I love and appreciate what director Tarsem Singh attempts to do. His former movies were met with ugly reactions from people but I enjoyed both The Fall and The Cell with Jennifer Lopez and Vince Vaughn. It's almost as if this guy suckers major Hollywood studios to give him big bloated blockbuster-sized budgets to make art films that he sees in his head. The end result is a movie that may not tell a great, original story or develop characters that well, but the visuals alone are dazzling enough to enjoy it. Immortals is keeping that tradition perfectly.
The story of Immortals is from Greek legends. I can't really say it's from one in particular since it mixes all different kinds and makes a large portion of it up. A real shame since the actual Greek legends of the Gods are interesting enough to not have to fudge it so much. That's why when the Romans took over the world, they kept the stories exactly the same and just changed all the characters' names. So if it's good enough for the Roman Empire...why wasn't it good enough for Singh?
The film stars Henry Cavill (HBO's The Tudors, Stardust) as Theseus, the man born from a human mother and Zeus for a father...although that's not the origin for this movie. He's joined by Mickey Rourke (Iron Man 2, The Wrestler), Stephen Dorff (Blade, Public Enemies) and Frieda Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire, Rise of the Planet of the Apes). Each one of these actors does the best they could with the limited script that they had. Even Oscar-nominee Rourke tried to mumble through the lines he was given to create some kind of character but aside from a thinly spread plot, there are no discernable characters.
Just like with any movie from Singh, the visuals are stunning. Out of the films he's done, this one seems the least imaginative but that could only be because 300 and every film of that time period since has now made those iconic images seem hackneyed. Regardless, Immortals keeps every scene interesting with at least something to look at. Some points need to be docked though for early scenes of Theseus' home village being shot on a set that makes it look like a life-sized diorama made by a 5th grader for school. Maybe that was the intention though since his journey gets bigger and bigger as does the sets.
American audiences are totally prepared to sit and chomp popcorn at a movie that is poorly scripted and vague in story as long as you give them great action. Sadly for Immortals, it doesn't. Make no mistake that the final half hour more than makes up for it with an orgy of bloody violence and fantastical fight sequences, but the other 80 minutes are relatively barren of action. That could be a fatal mistake for most people who will flock to the theaters still searching for the thrills that 300 gave them, only to be rewarded at the end if they manage to stay awake.
Immortals (Rated R)
Gavin Grade: C+