Immortals Blu-Ray Review (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, March 15, 2012
Immortals is the latest big screen film to play with Greek mythology and like 2010’s Clash of the Titans, it fumbles the attempt like a football doused in olive oil. It is loosely based on the myths of Theseus, one of the great Greek founder-heroes like Perseus and Heracles. Did I say loosely based? The Muppets Christmas Carol was more faithful to Dickens than Immortals is to Greek mythology.
King Hyperion (Rourke) is searching for a fabled weapon called the Epirus Bow. Seems he once ate some bad Titan remains, got a stomach ache, and is pissed off at the Greek Gods for his family dying…or some such nonsense. There’s little reason to dwell on the finer points of the story since the writers didn’t either. Anyway he’s raised an army and begun kill and enslave the other people of Ancient Greece. His ultimate goal is to use the bow to free the Titans who were enslaved by the Gods in Mount Tarterus .
Theseus (Henry Cavill) is a peasant but also skilled warrior trained by his mentor, the old man (John Hurt). His village is overrun by Hyperion’s army and he watches in horror as his mother is killed by the King and Theseus is taken as a prisoner. The Orable Phaedra, also a prisoner of Hyperion, realizes that Theseus is touched by the Gods and together with the thief Stavros (Dorff) they manage to escape and seek the bow themselves. Meanwhile the “old man” is revealed to actually be Zeus (Luke Evans), chief of the Greek Gods. He sits atop Mt. Olympus with the other Gods watching the events play out. He warns the other Gods against interfering in the mortal affairs…Wait a minute? Isn’t this the guy who has disguised himself as a human to train and school Theseus since he was born? Talk about your double standards! The climax leads up to Hyperions eventual freeing of the Titans which does cause the Gods to come down and fight their old enemies again. To say the Titans were underwhelming would be a vast understatement. Aren’t Titans supposed to be…titanic?
Immortals is produced by some of the same men who produced “300” and they ride that ticket as hard as they can. The film wants to be “300” in the worst way, and it succeeds in the worst way. There are so many slow-motion fight scenes that if you sped them up to normal speed I’d hazard to guess the film would be 20 minutes shorter. And of course there’s all manner of stylized, slow motion kills that alternate between slow motion and normal speed so much it’s like a two year-old playing with the DVD remote. Theseus’ village seems perched on that very same strip of cliff-side mountain that Leonidas and the Spartans defended against the hordes of Xerxes. But Immortals completely lacks the energy and passion of that film. No one’s asking for high drama but it would have been nice to have someone other than Rourke and Hurt look like it wasn’t their first day on the job. Henry Cavill…who will play Superman next year…looked completely lost throughout most of the film and downright laughable while trying to deliver the film’s key-note rallying speech to the troops.
Rourke and Hurt are the film’s saving graces. Hurt always brings a quiet professionalism to every role. And Mickey Rourke was great because he didn’t try to be Mickey Rourke and gobble up every scene. In fact, if its possible, he actually was a bit understated in his role and even managed to solicit a bit empathy for his performance. Director Tarsem Singh gets the look down…the landscapes are simply gorgeous but is that really all that much of an accomplishment given today’s digital technology?
Tarsem Singh’s Immortals is like a big Christmas present that is wrapped in fancy foil paper with bows and ribbons but when you open it up, it turns out to be full of socks or underwear.
It’s no Myth (5:27) – A look at Greek Mythology
Carvaggio Meets Fight Club: Tarsems Vision (20:29) – This is a multi-part, making of documentary that features interviews as well as segments on visual effects, stunts, and the musical score.
Alternate Opening (11:34) – Theseus as a young boy listening to the old man tell the story of Hyperion.
Alternate Ending (8:38)
Deleted Scenes (8:10)
Mania Grade: D+
Starring: Henry Cavill, Mickey Rourke, John Hurt, Stephen Dorff
Written By: Vlas Parlapanides, Charley Parlapanides
Directed By: Tarsem Singh
Distributor: Universal Home Entertainment
Original Year of Release: 2011
Extras: See Below