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Immortals Movie Review (2011)

Immortals Movie Review (2011)

Immortals Movie Poster

Immortals, it's the gods getting busy instead of the Spartans.

It’s close to 300, but lacks a fully-defined world.

Synopsis and Plot Summary:

King Hyperion declares war on humanity and seeks the all-powerful Bow of Epirus which he will use to unlock the imprisoned Titans. Theseus, a human peasant is favored and trained by Zeus incarnate to become the savoir of all humanity.

General Angle:

This is 300 turned up a notch by replacing the Spartans with fighting gods. 300 was based loosely around true events and Immortals gives the same visual treatment to Greek Mythology.

The New and Original:

The gods are young and active. No more lounging around in floating clouds, wearing togas and eating grapes. Titans (who were supposed to be as strong as or stronger than the gods) are skillful warriors and not the far-from-factual monsters depicted in Clash of the Titans. For the record, Medusa and the Kraken are not Titans.

What’s Old and Borrowed:

Slow motion combat sequences. A hero that is TOLD he’s a hero, BECOMES a hero without doing too many heroic things. A single weapon/object that’s so powerful it can defeat armies. Yes, more movies like Lord of the Rings and Krull. A woman who serves no purpose besides being eye candy- yes, that’s Megan Fox in The Transformers.

When I saw the trailer for this movie two years ago, I quietly leaned over to my girlfriend and said “They made this one for me.” Really, it’s a guy’s movie with the looks of intense battles and non-stop action. I love the combination of great visuals and majestic vistas. I like when moments in a movie have additional impact from meaningful storylines and solid character development. I do. This is a great movie, but its total ranking on my charts suffers from flaws in its foundation. Since 300 is its too- close- for- kissing -cousin, we’ll offer some comparisons.

I’ll skip over the slow-mo fight scenes and partial nudity to nudity (ahem) and Rourke (Hyperion) verse um…the guy who played Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro). It’s about the believability of the world. That makes the action have meaning, the plot twists intriguing, the characters have dimension and the storyline have a logical course. That’s what’s missing here. Oh, by the way, if you’re the kind of movie fan that only cares about loud explosions, action stunts, hot chicks and plots as simple as The Dukes of Hazzard; just go see the movie, its’ awesome.

I expected more and at first I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t enjoying this epic as much as I should have. I figured out why the remake of Clash of the Titans missed the bullseye for me. It was a pacing problem. Everything happened so fast; nothing had any meaning. He gets the Pegasus, no big deal. It’s just a flying horse. No sense of wonder there. Even the hero Perseus seemed unimpressed. Dude, you just got a flying horse! Both Troy and Alexander had some great moments, but the impact was lessened by all the badly executed scenes between battles.

In Immortals, it’s the world that’s lacking. I read that Director Tarsem Singh had a lot of control over this movie. With movies like The Cell and The Fall under his belt, you have no doubts about his ability to tell a tale with visual flair. But for Immortals it seems as though the one-man’s-vision approach leads us to numerous plot holes and logic-defying devices.

Let’s take a look at some of them: SPOILER ALERT AHEAD!!!!!

1. Early in, Theseus is told he must wait a day to evacuate his village before the rapidly advancing army of Hyperion. The privileged upper class is leaving immediately and the poor must wait 24 hours. Why? And why wouldn’t he just leave on his own? If you were told a flood was coming and you must evacuate, but only certain people could leave now, would you say “Oh, okay” and stick around? Exactly.

2. Next, a captured Theseus is sent to the salt mines to work. At night the slaves are corralled near a fountain where the (hot) Virgin oracles are also getting a sip or two. And the hotties are chilling one-room over at the Hyperion-Hotel-Six. Who would mix rough slaves with the sexy virg-…oh wait, why are there only four slaves at the salt pit? Why do we never enter the salt mines and only see the front door? Why are there so few guards? How do they get from the salt flats back to…wait…

3. Everything in this world is a few minutes walk. At least when King Leonidas, in 300, showed his map, it did look like walking distance. They also omit any means of travel. The massive army of Hyperion has no horses, carriages or any depicted means of getting around. We only (really) saw two horses in the entire movie and they seemed thrown in at the last minute to solve another How do we get there quick? problem.

4. She’s the virgin oracle that never sees a useful vision. She was hunted down because she could lead Hyperion to the Epirus Bow, but um…she didn’t know where it was and our hero found it on his own, by accident. And after she loses her visionary powers by having sex (like she couldn’t wait till the end of the movie) she’s still around and truly serving no purpose. Speaking of serving no purpose, did you think the Monk who sliced off his own tongue was going to have some kind of significance after sticking around so long? Me too.

5. Yay, a cool scene involving Poseidon making a giant wave. How come the main characters can leave the boat, but the bad guys stayed in the boat and just watched the wave come. AND the Oracle said something to the effect of staying steadfast when the sky thunders. Well, she quoted that line right before the tidal wave hit and our hero did the opposite. He jetted off that boat like he leaned over and saw the name Titanic written on the side.

6. Their plan is to commandeer a merchant boat of Hyperion’s navy, but at the dock, there’s no one. No other boats, crews or merchants or goods even…and that leads us to another problem.

7. Aside from the bad-guy action figures like the hawk-guy, the Bull guy and the beast, everyone else in Hyperion’s army is a generic foot soldier. No generals, captains or anyone else of any rank or skill. In 300, you saw assorted flavors in the Xerxes forces. They seemed like a conquering horde. In Immortals, they felt like the extras they were.

8. Speaking of people, in 300 I could see myself living in that universe, tending, crafting, hell maybe I’d be some kind of musician there too. In Immortals they never showed us Hellenic life to actually see what Theseus would have been fighting to save. Same with the gods. What do they do besides watch us? I wish we knew more about their world. Had their universe been more and better defined, I might have more to walk away with- than the memories of some very cool and graphically charged combat scenes.

I could go on longer, but I’m even getting tired of taking apart this movie. It’s good, long as you watch it lightly and don’t think too deeply about anything besides the beauty of the visually visceral violence. I rate it a 8.5 and 300 a 9.2

I’m no movie critic, I’m just critiquing a movie.

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  1. November 14, 2011 at 10:38 am

    It’s probably one of the best-looking films of the whole year (yet, I still haven’t seen Tree of Life) and the action is awesome and in-you-face which is something I always like. The story dragged on a bit and I couldn’t help but think that if the writing was a tweaked a little better, this would have definitely been a very solid film. Instead it was just fun and pretty to look at. Good review. Check out mine when you get the chance.

  2. November 14, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Your review is awesome too. I’m going to start reviewing some of the movies I like more often. Thanks for reading.

  3. Adam Aire
    November 14, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Awesome review! This flick is no 300 but I’m into the dark, gory stuff.

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