Reviews

Immortals

2

Hats entertainment…

However bleak the future appears for Greece right now, at least it can comfort itself with the knowledge that the roost isn’t ruled by Mickey Rourke’s loopy king Hyperion, the big bad in Tarsem Singh’s stylised actioner.

Here, the mad monarch has put the country to the sword in his quest to locate a magical bow that will enable him to get payback against Zeus (Luke Evans) and the rest of the gods up on Mount Olympus.

Luckily, mankind has a saviour in Theseus (Man Of Steel Henry Cavill), a conveniently ripped stonemason who leads the resistance against Rourke’s legions after his mum joins the butchered.

The stage is set for a spectacular showdown in the vein of Troy, 300 and other ancient epics. Or it would be, had Singh not allowed his elaborate design concept – think Clash Of The Titans meets Caravaggio – to take precedence over story, character and forward momentum.

When they arrive, the battles are stirring, majestic and eye-popping. Between them, alas, lie chasms of boredom, sibling writers Charley and Vlas Parlapanides advancing the plot at a glacial pace that makes that allusion to paintings only too fitting.

With so little to get invested in, don’t be surprised if you find yourself pondering why Rourke’s helmet looks like a giant lobster or why Poseidon’s seashell head-piece resembles a bra.

The dialogue, meanwhile, is beyond clunky, whether bellowed by Cavill, rasped by Rourke or sneerily thrown away by Stephen Dorff’s cynical thief.

Immortals rouses itself out of its self-imposed slumber during a bruising Minotaur face-off, a thunderous scrap inside a tunnel and the gods’ climactic battle against some newly freed titans who make up in speed and ferocity what they lack in, well, titan-ness.

But since we never feel there is much at stake, it’s hard to care who wins out in a film that proves visual flair alone does not a satisfying blockbuster make.

Verdict:

Good-looking to a fault, Immortals boasts moments of undeniable grandeur. Elsewhere, though, it is deathly dull. Tarsem Singh may well be an artistic visionary. Unfortunately, his sense of storytelling here is vision-impaired.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • MikeyRix

      Nov 10th 2011, 14:05

      Bwaha knew it. After the director's comments and everything I've read about it...I just knew it would get this kind of reception. That's all.

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    • writerdave87

      Nov 10th 2011, 17:20

      Yeah pretty much had this pegged from the first trailer.

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    • willow138

      Nov 12th 2011, 1:56

      really wanted it to be good for Cavill . he is from my best mates parish in jersey and he is a legend of a guy

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    • FBALyta

      Nov 12th 2011, 20:52

      Download films in HD http://hdload.blogspot.com/

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    • MrMefo

      Nov 13th 2011, 14:41

      2

      Make-up tends to reveal more than it conceals, that's its irony – and Immortals', too. The make-up of this movie is its visual scrumptious deliciousness, as presented closer to the eye (!) in that other facade, 3D. Not a single scene is spared digital coaxing, leaving nothing honestly genuine, other than Henry Cavill's abs. Immortals' unashamedly dedicated to its sublime artifice, forgetting perhaps that an artifice never wholly guarantees satisfaction. No, something's not there, under its pants. Oh, yeah – a comprehensible narrative. The story's premise, however, has 'movie' written all over it: Theseus (Cavill) embarks upon a campaign of revenge against the man who murdered his mother, the coolly callous (or callously cool?) Mickey Rourke as King Hyperion. Secretly chosen by Zeus, Theseus must prevent Hyperion from fulfilling his search for the Epirus Bow – a weapon with the devastating ability to unleash the Titans, and to fire a lethal shot at the very heart of humankind. But the narrative betrays the crispness promised by the story, plodding along, helplessly, with eager fingertips anticipating the next salvaging fight sequence. Reduced to a simple sword-and-sandal spectacle, gone are the subtle complexities of Greek mythology, as the movie indulges in its action-heavy heavy action – complete with war-cries ("Fight...for...immortality!"), women orgasm-ing, chiselled bodies, wise-old men (see: John Hurt), and action susceptible to be momentarily slowed-down, you know, for original effect. Formulaic to the point of boring, this movie inspires moments of utter despair, as even cliché becomes a clichéd word to describe it. For Zeus's sake! Jesus Christ. I mean, Theseus. Rourke hisses and snarls and gnarls his way to the movie's strongest performance, as confirmed by his threats for physical and sexual mutilation paling in comparison to his sadistic, grotesque treatment of fruit – getting it stuck in his beard and all! If only Rourke would have put the fruit aside for the irritable Freida Pinto, playing the (briefly) virgin Oracle. Cavill's supreme good-guy – yet another crass simplification – is still tolerable, if only that his role requires he be nothing more. We're only here for the main acts, the rest of the ensemble slide into oblivion and we don't care. How long can I go without mentioning 300? Oh, nevermind. Like director Tarsem Singh's friend's Spartan epic, Immortals strives to cover its deficits through visual stylisations, including wonderfully extravagant costume and set design. Truly, it's a visual treat of which my sweet tooth never tired, serving image-upon-image of Caravaggio-like colourful vibrancy against solid backgrounds. Trevor Morris' imposing score intrudes on our auditory sense as the visual does on our, well, visual one – leaving little but scraps for the mind. I knew Immortals was an entertaining experience when I forgot the eye- ache of the unrealised 3D in favour of immersing myself in the sensual orgy of colours and images. Trust me, leave your mind at home, you won't need it. As we know it, to be immortal is to be remembered. For all its talk of immortality, it's ironic, that Immortals does not achieve it.

