Immortals

Theseus the Chosen One

         
 

12 November 2011| No Comments     by Sean Chavel

 

Greek mythology relegated to a violent cartoon style, but it dazzles. Immortals pits peasant Theseus (Henry Cavill) against King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) and his dark legion of conquerors, but he gets a powerful priestess named Phaedra (Friedo Pinto) to accelerate his cause. It’s a blood feast action picture swathed in visually sensuous photography and lighting, CGI-enhanced ultraviolet skies, bold red costumes and ornamental fabrics, and of course you have the spectral Gods of Mount Olympus looking down upon Earth. Do not expect to find any operative erudite or comprehensive mythology for it merely entertains in a broad sense. Tarsem Singh (“The Cell,” “The Fall”) is the gifted director behind the extravagance. But while the early action scenes deliver a brute mightiness, the violent combat tilts into video game aesthetics with globs of synthetic digital blood bursting in the air – this becomes tiring. Still, it’s more stimulating nonsense than its genre cousin “Clash of the Titans” (2010).

Opening with a bizarre but visually lurid scene of Titans trapped inside a prison cell with their teeth locked on gold rods, and presto, a thunderbolt bursts them free. You can only guess whose side they happen to be on, and as it would happen, they’re on the evil side you root against. When we meet Theseus on one of Greece’s spectacular but special effects’ manufactured cliffs, we assume he’s more powerful than he actually ends up proving. But when his mother is among the slaughtered in the village, his wrath holds no limits. Yet he’s captured and tossed to the side as weak fodder. But he is touched by the Gods to become a Mighty Warrior, with Phaedra instilling him with further vigor via fornication. Bravo must be paid to Pinto’s butt double, too.

Warriors are needed to save the fate of the world. Rourke as King Hyperion is so goddamn cruel and ruthless that he must be overcome, and who else but Theseus could lead the revolution? Rourke, in scene after scene, snarls at his captives, humiliates and tortures them. There isn’t anything more complex about the King, though. For all the conquering, he doesn’t seem to have the pleasure for women or the pleasure for converting his own followers into faithful sycophants. Rourke wears a helmet embroidered by teeth, but beyond that, this is a King without decadence, without flamboyance. He simply hates the Gods. The stupid presumption can be made that he wants to conquer Earth and conquer the Heavens as well if, err, that’s possible.

Speaking of Godly strength, Poseidon dives down from the skies to create a tsunami that wipes out the bad guys, and yet, the good guys miraculously jump out of the way – of course, an oracle to foresee the disaster was channeled. This has no business with being a necessary scene except that it looks cool. But that’s the case for much that’s left in “Immortals,” a sensuous extravaganza that’s only senseless in the mental department. Also pursued is the Epirus Bow which shoots arrows with astral impact, and yet, there seems to be only one of them and it comes from nowhere, or maybe it came from the heavens. But oh, how unexplained. (You have to get past these things to enjoy “Immortals.”)

Stephen Dorff is woefully out of place as a thief turned soldier with putty sexual come-ons. John Hurt is the Zeus in vulnerable human form who mutters wisdom that is not much more than quasi-wisdom, really. Luke Evans plays the all-powerful divine Zeus who crash-lands to Earth to smash and clobber all opposition. As for the leads, Cavill doesn’t have the gravitas of Russell Crowe but he makes enough of a sturdy hero, and Pinto has the precise ethereal beauty necessary for this kind of role. You might not be fully convinced you saw gods in “Immortals” but you can be sure that you will find one goddess.

110 Minutes. Rated R.

ACTION-ADVENTURE / MYTHOLOGY / WEEKEND DEBAUCHERY

Film Cousins: “Jason and the Argonauts” (1963); “Flash Gordon” (1980); “The Fall” (2006); “300” (2007); “Clash of the Titans” (2010).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.

 

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