Our next hope for a solid video game movie is less than a month away. Fox released the first clip from the Assassin’s Creed movie today, and Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender) is getting Neo’d.
What is the Animus?
That big ass claw machine is called the Animus. In the games, a person would sit back in a chair and calmly relive the memories of a distant ancestor. Think Neo, but with a trip back in time.
The games portrayed the Animus as a virtual reality machine that allows the person using it to access the genetic memories of their ancestors. And the user isn’t limited to just one memory either. Desmond Miles (the main protagonist of the Assassin’s Creed franchise) accesses the genetic memories of several ancestors throughout multiple games. Something to keep in mind if the movie is a hit. The games have already laid the foundation for multiple ancestors.
Director Justin Kurzel is taking some creative liberties with the Animus in the movie. Watching Michael Fassbender lounge around in a futuristic recliner twitching his eyes doesn’t make a compelling movie. Especially when the past/present split is 35% past, 65% present.
Seeing Fassbender fight his way through the memories of his ancestor in the present, on the other hand, looks badass. You can see glimpses in the trailer below.
It can also explain a side effect of prolonged use of the Animus. In the games, it was called the Bleeding Effect. Because of it, Desmond Miles gained the combat and freerunning abilities of his ancestors. It isn’t all good, though. Prolonged use causes hallucinations of ancestor memories while not using the Animus.
It’ll be interesting to see how the movie approaches the Bleeding Effect, or if it ignores it completely. The way the movie portrays the Animus doesn’t make explaining the Bleeding Effect necessary. We see Callum performing the same actions as his ancestor (Aguilar de Nerha). It’s not too far of a stretch to see how Callum would gain his ancestor’s fighting abilities.
Why the Animus
Why dump Callum in there to begin with? Those of us familiar with the games know why. Assassin’s Creed is about the centuries-old conflict between the Templars and Assassins. In the modern-day, the Templar Order has morphed into Abstergo Industries.
Using the Animus, Templars are trying to find something hidden by the Assassins. In the games, the Templars searched for several artifacts refereed to as the “Pieces of Eden.” The artifacts are incredibly powerful and can control mankind. Using the memories of people like Callum, Abstergo is trying to find the exact location of the artifacts by tapping into the memories of those who hid them.
That’s why people like Callum are so important. Abstergo might be able to pinpoint the time they need to see. But they have to find the right people to get there.
A Star Wars sized roadblock
Assassin’s Creed will try to coax moviegoers away from Rogue One on December 21, 2016. Five days after the release of the return of Darth Vader. Yeah, I can think of 11 other months that would have been better to release in. I can’t help but see shades of Titanfall 2. Incredible potential (in Titanfall 2’s case, it was great) doomed to fail with a terrible release date.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the Assassin’s Creed movie will still do well. It’s hard to feel optimistic with that release date. I’ll see it, but Fox should have pulled a John Wick and dropped it in February. Give it some room to breathe on its own.