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I hope I’m wrong. I hope Immortals ends up being at worst, a fun-filled action adventure movie that our inner adolescents can relish, and at best an unexpected mythical epic.
But when your production design for Ares, the god of war, destroyer of cities, son of Zeus whose chariot was “yoked with Fear and Terror”, looks like this:
You’re damn well asking for it. My god(s) what a silly hat.
Immortals is billed as an oil-slicked action adventure epic where divinely inspired men must fight against the ancient titan Mickey Rourke for their future/mortality/destiny, or something. You’d think this dash of determinism in Greek mythology ironic, but hey, going his own way never hurt Odysseus.
Directed by Tarsem Singh, the movie (or 3D experience, if you will) derives its stylish cinematography from 300, with which it shares producers Gianni Nunnari and Mark Canton. Emphasizing slow-motion spectacle and the hyper-est of hyper reality, it looks to follow the mise en scene de Zack Snyder. If there’s one thing I get less excited about than Zack Snyder, it’s work that wants to be Zack Snyder.
Our hero is the demi-god Theseus (Henry Cavill), a revenge-driven peasant chosen by the gods to defeat King Hyperion (Rourke). From the looks of it, he assembles a plucky band of followers including reformed Blade antagonist Stephen Dorff and a silky skinned oracle named Phaedra (Freida Pinto). Phaedra should provide a suitable romantic interest for our protagonist when he’s not hucking spears or flexing menacingly. I would be impressed, though, if that relationship had one tenth of the convoluted complexity of the mythical Phaedra and Theseus. Grecian spoiler alert: she falls in love with his son and hangs herself, a route I doubt they’ll take in the movie… Sorry, 3D experience.
Our antagonist, King Hyperion, seeks to destroy the world of man and Olympian gods by obtaining the Epirus Bow, ironically forged by Ares (probably in the fires of mount Doom). By some ancient, ambiguous creed, the gods may not directly involve themselves in stopping him, thus preventing their own demise (which makes sense if you really think about it and also happen to be really stupid).
This is unusual, given that the following trailer…
…involves what looks like an awfully large amount of gods fighting and stuff. Either the gods are much more directly involved that the synopsis would suggest, or that the rest of the movie is so lame it’s better left completely out of all promotional materials.
The Olympian art direction looks pretty lousy; partially because these gods unusually young and lithe, and partially because their costumes make them look like side characters from a 90′s episode of the Power Rangers. They don’t project the appropriate aura of authority, and look more like “teenagers with attitudes.” Like 300, our Greeks also look unusually Anglo. I suppose that’s to be expected when you pick a Welshman named Luke Evans to play Zeus.
If I were a betting man, I’d place the Immortals Rotten Tomatoes score (which is unestablished as of this writing) solidly in the 30′s by the end of the week. Its style may win over a few fans, but legitimate substance would be more shocking that a Luke Evans thunderbolt to the chest.
Immortals hit US theaters Friday, November 11th.