide Squad becomes increasingly apocalyptic throughout the story. I'm going to warn you about spoilers again. The government sends a group of super villains on a suicide mission to defeat ancient forces. Two witches awake from a long slumber and realize human beings don't worship them anymore. Therefore, mankind must be destroyed. The movie focuses more on the characters and action instead of a deep plot. Even though Suicide Squad wasn't great, I thought it was a fun action movie with awesome characters. It's very different than most superhero films. Like many of the movies on this list, it wasn't received well by critics.
Doctor Strange is largely a fantasy movie, but it hits an apocalyptic theme at the end. That's just how it works. It's always the end of the world in superhero films. But don't worry because Doctor Strange rescues us. Hurray! It's one of the most unique movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Doctor Strange had really high reviews. Truthfully, I liked this movie, but it still wasn't my favorite Marvel film. I thought it had a strong protagonist, interesting concepts, fabulous visual effects, and new ideas in the Marvel franchise. However, it seemed pretty slow at times, I didn't like the villains very much, and the story needed more development at the end. I would still say it's the best film on this list.
So, many of these movies aren't truly post-apocalyptic, but they still cover our fear about the end of days. I can tell post-apocalyptic is very popular. In fact, the trend exploded after The Hunger Games was released several years ago. We saw many blockbusters through the years, including Mad Max: Fury Road, Dawn of the Dead, The Book of Eli, Divergent, World War Z, The Maze Runner, Snowpiercer, I Am Legend, and more. Most of the apocalyptic movies in 2016 were very disappointing. Maybe the concept of post-apocalyptic fiction is running dry. I can't really identify the problem. Let's keep one thing in mind. Virtually all of the post-apocalyptic films in 2o16 were based on novels or comic books, created as sequels for a franchise, or remakes. That might be the issue. Many sequels are disappointing. Remakes also tend to be lackluster. Sometimes, the books are better than the movies. If we're going to see quality post-apocalyptic films, I think people need to create original works. The world could end in many different ways. Directors and screen writers have plenty of choices if they want to make more post-apocalyptic films. Not that I'm trying to scare you or anything. I'm still glad to see the genre thriving. Post-Apocalyptic is still very popular and I hope 2017 will be an interesting year. Let's see what happens. Did I leave anything off the list? Leave a comment and let me know. I would love to see what you guys think about post-apocalyptic cinema in 2016. Be safe and have a good weekend.