Director Tarsem Singh, known for his work on The Cell and The Fall, is one of the most visually stimulating filmmakers around. Continuing to cross the lines between cinema and art, Immortals, is a bloody, gilded gory feast for Greek mythology fans. In his most commercial work to date, Tarsem delivers a popcorn epic that relies heavily on striking special effects and the physical beauty of his lead characters. But will this stylized, big-budget swords and shields epic be found worthy?
PLOT: Theseus is a mortal man chosen by Zeus to lead the fight against the ruthless King Hyperion, who is on a rampage across Greece to obtain a weapon that can destroy humanity.
DIRECTOR: Tarsem Singh
CAST: Henry Cavill, Mickey Rourke and John Hurt
GENRE: Action | Drama | Fantasy
AGE RESTRICTION: 16 (Strong Violence, Mild Sex)
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The film starts out with a vision by a virgin oracle priestess, Phaedra (Freida Pinto), who foresees an impending doom; a group of immortals known as Titans imprisoned in a large square structure will be set free. As the narration, which follows, continues to explain; before the dawn of man or beast, immortals waged war against each other. The victors named themselves gods while the vanquished were named the Titans and imprisoned beneath Mount Tartarus.
Mad with power, King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) has declared war on humanity and the gods. He searches for the Epirus Bow, a weapon on immense power lost during the war between the gods, destroying every city along the way. In accordance to the ancient laws, it is forbidden for gods to intervene and they can do nothing more than watch as Hyperion mocks them and slaughters their followers. Their only hope of ending the war is a peasant named Theseus (Henry Cavill), who is chosen by Zeus and accompanied by Phaedra to protect his homeland. But will Theseus be able to stop Hyperion from releasing the Titans?
Those who prefer their stories with more credible truths will discover many inaccuracies in the historical background of Hyperion, one of the twelve Titan gods of Ancient Greece. But I guess if you’re going to mess with Greek mythology, you might as well make it pretty. And that’s exactly what Tarsem does well. Although he fails at delivering a strong story he certainly makes up with impressive visuals.
It’s too obvious to compare Immortals to 300 since it has both the same producer and the same approach to the material (dark clouds, slow motion action of swords clanging, spears flying, wounds opening, people dying). The popularity of the God of War video game and Zach Snyder’s 300 has certainly set Hollywood’s focus back on Greek mythology. And while Immortals is head and shoulders above Clash of the Titans it is by no means half as good as the bolder and more daring 300, which offered a deeper narrative, with more powerful characters.
Viewers will pay little attention to the actors here, who offer the same ol’ same ol’ we’ve seen a thousand times before. Their moderate performances highlight the fact that Tarsem still hasn’t discovered his strengths beyond cinematography. Indeed were it not for Mickey Rourke, Immortals might have been a waste of time.