"THAT WAS F’N LEGENDARY!!!"… expletive deleted. That’s not me talking, but the young man excitedly leaving the theater and hopping on his mobile to inform his friends about this amazing film he had just seen, Tarsem Singh’s ‘Immortals’. This young man so loved this film that he told his friend that he would wait, while this cat he was talking to gathered up the rest of the crew, so he could watch this movie again in an hour with his boys by his side. I was saddened by this. Not because this young man found such great joy in a mediocre, albeit beautifully appointed movie, but because I remembered the days when I found great joy in vacuous entertainment, and I miss those days. Aaah… to be nineteen once again where my only concerns were pleasing myself through gorging on food, chasing girls, and watching vacuous entertainment where the Greek Gods do Kung Fu.
King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) is a bad man. The Gods of Olympus have done him wrong and he plans to make them pay, and he plans to do this by unleashing their mortal enemies, The Titans, who are theoretically imprisoned in a mountain for all-time. To do this he needs this magical bow, but while he searches for this bow, there’s conquering, raping, pillaging, and all around badness that needs to be done.
Across town, we meet the peasant Theseus (Henry Cavill), you know… the guy that killed the Minotaur and stuff… and Theseus spends his time training under his sage master The Old Man (John Hurt), taking care of his mom (Ann Day-Jones), and doing crunches. It was just a matter of time but Hyperion’s army has made it Theseus’ village, and while Theseus did his best, he could not save the one he loved most. The rest of Theseus' days, as decreed by King Hyperion, will be spent as a slave in the salt mines, seething for revenge.
Now the trouble really starts. Hyperion has captured the four virgin Oracles, while only one of them has the ability to see the future, that being Phaedra (Frieda Pinto), and he’s going to force her to tell him where this magic bow is. On Olympus, Zeus (Luke Evans) knows this is a bad thing, but he has told his fellow Supermodel Gods under the threat of death, they will not help the humans as they need to make their own way.
Fortunately for us, the four virgin oracles are handy with a blade and now Phaedra, Theseus and the thief Stavros (Stephen Dorff) are on the run. Phaedra has a vision of the greatness of Theseus, while Theseus only desires mad vengeance. Soon the Peasant and the Soothsayer become close, and remember that Phaedra’s powers come from her being a virgin. I’m thinking she’s about to lose that gift in the next couple of minutes.
Regardless, soon Theseus realizes that revenge must take a back seat to the good of the people, and the good of the people can only be achieved by the destruction of King Hyperion… which kind of falls in line with his revenge anyway. CGI blood splatter will ensue en masse.
It is easy to see why that young man we mentioned earlier was blown away by ‘Immortals’ as this is a movie filled to the brim with ‘Oooh’ and ‘Aaah’ moments. If you’ve seen Tarsem Singh’s previous films, ‘The Cell’ and ‘The Fall’, then you know the man paints a pretty picture just about as good as anybody, and ‘Immortals’ is one beautiful looking film to behold. Even though I saw this movie in regular old 2D, the images still seemed to pop off the screen. It’s violent, bloody, the action is crisp and brutal, and the CGI effects are very well presented. Movies, first and foremost, are a visual exercise and in this ‘Immortals’ is an unqualified success.
The thing is… well… visuals aside as far as the story goes it’s all so… silly. Mickey Rourke as a Greek King? We love Mickey Rourke, but I’m not sure about that casting choice. Hyperion seemed more like an Ice Road Trucker with grooming issues than a Greek King. Though you do have to admire Hyperion’s surgical technique for a vasectomy. That was not pleasant to see. Then when we saw Stephen McHattie in a tunic, we knew that they were free and easy with the casting of this epic. That wasn’t pleasant to see either. We would be remiss in not pointing out the Gods of Olympus who were always posed as if they knew they were in the middle of a DKNY ad campaign.
As far as the narrative goes, ‘Immortals’ started out telling a semi-coherent story but then that just all kind of faded away, plot points were embedded in here and there, as the rush was on to get to the good stuff, that being slo-mo bloody kung fu battles. An example of this is the relationship between Phaedra and Theseus who engaged in relations, not because there was some kind of well developed attraction or relationship between the two, but because it had to happen to keep things moving. And if Greek Mythology is really important to you, and I have a healthy knowledge of the subject though I’m not mated to it, but if it is important then you, then sitting through ‘Immortals’ will make you keel over and die. I don’t want you to die, so don’t go see it if you love Greek Mythology.
But all that being said, I did enjoy ‘Immortals’ for what it was, just not as much as that other guy. Plus if you compare it to that ‘Clash of the Titans’ remake, now ‘Immortals’ is looking like The Godfather’. This is why we won’t compare it to that.