Saturday, November 12, 2011

At the Movies: Immortals

Gods vs. Titans

Eons after the Gods won their mythic struggle against the Titans, a new evil threatens the land. Mad with rage over the loss of his family to disease, King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) has declared war against the gods for failing to answer his prayers to spare them. Amassing a bloodthirsty army of soldiers disfigured by his own hand, Hyperion has scorched Greece in search of the legendary Epirus Bow, a weapon of unimaginable power forged in the heavens by Ares. Only he who possesses this bow can unleash the legendary Titans, who have been imprisoned deep within the depths of Mount Tartarus since the dawn of time, and who thirst for revenge against the gods who defeated them. In the king's hands, the bow would rain destruction upon mankind and annihilate the Gods. But ancient law dictates the Gods must not intervene in man's conflict. They remain powerless to stop Hyperion...until a peasant named Theseus (Henry Cavill) comes forth as their only hope. Secretly chosen by Zeus, Theseus must save his people from Hyperion and his hordes. Rallying a band of fellow outsiders including visionary oracle/priestess Phaedra (Freida Pinto) and cunning fellow slave Stavros (Stephen Dorff), one hero will lead the uprising, or watch his world fall into ruin and his Gods vanish into legend.

Now forget all of that bullshit, since that is about as much script as director Tarsem Singh utilized in making this epic film, which tries too damn hard to mimic earlier (better) genre flicks like 300, Troy and Clash of the Titans. Most of the praise that this movie is earning is due to Singh’s unique visual styling, and yes, Immortals certainly looks awesome in select parts, but those parts were strip-mined from other, more coherent films like the ones that I’ve cited above. There’s not any real acting going on here, this is largely a set piece dictated by studio marketing gurus to appeal to a young demographic. “Hey, let’s make a huge CGI spectacle that looks like – oh, say, Clash of the Titans or one of those other sword & sandals things”. You can almost hear the boardroom geniuses smacking their lips over the quickie profits that Immortals is bound to make in the short term, particularly when they shell out perks, access and tchotchkes to dipshit reviewers like the gang over at AICN, who all REALLY seem to love this movie and then overly talk it up. Go figure!
Henry Cavill as Theseus in "Immortals".
Immortals seems like just another superhero movie, but a modern era/Image Comics kind of affair only; where form trumps substance and visuals are expected to carry the whole book, minus an acceptable story. That being said, Henry Cavill at least manages to look heroic here and I am now curious to see what he will do as Superman. Frieda Pinto is incredibly beautiful (but deserving of better roles). Was that a body double in her nude scene (probably)? Stephen Dorff was pretty good in his supporting role too. The final battle between the Gods and the unleashed Titans was truly awesome, and it’s too bad that more of the film wasn’t like this all-too brief section. Still, can’t recommend Immortals based solely on about ten minutes of screen time.

1 comment:

John Small said...

Given that "Avatar" was so popular despite having been mostly strip-mined from other, better films, I expect we'll be seeing a even more of that kind of thing than we already had been. Originality has pretty much died when it comes to Hollywood (or books and comics, for that matter), so it's hardly surprising that many of us of a certain age prefer to go back and read or watch the stuff we enjoyed when we were younger than to partake of all this modern crap that rips so much of it off.