Starring: Linda Hardy, Thomas Kretschmann, Charlotte Rampling,
Fr??ic Pierrot, Thomas M. Pollard
Director: Enki Bilal
Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
Run Time: 102 min
- are the
It is New York, one hundred years in the future. A mysterious giant
pyramid has materialized out of thin air and floats ominously above the city.
Below there have been several mysterious murders
The culprit seem to be Horus, yes, the Horus from
ancient Egyptian mythology. It seems that those whacked-out New Age nuts
were right after all and that the Egyptian gods are actually all-powerful
aliens and they've dropped in for their first visit in several thousand
years so that Horus can get his rocks off with a mortal girl . . .
Yup, that's right: it seems
that as always all the gods are really interested in is getting it on with
some comely mortal maiden. Except in this case the girl in question is a
white-skinned blue-haired mutant, and Horus has to possess a guy named
Nikopol who has been in suspended animation for the past few decades to make
it all happen. Or something like that.
If some of this seems
vaguely familiar to you, then maybe you've read the graphic novels by Enki
Bilal on which this French sci-fi effort is vaguely based. Bilal is also the
director of the film and this was probably a mistake since while the material
might have worked on the printed page, on celluloid it has no flow and is
difficult to follow.
In fact for a lot of the
running time, Immortal is simply
incomprehensible. It throws up a myriad of subplots and characters it never
comes back to again. Instead of sticking to the main story, we are given
some fascinating glimpses of this future world, but these glimpses are never explained and the viewer is simply left to scratch his or
her head in bewilderment.
Almost as distracting as
the confusing plot is the way the film was made. Immortal, along with
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow,
is one of the first movies to have been made using live actors against a backdrop of
computer-generated scenery. Like Sin City and
Revenge of the Sith there are
practically are no physical sets in any real sense of the word.
however goes one step further by using digitized human actors as well as
real life ones. Why they did this is unclear
maybe they couldn't afford any more actors (but they could afford voice
talent, and is computer CPU time really that much cheaper?)
because the ultimate net effect is simply distracting. It's fine when you
digitize alien characters like this, but human ones? Why not make the entire
movie computer generated like Kaena or
Final Fantasy then?
is a failure, but an interesting one. The film's cityscape and hardware
(taken directly from Bilal's comics) are gorgeous to look at even when the
CGI looks painfully obvious. Sci-fi fans will go gaga over them, and the
film is definitely unusual in that doesn't simply want to be an SF action
film. But watching it I often thought that I'd care a lot more about what
was happening if I actually knew what was going on.
THE DISC: Some
previews and two almost identical making of features. The features omit info
such why it was decided to blend human and CGI characters in the first
place. It also neglects to mention the movie's origins as a set of graphic
WORTH IT? Fans of
Bilal's work and architectural fetishists should want to check it out
despite the film's narrative weaknesses.