Immortals Review

In Tarsem Singh’s Immortals, elements of ‘real’ Greek mythology are embroidered in a highly stylised, sumptuous palate; the film is an entertaining, if preposterous, look at the ancient fates of gods and men. Theseus has been chosen by the gods to save Greece from the ravages of King Hyperion and his plan to release the deadly Titans. With the help of a beautiful prophetess, Theseus must find and defend an ancient McGuffin weapon in order to protect his people from destruction.

As Theseus, Henry Cavill plays the ordinary-but-gifted everyman rather well (which in turn bodes well for Zack Snyder’s Superman re-boot with Cavill as the man of steel); whilst not the most complex of characters he is nicely understated and natural; not what I was expecting. His delivery of some of the more silly lines feels real–a bonus in such a fantastical film. Cavill has enough of a heroic mien to endure the film’s call for a straight champion and not end up as totally one-dimensional. Mickey Rourke’s gravelly-voiced Hyperion is suitably dark and malicious, employing a crack force of torturers as well as committing his own fair share of murderous acts, the scarred king is one of Rourke’s better character matches. The beautiful Freida Pinto adds a touch of softness to the action, as well as providing that extra level to the film­–the love story–that every Hollywood producer appears to insist upon.

A nice feature of Singh’s vision is the appearance of the gods themselves. With not a beard in sight, these are not the hoary old masters we have come to recognise as Zeus and his counterparts, but young, strong, attractive creatures – all of which makes perfect sense. If you were a near all-powerful deity, wouldn’t you choose to be young and beautiful instead of greying and elderly? There are also some unfortunate choices of headgear, apparently too outlandish even for the Greek pantheon, which caused a smattering of giggles amongst the audience, but on the whole, the majesty of golden gods is quite something.

Comparisons with 300 are bound to emerge, and while the subject matter and some of the fight scenes bear a similarity, the tone is quite different. It is less absurdly macho, with a greater emphasis on beautiful imagery; Immortals feels more like fairytale mythology than bloody retelling of historical crusades. That is not to suggest that it isn’t violent, it has plenty of violence; whether it is Hyperion crushing the eyeballs of an unfortunate messenger, or the gods themselves rendering Titan head from Titan neck, the violence is both liberal and enjoyable.

The script is not what one could call gripping, and some obviously over-looked plot holes do appear, which is a shame. But there is a neat cohesion to the film that I wasn’t expecting (why would you, if you have seen The Cell) and Immortals is definitely less ‘style of over substance’ than I had feared. Despite sitting squarely in the ‘no game changer’ category, this is a pleasingly stylish film with enough visceral action to be enjoyable despite its faults.

Hannah Turner

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