Today, 20th Century Fox released the first official trailer for Assassin’s Creed, starring Michael Fassbender. Adapted from the story behind Ubisoft’s hit video game franchise, the film follows Fassbender’s Callum Lynch, a man revived after a recent execution for a very special mission. Through the technology of the Animus, Callum travels back to 15th Century Spain, to discover and relive the story of his ancestor, an assassin named Aguilar. Bringing the never-ending conflict of the Assassins and the Templars to the big screen, the trailer gives fans a promising look at what could be a rare hit in the world of video game movies.
The film co-stars Academy Award-winner Marion Cotillard and is directed by Snowtown’s Justin Kurzel. Fassbender, Cotillard, and Kurzel’s critically acclaimed work on Macbeth bodes exceptionally well for the film. While Ubisoft tends to go for lesser-known international artists for the Assassin’s Creed theme songs, the trailer is backed by Kanye West, and looks more like a gorgeous painting with every frame.
Those unfamiliar to the franchise are immediately introduced to the concept of the Animus, the technology used to send Callum back in time to acquire the skills he needs to defeat present-day Templars, a society who has been attempting to corrupt governments and control the world for centuries. Callum’s story seems to loosely parallel that of long-time Assassin’s Creed protagonist Desmond Miles (now deceased in the game’s universe) who also descended from a long line of assassins. Desmond served as player’s eyes into each unique time period until Assassin’s Creed 4, when his family line continued without him, under the new guidance of a nameless POV character. The Animus itself looks strange and a little boring compared to the source material, but the stunning views of Spain make up for it.
Aguilar, like many assassins, was surprisingly not alone for the entirety of his time as an assassin. If the trailer reveals anything, it’s that Fassbender will have his own brotherhood. One stand-out female assassin may be the one who shows him the ropes.
Kurzel’s reimagining of 15th Century Spain looks like an oil painting in motion, bringing one of the best aspects of the Assassin’s Creed franchise — it’s gorgeous, expansive world — to light in cinematic format. I spent most of my time with the story and the real history,” Kurzel told the LA Times. “That was my main focus – not so much forensically going through every aspect of the game. It was: How do you make this into a piece of cinema?”
Of course, this wouldn’t be Assassin’s Creed without jaw-dropping displays of parkour prowess. It’s unclear just how long Fassbender trained for the dual roles of Aguilar and Callum, and while stunt doubles were obviously a key to this production’s success, it’s interesting to think about whether or not Magneto may have picked up some slick new moves.
Assassin’s Creed hits theaters on December 21.