When Ubisoft announced that an Assassin’s Creed movie adaptation would be produced and released, a lot of diehard fans groaned in contempt across the Internet. It wasn’t because fans weren’t excited that an “Assassin’s Creed” film adaptation was to be released, after all Ubisoft had already created Assassin’s Creed Lineage, which serves a prequel to “Assassin’s Creed II”. It was because of how unimpressive the “Prince of Persia” film had performed at the Box office 6 years earlier in 2010. As the fans didn’t want to see yet another box office failure.
To its credit, the “Prince of Persia” movie wasn’t necessarily a worldwide failure, and while it wasn’t a smash hit with fans or critics either—it did serve its purpose. From the beginning, Jake Gyllenhaal wasn’t a good fit for the movie at all, as Hollywood had become obsessed with integrating Caucasian actors in middle eastern roles. A prominent example of this would be “The Last Airbender”, based on Nickelodeon’s series of the same name. This and the fact that it was produced, and shot in a bizarre location like Morocco didn’t help the projects longevity. “Assassin’s Creed” must prevail where The Prince of Persia fell short if it hopes to reclaim the honor lost to its parent company Ubisoft’s reputation.
Prince of Persia’s failure
The Prince of Persia movie worked with a decent budget of $180 million USD, and was shot in Morocco for almost eight weeks before it was moved to Pinewood studios. Although the movie was produced by Disney, and Jerry Bruckheimer, the studio sought to produce an over-the-top variation of the game’s storyline—in the same skin that Bruckheimer had used for the “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride from Disneyland.
Little to no research was done for the film “Beyond” director Mike Newell’s assistant playing the video games, and giving him “key details” about the storyline. Jordan Mechner the creator of the Prince of Persia series, was too involved in writing the script, to the point that he re-conceived the storyline of the franchise to shift the perspective of non-fans to yield a more interactive experience by the films scenery and lighting. To add to the inclining mayhem, none of the filming were shot in 3-D, nor was it converted into 3-D during the time of post-production before the film premiered in theatres. Essentially what you saw on-screen in the theatre was what the crew filmed—and nothing else.
The PG-13 rating attached to the film sincerely limited what audiences and fans would remember and enjoy. Rather than spend extra money on locations, and parkour performers to give justice to the series and fans, we ended up seeing more backgrounds and special effects in the film production. There were a few gentle chase scenes. However, these were reduced to simple rooftop jumps versus column slides, and daring fights as seen in the video games.
As far as the storyline was concerned, the film was set in 6th century Persia, and pursued what many fans of the game hailed to be a deluded mash-up of the original game’s main plot. Having played all 3 of the original trilogy, plus the in-between game Prince of Persia: Forgotten sands I can tell you it was the same story throughout the length of the film. The movie didn’t fare much better in theatre’s globally once it did release, making a modest $330 million worldwide off of its nearly $200-million-dollar budget. Disney had planned for a “Prince of Persia” sequel film to be released in 2015, but the project fell through due to unforeseen circumstances.
Hollywood has always had a way of over thinking when it comes to adaptations. Whether it is an overzealous director, or a studio that wants to put their benchmark on the film—it never fails. This is why many series creators are brought in as Executive producers, or Executive consultants to maintain the posterity of their creative genius rather than receive a payout.
And in the case of “Dragonball Evolution” Toriyama” was removed from the set after a dispute between himself, and the production team took place. We could even look at Streetfighter Legacy: Chun-li, Dead or Alive, and Tekken as examples. Blueprints are necessary for the foundation of a great project, but when amendments are made, it becomes unstable. Fortunately, Ubisoft has since learned from this mistake, so they are now taking “Assassin’s Creed” more seriously.
“Assassin’s Creed” and its team have learned extremely well from The “Prince of Persia’s” mistakes very quickly, especially by halting the series in 2016 to allow ample time for the movie to drive new anticipation of another entry into the series. Having two writers on board, and keeping the funding in-house with Ubisoft Motion Pictures, New Regency, and being distributed by 20th Century Fox, December 21st is looking very good for the film. And from what we can tell so far, the movie will be the first entry in a trilogy, and while shooting has already wrapped for the movie, a production for the sequel has kicked-off as of May 2016.
Ubisoft decided very early on that characters from the game would not be used, as they wanted to find a character that was fresh, versus using Desmond Miles as the fodder. Using 15th century, Spain as the main setting, the movie plans to span out across many locations, including: Malta, Spain, London, and the United States. Assassin’s Creed will take place in the same timeline as the current series, and has confirmed that we will see dramatic over-the-top stunts and acrobatics like parkour and intricate gadgetry (such as a hidden blade being fashioned from a watch, pen, and knife, for example).
Fans will get to see everything that the main story has to offer as well. From the first civilization, to the Assassin’s den, and even Abstergo industries, we’ll be reliving all of the past and present as the movie is 65% current day and 35% past. Many fans have speculated on seeing familiar faces in the series—including Ezio Auditore—as the game does take place around his timeline. On this subject, Ubisoft has stated that we will see “Flashback moments,” for Assassin’s Creed—which leaves the field open for much more than it sounds. The details of these special sequences haven’t been revealed as of yet. However, it could be thought to include familiar faces from the game entries, or key moments as seen in “Assassin’s Creed Revelations”.
Many of the new weapons and innovations and weapons will be coming from weapons master Tim Wildgoose, who is also a fan of the series. Under his watch, many of the fabled Assassin’s Creed weapons, armor, and costumes will be outfitted with familiar, and redesigned weapons from the series. We do know that many of the characters from previous entries will either have reference or make an appearance in the film.
No matter what direction “Assassin’s Creed” goes in, 20th Century Fox, and Ubisoft seem to have a very clear plan of action with the movie. With over five years being in production, it seems more than likely this is just what the game series, and Ubisoft needed to get out of the hole that The Prince of Persia placed them in. It’s quite understandable why skepticism would be at the forefront of fans minds, as comic and game based movies don’t often work out at all. Nevertheless, “Assassin’s Creed” being handled by Ubisoft and 20th Century Fox could break the curse. We’ll just have to wait until December 21st to find out.
With that said, what do you think about the “Assassin’s Creed” movie so far? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section down below!
The Gaming Ground
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