Directed by: Tarsem Singh
Starring: Henry Cavill, Mickey Rourke, John Hurt
People tend to swoon over Greek mythology. I can only speculate as to why, but something tells me that visually compelling bloodbaths and well-oiled, particularly massive male warriors are things that can be openly admired by both sexes, at least to some extent. Much to our dismay, visual feasts are precisely and solely what these projects are, what with last year’s Clash of the Titans and Zack Snyder’s 300 immediately coming to mind given the production credit that’s been drilled into our heads in the days and weeks leading up to Immortals‘ theatrical release. Fast and loose as the latter and most recent effort plays with the aforementioned mythos, Mr. Singh is ultimately forced to stretch a remarkably inane script to fit snugly within the film’s nearly two-hour run time, prompting one to think that maybe there isn’t much hope left for the subgenre after all.
Establishing itself as nothing more than wafer-thin schlock relatively early on, Immortals, like its spiritual predecessors, could’ve at least found partial solace in some agreeably engaging, era-appropriate dialogue, yet what we’re ungracefully presented with is a cheesy misinterpretation of what the screenwriters thought that was. Such a flaw should be negligible given the presumably testosterone-infused nature of it all, yet the characters themselves are so genuinely uninteresting, the general goings-on so mundane and embarrassingly one-track-minded, that there’s very little to appreciate even on a base level. Maybe I just can’t appreciate some good ol’ tyrant-king-seeks-ultimate-bow lore, but if you ask me, this drivel is completely devoid of valuable substance.
To its obvious credit, Immortals carries with it director Tarsem Singh’s established, signature visual style, however the film stills seems to be plagued by certain inconsistencies that take away from the otherwise breathtaking CG-infused locales. While the costume design is equally impressive from a purely superficial standpoint, what’s bound to come to mind at any point is the film’s propensity toward sporadic and gratuitous violent temper tantrums. I use the word tantrum of course to describe its tendency to frequently disinterest at long intervals before throwing a few arterial sprays and rolling heads into the mix for our satisfaction and variety’s sake. Collectively, these sequences are all we have to look forward to on account of how little these cookie-cutter characters have to offer otherwise, so the fact that the proceedings culminate in one magnificently choreographed brawl between gods and titans is at least marginally gratifying.
The performances in Immortals are forgettable at best, suggesting that the cast literally couldn’t do anything with a script as inept as the one Charley and Vlas Parlapanides have crafted for them. Cavill’s efforts are predictably admirable given his rising star status, if barely, yet the biggest and assuredly most disappointing aspect of it all has to be Rourke’s clear lack of emotional involvement and general interest in quite literally everything that’s going on around him. As King Hyperion, all the actor really has to show for himself are his mildly intimidating physical features, of which help him at least fit the part as the tyrant dead set on unleashing Hell on Earth thanks to a few dozen throat cuttings and bouts of physical punishment issued toward his incompetent subordinates. As for the Gods themselves, their peculiar lack of involvement throughout suggests that their efforts can almost be rendered null and void, which is almost precisely the case, but their valiant attempt to save the day during Immortals‘ particularly blood-drenched climax at least fits them into the same category as Sir Rourke, assuring us that no one really had any interest in at least attempting to make the best of the hand they were dealt.
As another prime example of squandered potential in year of chronic disappointment, Tarsem Singh’s Immortals carries the proverbial torch. While playing admirably fast and loose with an easily recognizable sect of Greek mythology, a simply dreadful, inconsequential and vastly uninteresting script unceremoniously diverts our attention from Singh’s mostly stunning sense of style and some breathtaking locales and set pieces. With characters as bland as they come and nothing going for it outside of some sleek, expertly choreographed blood-drenched sideshows, the latter of which may not even appeal to some, a vast majority of the proceedings are just too dull to recommend to anyone at all. In short, Immortals certainly won’t live on forever like the Gods at its core certainly should; it’ll vanish off the grid long before anyone even notices its gone.