When it comes to movies, I'm like a small animal. If it's bright and shiny and even potentially interesting, I'm sticking my hand down the traphole to grab it. My particular brand of bright and shiny (no surprise here) is science fiction and fantasy. So really any SF/F movie that comes out, no matter how terrible it is likely to be, yeah, I'm going to stick my hand down the hole.
Thus my recent viewing of Assassin's Creed.
It was, as expected, a somewhat painful hybrid of references gamers would get and tried and true Hollywood formulas that didn't really add up to a great movie. But that's the fun part about bad movies--you get to make up how they would have been better.
In this case, a couple things were wrong. First, the main character is secretly brought back from a death sentence to have his genetic memories mined in a shadowy organization's search for clues about the local of a mythical artifact. This is an awesome idea. The main character's motivation for helping them, however, was less than awesome: he just kinda wanted to escape the shadowy organization's headquarters, but since they had him trapped, he had to do what they wanted. About fifteen minutes later he's lived through some genetic memories of being a very adept assassin and escape artist, and proven he can still use those skills in the real world. But--doesn't try to escape. And continues not really trying to escape as he levels up and they abuse him. So, motivation sucked on that one.
What would have made it cool? If they'd tied the eventual why-did-my-dad-kill-my-mom plotline in sooner, and held that out as a carrot for him to discover via genetic memory, maybe with him sneaking in after hours to use the giant video game machine where he relives these memories. Or if there was a plausible love (instead of just sex) interest. Or a deeper secret his genetic ancestor was trying to pass him. Eventually, he gets on board with the organization's stated (but not true) goals for personal reasons--but there's a hot minute there where he's just kind of doing what the plot needs him to.
The ending was not great either. You could see it coming a mile off, which is okay in action movies sometimes--it's more about how badassedly-awesome they make that predictable ending than the fact that the hero wins. Assassin's Creed, however, didn't really try for awesomeness at all: hero just kinda walks in and takes what he wants, then leaves. This after the best parts of the movie have undeniably been the fast-paced action scenes set in his genetic past. The end was the time when we were supposed to see him use all his genetically-learned assassin skills in the present day. Instead, he does a couple things to a person that might indicate a sequel--but without making us love this one enough, the sequel promise kinda falls flat.
To be fair, the movie was bright and shiny: the afore-mentioned genetic-flashback action scenes were both beautiful and exciting, and taken together made a cool novella-length story set in 16th century Spain. If that had been the whole movie, I would have been pretty happy.
It wasn't, but it still wasn't a waste of my 11.99$, because like a badger that stuck its hand down a hole to get something shiny and ended up stuck a little bit, I think I learned something.
And, I got to look at a shiny SF thing, which is its own reward.
 Like, I am told, the constant climbing of handy structures, the long shots of birds flying over cities, and the Christopher Columbus cameo.
 This is also actor Michael Fassbender, who plays Magento in the X-Men movies, and I know it's irrational, but I kept being like Just Magneto them, dummy.
You've reached the electronic home of author Levi Jacobs. Cleverly hidden in this site are stories I've written, news about things I've published, excerpts from my novels, and dark secrets about my other life as an itinerant fruit salesman. Enjoy!
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