Da'ud Bob's Movie Review
Febuary 2017

Okay, I'll admit it - I really don't play computer or video games. Sure, I've got a few games on my computer (the usual card games, and Elf Bowling 3, for example), but that's it; nothing like what most people think of when they hear the term "video game" or "computer game." And it is this failing, this lack, in my life, that may be why there was so much that I didn't understand about this month's movie. Because it was based on a video game series, and I've never played (or even seen) the game, and it may be that the film makers, having played it, assumed that the audience would understand some of the underlying plot devices and assumptions without having to be told specifically. But that assumption is something that has led to the failure of a number of movies based on video games, because the audience didn't really quite understand what was going on, and it was never really explained to them in the course of what really must be a movie which has to stand on its own, without relying on externals (i.e., the video game, which most of them may never have seen) to make sense of it. So I had my doubts even before I headed off to the theater. And I did find myself questioning some of the motivations for this action or that plot device. Nonetheless, I went, I saw, and I took notes, and thus it is that this month, Da'ud Bob reviews for you 2016's Assassin's Creed.

Starring Michael Fassbender as Cal Lynch/Aguilar de Nerha, Marion Cotillard as Sofia, Jeremy Irons as Rikkin, Brendan Gleeson as Joseph Lynch, Charlotte Rampling as Ellen Kaye, Michael Kenneth Williams as Moussa, Denis Ménochet as McGowen, Ariane Labed as Maria, Essie Davis as Mary Lynch, Matias Varela as the Emir, Carlos Bardem as Benedicto, and Javier Gutiérrez as Tomas de Torquemada (yes, that Torquemada!), the story is grounded in the idea that we are affected far more by our heredity than by our environment, and that "genetic memory" is not only a thing, but that our genes will "remember" specifics: this action, that fight, these day-to-day events. With a good dose of that perennial bogeyman, the Knights Templar, thrown in for good measure. For centuries, the Templars have been trying to get hold of the Apple of Eden, an ancient artifact that could destroy free will in the world and let them rule openly. The only thing standing in their way is the Assassins, who are sworn to defend the Apple, protect its hiding place, and make sure that it never falls into the hands of the Templars. So you can already see that, despite the use of dates and people and places, the story has nothing to do with real history. The fact that the film jumps back and forth in time from 1492 Granada and modern Madrid and London, as the Templars try to access Cal Lynch's genetic memories of his ancestor Aguilar, in order to discover where Aguilar hid the Apple, seems to create more questions than it answers.

Good points: The shields. The Spanish pennons. Columbus' tomb. (Did they film in the actual site in Spain? It certainly looked like it. And, having just looked it up - thank you, Google! - one of the filming locations was Seville, Spain, where Columbus is buried. So, yes.) The Court of the Lions and other rooms in the Alhambra Palace created for the movie.

Bad points: Some of the armor. The Apple of Eden as an ancient artifact with futuristic properties. "Scan DNA searching for a time frame." I've seen some very good parkour jumps; some of the ones in this movie simply looked impossible. Not simply difficult; impossible. Aguilar would not really have survived that 125-foot free fall. We are informed that the Templars (disbanded in 1312) and the Assassins (who here have no apparent relation to the real Assassins of the Crusades era) have been at war for centuries.

Zero breasts. Three gallons of blood. 62 dead bodies. Catapult fu. Sword fu. Spear fu. Wrist dagger fu. Crossbow fu. Ax fu. Billy club fu. Smoke bomb fu. Kung fu. Fire fu. Chain fu. Carts roll. Gratuitous dust. Gratuitous Skull mask. Gratuitous eagle. An 86 on the Vomit Meter. Two stars. Da'ud Bob says, "The climax was more than a bit anti-climactic. And the three Assassins standing atop a building in London at the end only reminded me of Batman. Check it out!"

Upcoming movies and miniseries to watch for!

February 17, 2017 The Great Wall. A mystery centered around the construction of the Great Wall of China. "1700 years to build. 5500 miles long. What were they trying to keep out?" Matt Damon, Pedro Pascal, Tian Jing, Willem Dafoe, Andy Lau, Numan Acar. (Period China, with that many white actors?)


Pushed back from March to May 12, 2017 King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. (Formerly titled: Knights of the Roundtable: King Arthur) The young Arthur runs the back passages of Londonium with his crew, not knowing his royal lineage until he grabs Excalibur. Instantly confronted by the sword's influence, Arthur is forced to make up his mind. He joins the rebellion and a shadowy young woman named Guinevere, he must learn to understand the magic weapon, deal with his demons and unite the people to defeat the dictator Vortigern, the man who murdered his parents and stole his crown to become king. Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law, Katie McGrath, Eric Bana, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey.

The fact that they keep pushing back the release date does not bode well for this film. Just sayin'.

No official website yet, just a Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/KingArthurMovie/

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