Assassin's Creed

For centuries, the Order of the Knights Templar has searched for the mythical Apple of Eden. They believe it contains not only the seeds of man’s first disobedience, but the key to free will itself. If they find the relic and decode its secrets, they will have the power to control freedom of thought. Only the brotherhood of the Assassins stands in their way…

I have just quoted verbatim the opening crawl of the film, Assassin’s Creed. It was the simplest way I could convey this movie’s excessively convoluted plot in as few words as possible. And if that wasn’t enough to hook you, it’s unlikely that you’ll derive much enjoyment from this film. Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, and Jeremy Irons are one hell of an impressive pedigree for any film, and their considerable talents bring some much-needed gravitas to bear, but even they are foolishly squandered here. This is a video-game movie. What were you expecting, tea and crumpets with the queen? the 4K presentation and the companion standard HD Blu-ray, it shouldn’t come as any great surprise which version wins here. The HD version is way overlit, much like the game, with very little shadow delineation between background and foreground elements. The 4K version sports a much darker and more realistic picture. Shadow detail is significantly more apparent here, and for a film that spends most of its time in the dark, it’s crucial. That said, both versions still suffer from their own pixilation and motion blur issues, but only minimally.

The 4K version also features a thoroughly enveloping Dolby Atmos surround mix that surpasses the 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio of its HD counterpart. All of the core elements are there, it’s just that the Dolby Atmos has greater clarity and separation between the dialogue, ambient sound effects, and bass-thumping score. And it’s a much deeper and more resound- ing bass. If your ears are attuned well enough, strive to listen further into the background, and you’ll distinctly pick up engine hums, wind, breath, and fire.

Extras appear on the HD Blu-ray and consist of a collection of featurettes called “Take the Pledge: Behind the Scenes of Assassin’s Creed,” a series of interviews with director Justin Kurzel, deleted scenes with and without commentary, a gallery of photographs from concept art to on-set production, and theatrical trailers.

Assassin’s Creed is a visual and auditory tour de force. If you don’t get too hung up on the plot, you might enjoy it.

Studio: 20th Century Fox, 2016
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio Format: Dolby Atmos, DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1
Length: 116 mins.
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Justin Kurzel
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons