Friday, April 6, 2012
Flashy "Immortals" Mortally Flawed
Running time: 110 minutes (1 hour, 50 minutes)
MPAA – R for sequences of strong bloody violence, and a scene of sexuality
DIRECTOR: Tarsem Singh Dhandwar
WRITERS: Charles Parlapanides and Vlas Parlapanides
PRODUCERS: Mark Canton, Ryan Kavanaugh, and Gianni Nunnari
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Brendan Galvin (D.o.P.)
EDITORS: Wyatt Jones, Stuart Levy, and David Rosenbloom
COMPOSER: Trevor Morris
Starring: Henry Cavill, Mickey Rourke, Stephen Dorff, Freida Pinto, Luke Evans, John Hurt, Joseph Morgan, Alan Van Sprang, Isabel Lucas, and Kellan Lutz
The subject of this movie review is Immortals, a 2011 3D fantasy film (which I saw in traditional D). The film, which is loosely based on various Greek myths, follows the quest of a man seeking vengeance against the ruthless king who killed his mother.
In the year 1228 B.C., Hyperion (Mickey Rourke), the mortal Heraklion king, seeks the Epirus Bow, a weapon of immense power that can be used to slay immortals and gods. Hyperion will use the bow to free the enemies of the gods, the Titans, so that they can destroy Zeus (Luke Evans) and the other gods. His search for the bow takes Hyperion and his army to the village of Koplos.
During their rampage through the village, Hyperion kills the mother of Theseus (Henry Cavill), a highly skilled warrior. Theseus is shunned by his fellow villagers because he was born a bastard child, but the gods favor him. During his mission of vengeance, Theseus meets Phaedra (Freida Pinto), an Oracle priestess. Phaedra’s visions tell her that Theseus will play an integral part in Hyperion’s quest to free the Titans, but whose side Theseus will choose remains a mystery.
Director Tarsem Singh likely first made a big impression on pop culture because he directed the music video for the R.E.M. song, “Losing My Religion,” which won “Best Video of the Year” at the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards. I found the video to be as pretentious and as ridiculous as the song (although I like R.E.M.). He next gained attention for directing the Jennifer Lopez movie, the visually striking, but pretentious and dumb, The Cell.
Immortals is less pretentious and less dumb than the R.E.M. music video and The Cell, but still pretentious. Immortals is certainly visually striking; there were moments during the film when certain costumes, sets, and backdrops gave me pause and made me press the rewind button on the remote. Sadly, the movie seems like little more than a fairy tale that someone could tell in less than half an hour stretched past the breaking point in order to become a nearly two-hour long movie.
Immortals can be described as 300 and Troy retrofitted with elements of Lord of the Rings. So there are epic battles, clashes of supernatural beings, and big pre-battle speeches, but there is not much of a narrative.
I must say that Mickey Rourke gives a stellar performance as the brutal King Hyperion, but Rourke’s performance fashions a character that is better than the movie in which he plays the central villain. Henry Cavill’s performance is a mixed bag. Sometimes, Theseus is rousing; other times, the character doesn’t come across as the kind of great hero that an epic action fantasy film needs. Hopefully, Cavill does better next year when he debuts as the lead in the Superman film franchise reboot, The Man of Steel.
Immortals is not bad, but it isn’t particularly good. It is a movie with potential and lots of good elements that don’t quite come together. Thus, Immortals will likely be relegated to that great pile of mediocre movies that exists between the really good and highly entertaining stuff and the stand-out bad stuff.
5 of 10
Thursday, April 05, 2012