Immortals – Film review
Tarsem Singh’s latest film is the visual epic “Immortals”. Loosely (and believe me it’s very loosely) based on the legends of Theseus.
The film starts with John Hurt narrating the battles of the Olympians and their victory over the Titans. The oracle Phaedra (Frieda Pinto) however, sees the tyrant King Hyperion (Micky Rourke) seizing the legendary Epirus bow to free the Titans from their chthonic prison. Long story short, we see Hyperion’s army over running Theseus’s (Henry Cavil) village thanks to an act of treachery and a croquet mallet. (You’ll know it when you see it.) Hyperion then slaughters Theseus’s mother in front of him… and well you can work out the rest of the story from there.
Honestly if you can’t work out that Theseus goes off to rescue the
princess oracle, quests for the magic sword Epirus bow. And then goes on to defeat the Dark Lord King Hyperion, then I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.
Tarsem Singh certainly got his money’s worth out of going to art school in this film. Set and costume design are amazing and this is probably the first 3D film I’ve watched in a long time that didn’t give me headaches. His visual alternates between lush golden scenes of God’s discussing the fates of men and the earthy, dusty hue of the mortals who fight for and against Hyperion. It almost feels as though the film has been taken straight from the side of some ancient Greek vase.
The action sequences are spectacular. Particularly when the gods decide to kick ass. These Olympians don’t just zap people into ash or do some wussy curse. No these gods charge into the fray. They kick one guy through a marble wall, cut another in half, punch the head off the shoulders of another and then spit the rest of the army on their sword before the first guy’s had a chance to sneeze. In a lot of ways I think this was what 300 was trying to achieve in it’s fight sequence. But where Frank Miller failed (arguably – ed), Tarsem Singh succeeds wonderfully.
It’s great seeing Mickey Rourke idly chewing on scenery. He’s essentially playing Whiplash from Iron Man 2 in a toga. But he just does it so well. There’s an air of complacent, intelligent menace in everything he does that really carries the scenes he’s in. John Hurt gives his bog standard good performance, but his heart doesn’t seem to be in it. The rest of the actors are fine, but well, they’re limited by what their given. There are plot holes the size of Mount Olympus and Tarsem seems more preoccupied with skipping over characterization to get to the glossy money shots he seems to enjoy. Like the final upskirt shot of Theseus battling a Titan.
Which he lingers on for far too long.
The sex scene between Theseus and Phaedra is awkward and rushed to the point that most of the audience burst out into laughter. Though I did get to see Frieda Pinto’s arse, so that wasn’t too bad. Unfortunately there were at least four other scenes in the movie where the audience burst into snickering and sarcastic comments. That can really take the tension out of a serious dramatic scene. Especially the final upskirt shot of Theseus battling a Titan.
Did I mention that it went way too long?
There’s also a lot of mythical references that I don’t think the 16 to 25 target demographic would get. That by itself wouldn’t be too bad, but he tends to jam them into your face. Rather than have them sit in the background, he brings them out like some kind of gory, archeological porn. I suspect a lot of background explanation scenes were cut to make way for all of the money shots. Like Theseus’s upskirt shot of him battling a Titan. Did I mention it way too long? What you’re feeling now because of my elaborate running gag is what I felt watching this film.
Lastly I think he’s gone a little overboard on the costume and set design for the Olympians. Watching the gods speak amongst themselves was like watching a long Ferrerro Rocher ad. Watch the movie and tell me that you don’t agree.
Overall this is a mildly amusing sword and sandals romp. It has great action sequences and visuals, but it does tend to drag in places.
What do you Think? is Joel on the money or have you bitten into the Ferrerro and found it to be tasteless bland and vaguely sickening? Feedback Gods and Goddesses!
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