Notable Cast: Henry Cavill, Mickey Rourke, Stephen Dorff, Freida Pinto, Luke Evans, John Hurt
Review: THIS…IS…PRETTY MUCH…SPARTA! With a shavings less effort put into ab enhancement and a smidgen more emphasis on the “Man vs. Gods” storyline, Immortals doesn’t deliver much new material than 300 already accomplished. Tarsem Singh (The Fall) is the Indian equivalent of Zack Snyder, both being known for their flamboyant visuals and astoundingly out of the box imagery. As expect, there were plenty of well oiled abs, gratuitous ancient violence, and some stop/go slow to fast motion killings. Throw aside all the flashy costumes and CGI though, and there’s nothing left except a story that begs for the next fight sequence. Immortals is a visually striking piece of art that should be recognized for such accomplishments, but one must also acknowledge the weaknesses amongst the strengths. Unlike a real immortal, Singh’s film will not live on for a glorious eternity or withstand the test of time. Under all that carefully crafted exterior, there is nothing but a mere mortal in disguise. Don’t be fooled.
Immortals follows the journey of Theseus (Cavill) and his battle against King Hyperion’s unlawful tyranny. A poor peasant, Theseus is thrust into this situation when King Hyperion leave’s Theseus’ village in shambles, killing his mother. King Hyperion is on the warpath to find a mystical weapon called the Epirus Bow, which would make him all but unstoppable. Theseus swears revenge on Hyperion, vowing never to fall under his rule. Little does he know the Gods also have their hand in his agenda, secretly training him for years in the arts of combat. Zeus (Evans) has been appearing in the form of an elder (Hurt), teaching Theseus to become a warrior skillful enough to put a stop to Hyperion’s evil. In his journey, Theseus frees the oracle Phaedra (Pinto) and others imprisoned by Hyperion. Together, the group bands together to fight Hyperion and prevent him from using the Epirus Bow for evil, one over-stylized kill at a time.
Never learned about this in my mythology class…
Singh’s visual prowess is unmatched admittedly. He’s someone like Michael Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) or Zack Snyder (300/Watchmen) who you can expect the extra effort from to bring you something your brain couldn’t even imagine. But Singh is unique whereas Snyder has an ultra-clear style, Singh thinks completely out of the box in set up as well as delivery. Snyder is more into polishing up what is already there. Singh takes what exists, flips it on its head, throws it in the air, and still make’s the scene relevant. Just look at the still above from Immortals. Singh says so much with this chaotic floating battleground, and uses imagery like nothing we’ve seen before to state how the characters would continue fighting frantically after the film was over. A unique twist as opposed to a montage of fighting flashing before the credits. The action scenes (battles, ect…) like so reflected Singh’s vision as well, full of high-flying stunts and smooth choreography. This is the beauty Singh brings to a film: unconventional deliverance of scenes we’ve seen over and over again. I applaud such efforts and think he was a great choice to helm Immortals, at least giving the film a sense of style that could be discussed even with the other struggles present.
Struggles like the story. We all know who Zeus and the Gods are, controlling the fate of man. Now, Zeus believed in Theseus and forbid the other Gods of interfering with his mission. Zeus wanted Theseus to complete the task on his own to prove himself right. Zeus even kills the god Ares when he steps in to save Theseus’ life. But, as I continued to watch, every time Theseus got into trouble, a God would bail him out. Even Zeus himself breaks his own code in order to make sure Theseus was successful. Zeus, the God of Gods, couldn’t repeat enough how Theseus was to kill Hyperion without help, yet whenever too many soldiers showed up or failure seemed imminent, a God was there to save the day. Immortals was devoid of any real suspense because if Theseus got in trouble, I knew it would only be a matter of time before an almighty being cheaply cleared the path for our hero despite the plot point being thrown around so adamantly. An element of danger was lost knowing the hand of God was hovering over Theseus, like using a cheat code in the old “Age of Empires” games (freakin’ Photon Man). Mix that between poorly executed relationships between characters amounting to little chemistry, and the story fails to hold up to the high standards of Singh’s vision.
Not a complete fail, but Immortals is just too comparable to 300 at times. And yes, 300 was some badass Spartan ass-kickery, but the simpler story helped Snyder achieve such a success. It was simple there: 300 Spartans vs. an army. Here it was Theseus against Hyperion, with the help of all who oversee humanity. Yeah, my money is on Zeus 100/100 times. Not to mention the story contradicts itself every step of the way, sabotaging itself from pulling the viewer in. See it once to treat your eyeballs to Singh’s one of a kind delivery and to get your fix of sword to sword combat, but don’t expect any other aspects to blow you away. King Leonidas, you win this round.
Final Rating: 6 glistening abs out of 10
“Surely the enemy wouldn’t stab us in our arms or legs!”