Blu-Ray Review: Immortals

Director: Tarsem Singh Dhandwar
Writers: Vlas Parlapanides, Charley Parlapanides
Stars: Henry Cavill, Freida Pinto, Stephen Dorff, Luve Evans, Isabel Lucas, Mickey Rourke, Kellan Lutz
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
MPAA: Rated R

Plot: Before the dawn of man or beast, immortals wage war against each other. The victors name themselves gods while the vanquished are named Titans and imprisoned beneath Mount Tartarus. The Epirus Bow, a weapon of immense power, is lost on Earth during the war. In 1228 B.C., the mortal Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) searches for the Bow, intending to use it to release the Titans to spite the gods for failing to save his family. Hyperion captures the virgin oracle Phaedra (Freida Pinto), believing that she can find the Bow’s resting place. In a small village nearby, the inhabitants prepare to flee to Tartarus to avoid Hyperion’s army. One inhabitant, Theseus (Henry Cavill), is a skilled warrior trained by his mentor, the old man (John Hurt).


Review: The visuals in this film are arresting. You can’t watch this movie without being enamored by the style of cinematography, the color palette, and the visual effects utilized throughout this film. There’s certainly a visual symmetrical balance used throughout ‘Immortals’ that captures your attention. This symmetry is awe-inspiring as you struggle to digest some of the scenes that are a bit more visually dense, but you enjoy every bit of it as the film is admittedly striking and attractive to watch. The use of color is a mechanic used to promote eye movement over the entire canvas and it’s well worth the effort. This approach to cinematography is a known practice director Tarsem (The Cell; The Fall) Singh and works wonders to retain your attention throughout the entirety of this film.

Accomodations on Mount Olympus come with a view.
Good guy 1000 mile stare
Good guy 1000 mile stare

The introduction of our hero Theseus, (Caville), also seems forced. The character is forced into the role of a hero with very little explanation of his backstory. It’s hard to root for the Hero of a film when you don’t even know why you should other than the fact that “He’s a good guy”. This level of character development is evident throughout the film and makes you wonder if the movie was simply made for the director to paint a pretty picture on an ugly canvas. Henry Caville delivers a decent performance and takes ownership for the role of ‘Theseus’ as well as he can. He does his absolute best with what he’s given and he’s able to pull off a lot of great action sequences, show off impeccable abdominals for sex appeal, and manages to do well when delivering an inspirational speech. His character Theseus is apprehensively assumes the role of leadership and most of the other characters are completely pivoted by Caville who more than aptly handles the role.
Stephen Dorff’s character ‘Stavros’ accompanies Theseus throughout a good portion of the film and is a very welcome addition to the cast bringing some experienced acting and light-hearted humor to this film. He’s certainly not a major player but is definitely a welcome and lifting addition. Freida Pinto is wonderful eye candy throughout the film and makes me wonder when we’ll get to enjoy more of her presence in film. She’s not perfect and there’s room for improvement with her acting but she is serviceable throughout the film and isn’t an overall detriment. Mickey Rourke is intimidating throughout the film and delivers a subdued but a visceral performance. He makes you realize why Hyperion should be feared with minimal action that delivers maximum effect. You’d almost think his character was a fairly passive guy if not for the incredibly gruesome and polarizing acts of violence performed by his character throughout the film. John Hurt, Luke Evans, and Isabelle Lucas are also part of this film but their use is questionable. Rarely do you feel that these characters are playing ‘Gods’ and are omnipotent to the other characters in the movie. I don’t fault the characters but rather the narrative and wonder if their casting was moreso to further the development of visual symmetry by casting attractive people just to have their presence on-screen.

Pectoral PowerPlay

Although this movie is pretty to look at they tend to be marred by the disjointed and underdeveloped storytelling for this film. The narrative progression and character introduction is often so abrupt coupled with instances of dialogue that underwhelms often disrupts the enjoyment of the film. To add to that the film is fairly predictable as you can take pieces of dialogue and assume exactly how the film will progress. To put it bluntly the story progression seems downright forced on more than one occasion and can easily be summarized as “Hyperion wants revenge on the gods for being jerks, Hyperion seeks mythical weapon that we know he’ll find, everyone fears and flees Hyperion for also being a jerk, Hyperion finds and uses a mythical weapon with little to no opposition from anyone in the world.” Sorry if I just spoiled things, but it’s not rocket science in the least. The story even delivers an unsatisfying and rushed conclusion to the film. All throughout the film you expect to fear these ‘Titans’. They don’t deliver and when it comes to being the looming ‘big bad threat’ and even Stavros was able to take a couple of them so they’re a little underwhelming in that regard.

Unimpressive

Overall this film was enjoyable. I enjoyed watching the visuals and was often mesmerized by the complex settings and the intentional visual weight balancing. It occasionally distracted me from the weak, predictable, and contrived storytelling utilized by this film which, to me, was more reminiscent of an elongated episode of ‘Hercules: The Legendary Journeys’ with Caville filling as Hercules and Dorff as “Iolus”. The film relies heavily on the visual symmetry throughout the locations, wardrobe, backgrounds, and even the casting with most of the Gods exemplifying this approach with model-esque good looks having that symmetrical balance worthy of a runway. It’s a great film to own on Blu-Ray but don’t expect great depth but rather pretty people with intense action.

The Disc is packed with extra features giving 2 alternate endings and an alternate beginning for the film as well. I wasn’t fond of either of the alternate endings but with they used an amalgamation of the 3 to better satisfy the conclusion of the film. The real shame is that the alternate beginning was left on the cutting room floor as this deleted scene actually Fleshed out the back story of our hero Theseus and better developed his relationship with John Hurt’s ‘Old Man’ character. Yes, they deleted the motivation for better understanding the main character of this movie, need I say more?

 

6 out of 10

Great visuals, incredible action sequences
Predictable story, contrived characters

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About Anthony Whyte

Content Manager | Senior Editor | Daydreamer | Keep your head on a swivel and don't blink