Monday, November 14, 2011


Director: Tarsem (or Tarsem Singh; he needs to decide and stick with it)
Stars: Henry Cavill, Freida Pinto, Mickey Rourke and a bunch of other miscast actors

To say that I'm a fan of visuals would be a gross understatement.  I will forgive a movie if it is aesthetically pleasing to me. Stunning visuals are why I love and will always forgive Tim Burton. Zack Snyder is another director with a distinct eye and style. I think his talent was proven with 300 which has since been copied to no end.  That 'tree of the dead' alone was worth the price of admission for me.  I had high hopes for Sucker Punch but writing is an issue for him.  Sucker Punch was still visually interesting though not beautiful.  It had a list of problems that were unforgivable, so much so that I'll never be able to watch it again.

I can't say the same for Immortals. As many problems as it had, and there were lots, I'd totally watch it again.  I'm a sucker for Tarsem's movies.  To say the dude has vision would be another gross understatement.  His movies, at times grotesque, are beautiful to behold.  More often than not there are issues of story, pacing, character development, dialogue and casting but his movies are just so darn amazing to look at that I don't care about anything else.  He's only directed 3 movies in 11 years but is already working on his fourth, Mirror Mirror, due out in 2012. His two movies previous to this were The Cell and The Fall.  The former had a bigger audience and the latter had me and my mom as its audience.  It only made $79k its opening weekend.  The story and plot in The Fall are very weak but the visuals, oh the visuals:

They're surrounded by whirling dervishes!

The Cell had quite a freaky but amazing style as well:

But I should be focusing on Immortals, right?  As I said, the movie has problems and they include Tarsem's typical problems.  It starts with an OK story, a wonky plot, and casting decisions that must have been made in a back alley somewhere.  First I should clarify that Henry Cavill was fantastic as Theseus and will be a superb Superman. John Hurt was great as the "Old Man" but then he's always great.  Luke Evans was fine as Zeus but didn't make much of an impact on me. Same would be said for Freida Pinto was fine as the Oracle, Phaedra.  The problems began with Mickey Rourke as Hyperion (REALLY!?!?) and didn't end there.  Stephen Dorff, who has his place in Blade-type movies, was oddly placed as a Greek soldier.  Also generally out of their league were Isabel Lucas as Athena and Kellan "Check out my abs" Lutz as Poseidon.  Thankfully the model goddess and beefcake gods didn't have a lot of acting to do.  Actually there really isn't a whole lot of acting going on at all and we're better off that way.

Magical, glowy bow and arrow
This brings me to the story.  Hmmm, I wish I had a degree in Greek mythology because I'd be less confused.  Or maybe it could have been a bit plainer in the movie.  Or I'm just dim.  Take your pick.  Theseus is a poor schmuck who has been trained by Zeus (in disguise as an old man) to be a great fighter.  Hyperion, a war-hungry king, wants this magical bow with glowy arrows so that he can unleash the Titans who are stuck in a big box inside Mount Tartarus or something.  Phaedra, the oracle, has a vision that if Theseus stands with Hyperion then Greece will crumble.  I dunno.  Theseus, Phaedra and a few others wander around causing problems for Hyperion and periodically the gods get involved which is a no-no and pisses Zeus off.  Hyperion manages to get his hands on the bow and releases the Titans. The gods must come down and keep them contained to the mountain, which was a pretty cool scene: 
One of the golden gods tryin' to keep a Titan down.
So, let's see...casting was kinda bad; story was meh, plot bad, but the fighting was cool.  Bloody but cool.  In fact, so violent I closed my eyes a couple of times but still cool.  It's worth noting at this point that I did not see the movie in 3D.  It seemed way darker than his other movies and 3D glasses darken everything anyway.  It is really not necessary to see it in 3D.  I could practically feel the brain and blood spatter just as much as a 3D audience.  Because it was literally darker he didn't do as many of his grand, sweeping shots as he usually does.  In fact my favorite shot doesn't really come through as a screencap:
The sky behind Hyperion and his army was pretty incredible on the big screen.  I think my one complaint about the visuals were how computer-generated they felt.  In The Fall, the huge, amazing shots all felt like you could go to whatever location it was and see it for yourself.  The locations in Immortals don't strike me as actually existing anywhere.  But that's fine.  They were still beautiful and he made it entertaining.  The scene where Zeus takes out his anger on Aries was pretty cool:
This brings me to my last topic of costuming.  While mostly over-the-top it's still impressive.  Aries, on the right up there, did a good job of keeping that thing on his head for most of his screen time.  Poseidon (below), while not wearing much clothing also had some nifty headgear:
The gods have blessed themselves with washboard abs.
So overall I really enjoyed it and would totally watch it again.  If you do have any interest in seeing it, I'd recommend seeing it in a theater on a large screen.  It's totally worth it.

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