BY RICK JACKSON
Loosely based on the Greek myths of Theseus and the Minotaur and the Titanomachy, Immortals is a complete waste of time. Like 300 (2007) it depends entirely on violence and little plot. With John Hurt as the narrator and the Old Man, his presence intermittently helps move the action along so you can follow what's going on. What happens when he is off screen is a maddeningly and deepening exercise in total boredom for the characters look as if they are waiting on cue to act and when they do the result is one bloody mess literally, which I said in my review of 300 on March 24, 2007.
In their screenplay, Charley and Vlas Parlapanides focus on the Epirus Bow because it's owner will possess worldly power which includes, sadly, the destruction of mankind. Well, this isn't science fiction but an epic making disaster where the gods are told (and we too) that it is forbidden for them to interfere with man. This, of course, is ignored and they go ahead and do it anyway. It seems the plot is given short shrift and the ensuing episodes of blood and guts ruin any chance for the film to redeem itself.
Mickey Rourke is having good time playing the King Hyperion and, although he is built for the part, there is not a lot of originality in his scheme to rule the world. His determination to get the famous bow is predictable at the best and worst of times and the battles are second rate when you think of better scenes in Troy and The Mummy movies. You only get what director Tarsem Singh wants to give you and he comes up short on entertainment and long on violence reminiscent of Excalibur (1981). The same director did The Cell (2000) which I put in my ten best list.
Freida Pinto adds a touch of welcome sanity with her role as Phaedra and Henry Cavill plays Theseus with enough credibility to make the story work on the simplistic level.
What does serve everything better is the 3D cinematography for it adds to the use of colour for the period by contributing the 3D effect without having to wear the glasses. Everything is glaring and clear to the naked eye and you can appreciate more the uncharted waters of war the story is trying to maintain a certain consistency of thought so as not to throw off your patience and give you a monstrous headache, which it may do anyway.
The slashing sequences feature beheadings and other bloody examples of the era depicted here and it all boils down to much ado about nothing over a weapon that never convinces you of its power. It isn't anything like the sword in Excalibur either.
Many of the supporting cast come and go and you aren't sure if they died or not. The unusual extravagant temper of the director's own ideas to make a film like this are ruined by an overactive imagination with little thought to make it believable. Even the sets look phony, the music score fails to generate enough interest to hold your attention, and the makeup ghastly.
Suffice to say, Immortals is not worth recommending at all.
It is rated 18A, with the warnings: brutal violence and sexual content.
November 13, 2011
Copyright Rick Jackson 2011