The Assassin's Creed movie's historical scenes will be performed in Spanish
The most charitable thing you can say about the Assassin's Creed movie is that it's shaping up to be a videogame movie. But it sounds like it's doing at least one interesting thing: the scenes set in 15th century Spain will be completely in Spanish with English subtitles.
"I just love the fact [production company] New Regency embraced it," the film's director, Justin Kurzel, tells Total Film magazine (via its sister publication GamesRadar). "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."
Nose-crinkling comment about Spanish "exoticness" aside, if your chest was about to swell with excitement there, let me deflate you again real fast: the majority of the film is not set in 15th century Spain. In the spirit of the games from which it's adapted, the Assassin's Creed film splits its action between historical scenes centered on assassin Aguilar de Nerha and near-future scenes starring his far less charismatic descendent, who is reliving Aguilar's escapades through some "genetic memory" nonsense. In these 21st century scenes, the cast is speaking English. And unfortunately, it sounds like this is where the movie will be spending more of its runtime.
I know I've been overtly critical of this film since I covered the reveal trailer, and thus couldn't possibly be an objective voice here. But really, who on Earth looks at the Assassin's Creed franchise and thinks "yep, I definitely see this as a generic sci-fi playing out in some off-brand Equilibrium world"? Director Kurzel is right in one respect: the Assassin's Creed games are all about the fantasy of inhabiting a far-flung locale rich in historical texture, and that's something Ubisoft's developers tend to achieve quite well. People talk about Ezio Auditore as a character; about the ambitiousness of Assassin's Creed: Liberation and Freedom Cry; even about the godsforsaken, needlessly complex inner-world lore about assassins and templars and all that junk. They don't talk about the ridiculous sci-fi wrapper that acts as the conceit of these games.
The Assassin's Creed film presents the perfect opportunity to do things right and draw upon the franchise's best elements, but instead it appears the filmmakers have doubled down on the whole sci-fi thing, for... reasons?? Hearing that Michael Fassbender will be mumbling some Spanish while dressed in a hoodie is cool, yeah, I guess, but I do so wish it didn't feel like a figleaf trying to mask an increasingly unsightly problem.
Again: maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Assassin's Creed will be a brilliant film and everyone everywhere will love it. A lot of critics thought this summer's Warcraft film was silly, but that didn't stop it from making all the money ever. We'll see when the movie releases into theaters in a few months' time, I guess.
Assassin's Creed arrives in theaters December 21st and stars Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, and Jeremy Irons. You can check out the trailer above!