Immortals – Tarsem Messes With Greek Mythology!

Immortals

Immortals is a big, sprawling movie about ancient wars – the war between the Greek gods and the Titans; the attempt by King Hyperion to conquer Greece, and a second war between gods and titans. It’s an orgy of awesome, bloody action perpetrated by awesome, bloody-minded men.

In the beginning, we learn, there was a war in the heavens. The winners declared themselves gods and imprisoned the losers – whom they dubbed titans – in a cage deep within Mount Tartarus.

Now, King Hyperion [Mickey Rourke] seeks to conquer Greece by finding a mythic weapon, the Epirus Bow, to free the titans. In so doing, he expects the titans to slay the Greek gods and, with the Greeks weakened by the loss of their gods, his vast armies will do the rest.

Naturally, there’s an obstacle: Theseus [Henry Cavill], a warrior who prefers to have nothing to do with his fellow Hellenics [Greeks] because they consider him a mere peasant, born of a whore [though neither consideration is true].

When the virgin oracle Phaedra [Freda Pinto] has a vision of Hyperion destroying the gods – and sees Theseus leading his people against him – she takes steps to persuade him to Do The Right Thing. Which will be difficult, since they are slaves at the moment.

Theseus has been tutored by an Old Man [John Hurt] in the arts of the warrior – the Old Man being someone the young man does not believe exists. He is also Theseus’ father, so we know that the young man definitely has a shot at not only Doing The Right Thing, but actually winning. But it won’t be easy. Of course not – for one thing, there’s a traitor…

Like The Cell and The Fall before it, Immortals is a gorgeously designed, beautifully shot movie. Unlike them, however, its reach does not exceed its grasp. While Tarsem [credited here both as Tarsem and Tarsem Dhavandra Singh] messes with Greek mythology, though, it’s only fair to note that the ancient Greeks messed with the tales their capricious pantheon and that led to one of the richest of all mythologies. Immortals may not be the richest film about the Greek gods, but it is rich in design, action and intent.

Immortals is a big, sprawling movie about ancient wars – the war between the Greek gods and the Titans; the attempt by King Hyperion to conquer Greece, and a second war between gods and titans. It’s an orgy of awesome, bloody action perpetrated by awesome, bloody-minded men.

In the beginning, we learn, there was a war in the heavens. The winners declared themselves gods and imprisoned the losers – whom they dubbed titans – in a cage deep within Mount Tartarus.

Now, King Hyperion [Mickey Rourke] seeks to conquer Greece by finding a mythic weapon, the Epirus Bow, to free the titans. In so doing, he expects the titans to slay the Greek gods and, with the Greeks weakened by the loss of their gods, his vast armies will do the rest.

Naturally, there’s an obstacle: Theseus [Henry Cavill], a warrior who prefers to have nothing to do with his fellow Hellenics [Greeks] because they consider him a mere peasant, born of a whore [though neither consideration is true].

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When the virgin oracle Phaedra [Freda Pinto] has a vision of Hyperion destroying the gods – and sees Theseus leading his people against him – she takes steps to persuade him to Do The Right Thing. Which will be difficult, since they are slaves at the moment.

Theseus has been tutored by an Old Man [John Hurt] in the arts of the warrior – the Old Man being someone the young man does not believe exists. He is also Theseus’ father, so we know that the young man definitely has a shot at not only Doing The Right Thing, but actually winning. But it won’t be easy. Of course not – for one thing, there’s a traitor…

Like The Cell and The Fall before it, Immortals is a gorgeously designed, beautifully shot movie. Unlike them, however, its reach does not exceed its grasp. While Tarsem [credited here both as Tarsem and Tarsem Dhavandra Singh] messes with Greek mythology, though, it’s only fair to note that the ancient Greeks messed with the tales their capricious pantheon and that led to one of the richest of all mythologies. Immortals may not be the richest film about the Greek gods, but it is rich in design, action and intent.

Considering the amount of grays and blacks in the film, it’s a wonder that it’s in 3D. What’s even more of a wonder is that the 3D is seldom murky or smudged. There aren’t as many shots that sling stuff at the audience, but when there are [as in a certain moment of subterfuge by Poseidon, or, in certain fight sequences, when blows are dealt that eviscerate foes], it’s pretty intense.

Most of Immortals’ little humor comes from the Old Man, or from Rourke’s darkly delightful performance as Hyperion. Henry Cavill is suitably affable and earnest as Theseus and Luke Evans is suitably imperious as Zeus. Most of the rest of the cast do little more than fill space. Isabel Lucas is her usual wooden self as Athena and we see so little of the other gods that Daniel Stebbings [Helios], Kellan Lutz [Poseidon] and Daniel Sharman [Aries], among others, are wasted as anything other than beautiful faces and bodies in stylized golden armor.

The cinematography ranges from enormous vistas [the sprawl of Hyperion’s army across the land; the gigantic wave that threatens to engulf the audience] to extreme claustrophobia [thousands of warriors battling in a tunnel leading in the city at the base of Mt. Tartarus].

While it utilizes CG in much the same way – and to much the same effect – as 300 [it’s produced by two of the producers from that film], it lacks that film’s willingness to go so far over the top [‘This. Is. SPARTA!’] that it manages to be more a ‘fun once’ experience than something that would hold up to repeated viewings. But it definitely is fun once.

Final Grade: B-

One thought on “Immortals – Tarsem Messes With Greek Mythology!”

  1. “Immortals” is an ultra-violent, ultra-noisy, ultra-bloody, and ultra-dumb film.  The only thing missing is a chariot chase in this GODS-awful wants-to-be-an epic.
     
    GRADE = “D”
     

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