Immortals (2011/Fox Blu-ray)
Sound: B+ Extras: A Film: B
Tales of ancient Greek heroes and gods have enjoyed a lot
of play over the last few years. It
seems Hollywood has rediscovered the tales and themes that made 1963’s Jason
and the Argonauts (finally on Blu-ray itself) and 1981’s Clash
of the Titans fan favorites for decades. In the wake of 2004’s Troy and 2007’s 300
comes Immortals. Unlike the
wretched 2010 remake of Clash of the Titans, this movie
possesses a spark of greatness. This is
not to say it is a great film, because it is not, but there are moments that
captivate, and commendable performances that make the film worth watching.
This two-disc set will give Greek mythology fans plenty to
sink their spears into. The story
follows a pretty tried and tested arc. King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) hates the
gods because his own family was cruelly struck down with no rhyme or
reason. He assembles a horrific army of
cultish followers and proceeds to make war on all those mortals who worship the
gods. All of this carnage really just masks Hyperion’s true goal: finding the amazing Epirus Bow, a magical
weapon so powerful it can kill gods.
With this bow, he can truly exact revenge on the beings he believes
wronged him. Only Phaedra (Freida Pinto)
and her prophetic sisters know the bow’s true location.
Enter Theseus (Henry Cavill). A disenchanted hero, Theseus
wants nothing more than to live a simple life and take care of his mother. They live in a small village along a mountainside
overlooking the sea. Unknown to Theseus,
he has been trained by Zeus in the guise of a mortal simply known as the Old
Man (John Hurt). They live a seemingly idyllic existence, but their village
lies directly in the path of Hyperion’s army. Soon Hyperion’s marauders arrive
and chaos ensues.
Through all of the film’s action we’re treated to scenes
of the gods themselves looking on. Zeus
(Luke Evans) forbids them to interfere to stop Hyperion. It seems mortal men must stand on their own.
Director Tarsem Singh’s approach to the gods provides a striking contrast to
what we saw in classics like Argonauts and Titans. Instead of a lot of white marble and white
togas, the gods in Immortals are alive with
color, and there are some MC Escher-like elements reflected in their immortal
abode. When they move and act (mostly
unseen by mere mortals) they explode into motion. When they do defy Zeus’ edict and intercede
on behalf of mortals, the brilliant use of CGI and other effects truly
separates them from their human foes.
provides a ripping action yarn set against the backdrop of Ancient Greece. Myths and magic collide, Mickey Rourke chews
the scenery with fiendish delight as Hyperion, and Freida Pinto looks
absolutely ravishing in the role of the tortured seeress. Mr. Cavill also looks amazing, and director
Singh’s action sequences take full advantage of the amazing condition he and
his cast mates are in. This set provides
an alternate opening and two alternate endings. If you’re unhappy with the way the film ends,
you might want to check out your other options. A featurette thoroughly
explores the director’s vision in making this film, and a second disc provides
a full digital version of the movie for easy portability on personal viewing devices.
While not perfect (the CGI can be jarring in spots, and
story has its plot holes), Immortals is artfully made filled
to the brim with action. While the
graphic violence sets it firmly apart from the aforementioned classics in the
genre, its spirited vision of the Greek myths give it an honesty and
credibility that some other modern takes on this genre have lacked.
- Scott Pyle