Immortals

What happens when you combine 300 with Clash of the Titans?

Immortals is a feast for the eyes and drew me in visually with startling imagery and occasionally stunning CGI work. In a lot of ways it felt more like a moving sculpture or masterwork painting than a movie. The oddly monotone scenery was gorgeous, and most of the locations were large multi-faceted places with underground temples or massive caverns. Everything was either wide open or very claustrophobic, which helped create a grand canvas of dense blacks and vibrant splashes of red, blue, gold, and white that established the tone of the movie without having to use exposition to fill in the blanks. This was a bleak world. Poverty, slavery, and blatant oppression made the heroes' choices between sides make sense, even if they didn't from a story perspective.

Unfortunately, I wasn't emotionally invested in the characters, even the main hero to a degree. I don't believe this wasn't the fault of the actors. The director's choices in pacing and style over substance were the real culprits. There was no real attempt to build the characters; instead, they were used as placeholders to progress the story, which was basically a string of locations and events. The lead was played by Henry Cavill (The Count of Monte Cristo), and he gave a good performance, even if the film didn't require a lot of range. The main villain Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) was truly horrific. Rourke didn't hold back with his performance, even though the character was extremely one-dimensional. The rest of the characters were basically archetypical fillers that had some good moments, but were forgotten pretty easily. This lack of character development unfortunately extended to the gods as well. They were all fairly generic except for their well known names; Athena, Poseidon, Zeus, etc. Which is a little disappointing because they were some of the most visually striking and impressive elements to this visually striking movie.

Immortals is a testosterone-filled gore fest that makes some horror movies look tame. The battle scenes were very over the top, especially in 3D. There were constant images of weapons impaling bodies, limbs and heads flying around, torsos cut in half, and blood spraying everywhere. It was extremely graphic, but fun in a brutal sort of way. The scenes with the gods had some of the coolest combat moments I've seen in a long time. Those minutes of supernatural butchery alone were worth the price of admission.

So ultimately, Immortals was a good attempt, and I enjoyed a lot of it. But it was short on character, even though it was high on style. I would give it 2 1/2 out of 4 severed body parts.

J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree. Great-looking and even ambitious in places, but not too deep or involving. The performances drew me in more than anything else, in addition to Freida Pinto's face.

I actually really liked Hyperion. I wanted to see more of Mickey Rourke, he was a real blast. I want to see his backstory, how he went from peasant to king...it's also interesting that he isn't out to rule the world, really, he's out to rage against the heavens.

Billie Doux said...

It sounds like I'd have a hard time concentrating on the movie; I'd be too distracted by the flying body parts. :) Good review, J.D.

J.D. Balthazar said...

Anonymous...

I totally agree with the desire to find out more about Hyperion, the fact that he eluded to an interesting past actually makes me want think that a prequel would be interesting.

Frieda Pinto is absolutely gorgeous, and I probably should've mentioned that in the review. The performances were really good, but the flash and spectacle was so pervasive that I found it hard to concentrate on them.

Morgan India said...

I'd have a hard time concentrating on the movie because of all the shirtless!Henry Cavill-ness.

Anonymous said...

Oh, but if you hate Klaus on TVD, watch this film and pretend Joseph Morgan's character is Klaus. He goes through some...bad stuff.

J.D. Balthazar said...

Billie, Morgan...

Well this movie is definitely from the school of shirtless heroes, and mindless violence. Although I found it hard to concentrate because of the awesome cool god stuff, and because Frieda Pinto was gorgeous in this.

Tisk Tisk anonymous... spoilers!

Although I agree, anyone who hates Klaus on TVD should have fun with Joseph's pain.

Gus Brunetti said...

J.D., is Frieda Pinto NOT gorgeous in anything?!

I haven't seen this movie yet, mostly because it hasn't premiered here yet, but I can say that the other movies directed by this guy were style/location over substanceindeed. He's mostly a commercials director, so I think it plays a reat part for him.