Directed by Tarsem Singh and written by Charley and Vlas Parlapanides, Immortals is the latest brutalisation of Greek mythology. Greece is in turmoil as King Hyperion is rampaging across the country in search of the Empirus Bow which has the power to destroy anything. A power which he seeks to free the shackled titans with, who in turn will kill the gods leaving Hyperion free to rule over man. The only man who can prevent this fate is Theseus, the man who Zeus has placed his trust in.
To be blunt, Immortals is an awful film with nothing positive other to say other than it ends. First off let’s take a look at the story which has problems all over the place not so much is the accuracy to Greek mythology. Perhaps mythology isn’t like the adaptation of a straight-laced book or reality in that straying from the formula is frowned upon, interpretation is just as valid a story telling tool as re-imagination. Still, when you take something as vividly colourful and imaginative as the titans and turn them into something as boring as they have done here, it really does ask questions. The titans were descendants of the gods Gaia and Uranus, who have been adapted in many ways, most famously titanic men and women who were destined to forever walk the world in servitude of the gods on Mount Olympus. To turn a mythology which includes a giant who has to carry the sky on his back into a box full of crusty mad-men with a blood lust illuminates how devoid of invention this is.
The characters are equally poorly served. The Parlapanides’ turn one of the titans, Hyperion, into an earth-bound king who has problems with legacy and the gods. He also has an aggression problem, at one point King Hyperion pokes the eyes out of one of his soldiers for little to no reason. His character has no depth, just like his counter point in Theseus who is only as interesting as the mass of ripples adorning his chest.
Mickey Rourke plays Hyperion and he speaks with an incredible gruffness that demands subtitles. When he isn’t speaking like a troll, he is chewing the only scenery available in food, Rourke has many scenes where he ‘method eats’, spitting and spewing as noisily as noisily can be. Needless to say, Mickey Rourke has rarely been this bad. His name will be made with Zack Synder’s Superman; in the meantime Henry Cavill plays Theseus. This interpretation lacks depth; he is defined only by the much used honesty and desire to protect his loved-ones which evolves through external pressures to protect his people. His performance is fine and he does the best with the little he has, unfortunately his character is served with so little in the script. Take the one inevitability in any of these films; whether it is Gladiator or Braveheart, there is always a speech to rally support. Here it doesn’t hit any mark deeper than ‘go on” and “I’ll be your friend”. Elsewhere, Frieda Pinto revisits the role of her career by saying little but looking beautiful while doing so and a stand-out performance from Luke Evans as an indomitable and domineering Zeus.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but it isn’t 1999 and The Matrix hasn’t just been released. Yes, I didn’t think so. Well it seems that director Tarsem Singh has missed the past 12 years because the only which makes the fight scenes standout is the fact that certain moments are slowed right down al a matrix. There’s even a scene which copies the infamous hammer corridor scene from OldBoy only with more tights, sandals and muscles. On an even more basic level, their aren’t the set pieces to get the adrenaline pumping; in there place hundreds of bodies are thrown on-screen at a time blinding the viewer to the one-dimensional nature.
Worst of all is the editing. In America, the worst rating a film can be is an 18 and the film is trying to be a hyper violent action film whilst never been violent enough to warrant an 18 and the editing reflects that. Which begs the question, why make the film so violent if you want a specific rating? It’s unbelievably stupid. The product of this comes forth on three of four occasions where the camera cuts away from the blow. Great editing is either supposed to be a stylistic statement or go unnoticed and here it’s just about the worst editing job one can see.
Tarsem Singh’s film is an abomination which confuses style for bleaching the film with yellow. Seriously, using a horrible colour palette is not to be confused with style or visual aplomb. Immortals is a poorly realised, badly directed and optimistically sequel baiting action spectacular which is anything but. Immortals was made with all the assurance and craft that will never escape the bottom of the barrel.