ASSASSIN’S CREED (Justin Kurzel, 2016)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Assassin’s Creed:

1. My least favorite part of playing video games would be the cutscenes, the animated clips usually shown between chapters to fill in the story gaps or propel the plot forward. I didn’t like them much because they defeated the purpose of playing: the full interactivity and complete control of the game. I could never relive the horror of helplessly watching Aeris getting stabbed by Sephiroth.

This movie was just as frustrating because all throughout I just wanted to grab a controller and make Michael Fassbender run as far away from this mess as possible. (Who was I kidding? I also wanted him to take off his garb and flash his Fassy.)

2. The movie started with an opening crawl that involved the Order of the Knights of the Templar, the urgent retrieval of the Apple of Eden, and an eagle that seemingly flew for thirty years and my head started to ache. Unfortunately, there was no X button that would allow me to skip to the good parts.

3. If there were an actual Animus, it could be an awesome ride in Disneyland. I mean it looked really fun when people started invading the mind of John Malkovich in Being John Malkovich and this felt like it would be the same experience. Only John Malkovich would be replaced by the 500 year-old memory of a dead person. Ooh, creepy with a touch of sinful! Count me in.

4. I liked the videogame feel especially during the Animus transition scenes. I just wished that the action scenes were more exciting because the swooping cameras alone certainly didn’t do the trick (even the rooftop scene towards the end was so incoherent and felt endless).

5. I was completely baffled by how they were able to wrangle such a talented cast that included Fassy, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, and Charlotte Rampling. The sales of this game must have been really lucrative.

In one scene, Fassy even sang like a madman (I didn’t just imagine that, right?) and he probably did that for a handsome paycheck.

6. “Violence is a disease like cancer.” How timely! Seriously though, it was interesting to hear the link between heredity and crime that proved that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

And speaking of apple, what was the need for that genetic code that contained free will that could completely eradicate violence? And why the hell did Fassy keep free falling from buildings?

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

 

 

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PASSENGERS (Morten Tyldum, 2016)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Passengers:

1. I could never be an astronaut. Just the thought of putting on a helmet (and the fear that my head would get stuck in it) had given me endless nightmares. I almost fainted when I saw that viral video where a teenage girl got her head caught in a pumpkin. Suffice to say, I wouldn’t survive in a spaceship even if I were in suspended animation for 120 years (because I would eventually wake up and immediately die of claustrophobia).

2. I wasn’t the biggest fan of recent space sci-fi movies (Elysium, Interstellar, not even the critically-lauded Gravity), but an interesting trailer that promised a few thrills and my fondness for Chris Pratt since Guardians of the Galaxy was enough to draw me in. Well, thank goodness for his cute butt because I really wasn’t expecting this to be a comedy.

3. The Avalon’s voice sounded very much like that soothing theme park voice you hear before boarding a ride in Disneyland. For our local version, I would like to suggest that we get the Ate voice from Uniqlo that courteously thanks all customers for “shahpeeng”.

4. Pratt was still charming as ever here, but it ultimately became his downfall. Even during the dramatic moments, it was just hard to take him seriously. Like he was trying to keep a straight face while giving these directions: “We need to find something big, something broken, something wrong.” He could very well have been talking about the screenplay. (Also, he looked cute in a scruffy beard.)

5. A lot of vicious reviews called this clunker “Titanic in Space” and I could understand why. As the biggest fan of that disaster flick (shamelessly, still my favorite film of all time), I remembered it so much in the following scenes:

• The langit-lupa situation of the doomed lovers, where he flew coach and could only get the normal cup of coffee while she belonged in the gold section that could choose between a macchiato and a French cream blend. (One of the reasons why I enjoy flying Cebu Pacific: no class distinction, everyone can only purchase the same “Snacks for sale!”.)

• Remember when Rose felt lonely and abandoned and wanted to jump off the ship? Yup, somebody here also felt terribly alone and attempted to jump into oblivion (coincidentally, another bad space sci-fi movie).

• “Do you trust me?” and “You die, I die” scenes lifted directly from the sinking ship’s screenplay (which was obviously not its strongest suit to begin with).

• One auto-dock left that could only save either of them. Dying of hypothermia next to a floating door in the ocean was more romantic.

• His one last habilin to “Wake up and you’ll finish what you were supposed to do” sounded very much like “You’re going to die an old woman and have lots of babies…” and then the camera slowly panned to the picture frames with Rose showing that she indeed lived a full life, rode horses, and toured the world and…wait, I needed to wipe away my tears.

6. I loved how Chris and Jennifer Lawrence (in a knockout white bathing suit) were able to maintain their to die for bodies through constant sex on every flat surface. But then again, they were in space and could have gone beyond the Kama Sutra, but didn’t. Imagine the endless possibilities!

7. 19 years to send mail in outer space? Would that be sloth mail?

8. Michael Sheen as the android bartender reminded me of Rosie in The Jetsons. In one scene, I actually thought that Chris was also an android because he was brutally attacked by JLaw and yet didn’t sustain any wounds or bruises. Why?

9. I probably laughed the loudest when JLaw screamed “Come back to me! I can’t live on the ship without you!!”. No wait, it was actually when she pulled the string to bring back a dead floating Chris in space. Now why didn’t Sandra Bullock think of that?

Rating: ★★☆☆☆