Monday, January 14, 2013

One Man 300: Immortals Is Fun To Watch, But Not Particularly Good.

The Good: Most of the direction and effects
The Bad: Mediocre acting, No remarkable characters, Story is predictable/unimpressive.
The Basics: Immortals is purely a popcorn fantasy action film and within those parameters, it is fine, but it never becomes anything more.

Following on the heels of the surprise success of the Clash Of The Titans remake (reviewed here!), I suppose the major studios felt there was an unexpected cash cow they could milk in the special effects-driven mythological fantasy film genre. So, Immortals was green-lit and if you want an imaginative film to look good, it is hard to do better than Tarsem Singh. And Immortals does look good. But, like most popcorn movies and beauty queens, Immortals is very much depending on the surface appearance without the viewer truly digging deeper.

Immortals marks the first film I was conscious of Henry Cavill’s presence in (he was in Red Riding Hood, reviewed here!, where he left no particular impression upon me at all) and that is relevant in that I made a point of watching it prior to Man Of Steel. As a comic book geek (which I have become in the last few years), I was eager to see Cavill in something prior to him assuming the mantle of Superman. Given how monolithic his portrayal of Theseus is in Immortals, Cavill might be able to pull off Superman; it remains to be seen whether or not he can bring some subtlety and distinction to the part of Clark Kent.

Immortals, though, is a pretty standard fantasy adventure film of the ilk of Clash Of The Titans. Set in ancient Greece, the oracle Phaedra dreams of the Titans being released from their prison. She foresees the recovery of the mythical Epirus bow, an artifact with godly powers that might lead the Helenic Greeks to victory over the rising forces of King Hyperion. Aided by a traitor from Theseus’s village, Hyperion brutally lays waste to Theseus’s village and attacks the oracles, in his pursuit of the bow. After Theseus’s mother is killed in front of him, he begins to take the quest for the bow all the more seriously.

Despite the laws against it, the gods intervene to protect Theseus, and Hyperion tries to woo the young warrior to his cause.

Immortals is a pretty classic revenge tale and, to be fair, it is dressed up to look good. Tarsem Singh once again makes a beautiful looking film. The action sequences are reminiscent of 300 (reviewed here!), as it the basic plot progression. The actions of the gods, which are some of the most stylistic and beautifully shot components of the film, are almost afterthoughts to the main war story. The divine intervention aspect is far less satisfying as the world of man struggles, more or less, with realism, until the unleashing of the Titans and the conflicts between the various generations of the deities.

Stephen McHattie, who can usually be counted on for a compelling and intriguing supplemental character, is given little more than a cameo and his talents in the film are possibly the most under- or mis-used. Isabel Lucas (Athena) and Freida Pinto (Phaedra) pretty much earn their pay for looking the way they do and many of the men are cast more for their eyecandy appeal than any great acting talent as well. Cavill makes Theseus more situationally heroic than intriguing by any aspect of charisma or originality. By similar extension, Mickey Rourke’s Hyperion is a pretty monolithic villain.

For those looking for pretty generic action-adventure, Immortals will suffice; for those looking for a film with substance, they will find it lacking.

For other fantasy films, please visit my reviews of:
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Wrath Of The Titans
Alice In Wonderland


For other film reviews, please visit my Movie Review Index Page for a listing of the movie reviews I have written!

© 2013 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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