One of the most high profile video game movies in recent years has been the upcoming adaptation of ‘Assassin’s Creed‘. Based on Ubisoft’s long running franchise, the film follows a present-day individual played by Michael Fassbender who finds himself forced to relive the memories of one of his ancestors – a fifteenth century Spanish Assassin – using a machine called the Animus.
In an interview printed in the latest issue of ‘Total Film’, director Joseph Kurzel has revealed that all of the film’s historical scenes will include full Spanish dialogue. The idea behind this is apparently to add to the authenticity of the historical setting (something the games have always taken pride in). Kurzel elaborated on the decision: “We did play around with English as well, but it was really obvious what you wanted as soon as you went back and started speaking beautiful Spanish. It really adds an exoticness and richness to the film.”
While this is certainly an interesting decision, it remains to be seen how well it will work in the finished film. In the games, the dialogue has traditional been presented in English, with the explanation that the Animus translates it automatically. Likewise, while the games have often included scenes set in the present, the bulk of each game’s narrative (and certainly the most significant events of each story) has always taken place in the past. The film’s use of Spanish means that viewers can almost certainly expect those scenes to be subtitled. This, in turn, raises questions about how the film will balance the modern and historical action. While it certainly wouldn’t be unheard of to have extensive subtitles throughout the film, it’s also exactly the sort of this you would expect a studio to get nervous about, though Kurzel’s statements to ‘Total Film’ indicate that the opposite is true. It’s certainly possible that the film’s narrative balance could lean more toward the modern setting, this would be at odds with both the games and the film’s own trailers. In either case, we’ll see whether or not this decision pays off in a few months when ‘Assassin’s Creed’ is finally released.
‘Assassin’s Creed’ stars Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson, Michael K. Williams, Ariane Labed and Matias Varela. The film is due to hit theaters on December 21, 2016.