Monday, May 16, 2011


Sam Fisher (upside down) in "Splinter Cell"
And in 3D, no less. Recently Ubisoft formed its very own movie studio, creatively entitled Ubisoft Motion Pictures, and their first projects will be adaptations of three of their most beloved franchises : "Assassin's Creed", "Splinter Cell" and "Ghost Recon", the last two being part of the Tom Clancy brand. A long time ago I remember rumors about a "Splinter Cell" movie, and at some point I think John Woo's name had been circulated as a potential director. Anyway, the good news here is that Ubisoft, much like Marvel, can exercise more creative control over their own franchise adaptations through their own film studio, particularly if they want to avoid having their movies bashed by critics like "Prince of Persia" was under Disney and Bruckheimer's control. Now the big discussion is about whether or not games can really be made into good movies. History has taught us that they are usually doomed to appeal only to fans of the games they are based on, and in most cases even the fans are disappointed. Still, the two Tom Clancy games can be made into decent thrillers.

"Ghost Recon", a futuristic Tom Clancy tactical shooter.
The games themselves were more than just shoot'em'ups. In "Splinter Cell" you played as Sam Fisher, a member of a secret government organization called Third Echelon, and throughout the game you had to infiltrate and sneak around, trying to avoid detection and complete your objectives. The stories were typical Clancy fare, but entertaining. "Ghost Recon" was also more about careful planning than shooting, as you assumed the role of a covert ops squad leader in missions, taking place in a near future fictional conflict, that required finesse and strategy as well as good reflexes.

The first "Assasin's Creed" game, repetitious gameplay
and gorgeous  graphics
"Assassin's Creed" might be a little iffy as a movie adaptation. In the game you played as a member of a secret society of assassins, completing tasks and missions that would shape a larger conflict against shadowy figures of power in history. The character you play as for most of the game is actually an avatar of real world protagonist, working inside the Animus, a sort of virtual reality interpreter of ancestral memories. It's sort of complicated to explain. The thing is, the character you play as does a lot of running and climbing that is very similar to parkour, which seems to be very popular in movies and it has been approached before in similar fashion in "Prince of Persia". Then there's the new "Three Musketeers" movie coming out that seems to borrow heavily from the mood of "Assassin's Creed". It might be a little to late for this movie, as it will simply be branded as a copycat by those unfamiliar with the source material. The real element of, shall we say, originality, are the sci-fi elements mixed in the story, but even these elements proved to work in a doubtful manner in movies like "Timeline", based on a Michael Crichton novel.


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