STARRING: Henry Cavill, Mickey Rourke,
Freida Pinto, Stephen Dorff, John Hurt
2011, 110 Minutes, Directed by:
it be cool if we could take a bunch of characters out of Greek mythology,
totally ignore most of the details, and turn them into a video game?
That, in a nutshell, is what is
going on with Immortals, a mash-up of ancient myth and CGI that often
looks very impressive, but doesn’t make a lot of sense. Seeing it in 3D doesn’t
make it any more coherent.
Theseus (Henry Cavill) is just
a regular guy who’s handy with sword and spear, and is willing to use them to
defend those he loves. Unfortunately the evil King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) is
after the famous and magical Epirus Bow so that he can free the Titans,
overthrow the gods and achieve some immortality for himself. Hyperion is
conquering various towns in search of the wonder bow, slaughtering or enslaving
most of the inhabitants. For Theseus this means he gets to watch Hyperion slit
his mother’s throat before being taken as a slave.
From that description you
should have a good idea where this has to go. The Titans, long imprisoned by the
gods, will have to be freed so they can duke it out again. The bow has to be
found with its power used for good and ill. And, of course, Theseus and Hyperion
have to cross paths before a climactic and decisive battle between the two of
them. So how do the filmmakers pad this out into a feature length movie?
First, there is Phaedra (Freida
Pinto), a virgin oracle who can get visions of the future so long
"What the movie is really about is the CGI battles . . ."
as she remains pure. When she
and Theseus escape together – what with both of them being hotties – it’s only a
matter of time before her powers are at risk. Then there are the gods, led by
Zeus (Luke Evans), who have a mighty unusual take on ancient Greek theology.
Instead of being capricious and powerful figures who use humans as playthings,
they sit around doing nothing asking only that humans have faith in them.
As if that’s not enough, Zeus
announces that the gods are to do nothing to interfere with the humans, who
possess “free will,” and that he has faith in them as he hopes they have faith
in him. Back on Earth, it is those who refuse to believe in these gods who are
denounced as heathens. It’s as if the screenwriters, knowing nothing about
mythology, decided that all religions are alike so let’s assume it’s no
different from a modern Judeo-Christian view.
That is only a distraction,
though, because what the movie is really about is the CGI battles. Heads get
chopped off, a tongue is cut out, people have their throats slit or are run
through with swords or have their heads smashed by a godly hammer or are simply
ripped apart by a chain-wielding Zeus. The blood flows in slow motion, just like
when you kill a zombie or whatever in a video game. For people who want to get
off on the battle scenes, all the rest is commentary.
impressive, which is not surprising coming from Tarsem Singh, the director of
The Cell and The Fall. One can
only hope that someday he’ll get a script that’s worthy of his visual talents.
With his twisted take on Snow White, Mirror, Mirror, set for 2012
release, perhaps it will be sooner than we might think.