The Culture Movies First Look

'Assassin's Creed' shows why a video game isn't always a good movie

'Creed,' the newest movie based on a video game, is now in theaters and has received poor reviews. Fellow 2016 video game adaptations 'Ratchet & Clank' and 'Warcraft' also had a negative critical reception.

'Assassin's Creed' stars Michael Fassbender (l.).
Kerry Brown/20th Century Fox/AP
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“Assassin’s Creed,” which is now in theaters, is the latest movie to attempt to translate video game success to the big screen. But, like other video game adaptations debuting this year, it has received poor reviews from critics.

“Creed” stars Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard and is based on the popular video game series about the battle between a force called the Templars and the Assassins. The newest game in the series, “Assassin’s Creed Syndicate,” was released in the fall of 2015. 

“Creed” is one of several movies based on video games to be released this year. Some have done better than others. The film “Ratchet & Clank,” for example, which came out in April, received bad reviews and was seen as a financial disappointment. Similarly,  the summer movie “Warcraft,” which is based on the popular “World of Warcraft” game, failed to attract American audiences and was also the subject of negative notices – but it was more of an international box office success.

“The Angry Birds Movie,” which came out shortly before “Warcraft,” did the best financially out of the latest in the genre and is now domestically the second-highest-grossing movie based on a video game, second only to the biggest hit so far, the 2001 “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.” (However, critics were not impressed with "Birds" either.)

Now “Assassin” has been released during the holiday movie season and debuted to negative reviews, showing that at least creatively, video game stories may be difficult to bring to the big screen.

“I can't really think of a movie coming out from a game that has been very successful in the market and also has been really any good,” Simon Tarr, associate professor of art and media arts program coordinator at the University of South Carolina, told The Christian Science Monitor earlier this year.

Hollywood is going to continue to try, however, with one project, for example, returning to the genre’s biggest hit: a new “Tomb Raider” movie starring Oscar-winning actress Alicia Vikander is planned for 2018.

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