Monday, December 26, 2016

Couch Potato: Assassin's Creed, Kubo and the Two Strings

Assassin's Creed

Kid the Elder wanted to see Assassin's Creed so we did. I'm not a gamer and I had no idea what it was about and really my expectations were low. But it was enjoyable and I was able to follow the story well. The story set-up (which I assume is from the game) is that Templars are the bad guys who want to rule over the world, and the Assassins are the good guys who "fight in the shadows for the light." Modern day Templars have this whole global corporate thing, and they are searching for a MacGuffin. They've developed a machine, the Animus, that can make a person access their genetic memories.

Michael Fassbender is Callum Lynch, the modern day descendant of an Assassin in 15th century Spain, who is the last person known to have seen the MacGuffin. He doesn't know any of this until the Templars get hold of him and stick him in the Animus.

Roughly half the movie happens in 15th century Spain, and it's all well-choreographed swash-buckling that is fun to watch. The other half happens in the present, mostly in the antiseptic, futuristic lab of the Templars. Michael Fassbender is a fantastic actor and it feels almost like he's the only character. Despite his performance the movie fails to get me invested in the characters. I don't know if it's the script or the detached direction or the seriousness. Some occasional comic relief would have been good.

Although I wouldn't have picked this movie on my own, I thought it was fun to watch on its own terms.

Kubo and the Two Strings

Kid the Younger wanted to see Kubo and the Two Strings on video. This movie was a lot of fun. Both my kids like doing origami so they loved the magical origami that Kubo can do. This movie is basically a Japanese-inspired fairy tale about a young boy with magical powers who has to go on a quest to save his own life. It's funny, exciting, and touching. Although the excellent animation is in a different style, it feels like a Hayao Miyazaki film. If you have very young children, be aware that here are quite a bit of sad and scary parts. Recommended.

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