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    • writerdave87

      Nov 13th 2011, 19:25

      Mr Mefo you wouldn't be angling for a job would you? Nicely written ;)

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    • writerdave87

      Nov 13th 2011, 19:25

      Mr Mefo you wouldn't be angling for a job would you? Nicely written ;)

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    • FBJLampard

      Nov 13th 2011, 21:31

      4

      It's odd that Total Film criticises 'The Immortals' for it's artistic direction taking centre stage over story telling yet how it gives 5 stars to Malick's 'Tree of Life' is beyond me. At least The Immortals was comprehensible! I knew exactly what I was in for when I watched this film, and I'm sure those that choose to watch it will be watching it with the same knowledge. Singh is an incredibly talented director, creating visuals, sets and costumes that are unrivalled in film today. Of course there are slow bits in the film, but who can name an epic that is full throttle all the way through? Refn said that he used dialogue as foreplay to his violence in Drive, and I believe Singh has done the same. I knew that it would be incredibly visual and whilst Singh may not create the best narrative arcs, he kept me entertained throughout.

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      Nov 14th 2011, 1:48

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    • MrMefo

      Nov 14th 2011, 16:14

      @writerdave87 -- only for your compliment, thank you.

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    • Chandler

      Nov 16th 2011, 4:06

      I agree with FPJLampard! It was a highly entertaining and incredible visual feast to behold on the cinema! Even my Wife who doesn't normally like these type of films loved it too. The production, costume design, supreemly freaky helmets, 'The Bull ' fight , the shockingly beautiful violence and overall 'WOW' factor blew us away. It's a very easy film to pick holes in if you are looking for them, many critics have done but some embrace it for what rare artistic talent is on display . Although character admittedly was failry thin, Mickey was a fantastic villian. If you WANT to see it then you will LOVE it! Go see it

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    • Chandler

      Nov 16th 2011, 4:10

      See it on the cinema and DON"T download it then have an opinion of it as too many do now, it deserves to be seen on the biggest screen. In fact I want to see it again which is very rare for me!

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    • chaosdefined

      Nov 16th 2011, 12:34

      3

      Total Film is complaining about the lack of action and becoming bored? I thought this was a Film magazine, not a lads mag! Personally I really enjoyed Immortals. Visually it was stunning, I felt the story engaging and I cared about the characters. Granted the script wasn't Hamlet or the like, but the characters felt like they had actual worries and concerns. Hyperion wasn't just a typical bad guy, he had reasons and beliefs. The Gods even appeared human in their concerns and worries, and Luke Evans was fantastic at humanising Zeus. The only complaint I had was that the 3D was a waste.

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    • jonnykerr13

      Nov 26th 2011, 18:30

      ***FBJLampard... 'The Tree Of Life' had substance as well as style. The human story in that film was astounding and was complimented nicely by the stylish CGI. Complimented being the key word here. Essentially, the difference between the two was that Malick's masterpiece engrossed and captivated you for the full run time. The story was brilliantly acted. Singh's 'Immortals' shows very impressive action scenes, however the story is seriously lacking in substance and intelligence and I truly couldn't care less who lived or died. That'd be why 'Tree of Life' achieved *****

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    • FBJLampard

      Dec 4th 2011, 16:21

      @jonnykerr13-Maybe for the film snobs 'Tree of Life' deserves 5*, but it had nothing enjoying other than the visuals. Masterpiece is an exaggeration if I've ever seen one! There was nothing I saw in 'Tree of Life' that couldn't have been made by any keen film maker with a Mac and Nikon. 'Tree of Life' didn't engross or capture for the elongated run time, since I turned it off due to boredom. I don't turn many films off, but recently I've had to do it with 'Tree of Life' and 'Drive Angry'. Immortals doesn't pretend to be anything other than a swords and sandals visual feast, and sometimes people need films like this to switch off from all the pretentiousness in film.

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