‘Immortals’ turns greek gods into superheroes
Published: Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 15, 2011 19:11
Hollywood plays fast and loose with Greek Mythology. "Troy" condensed a ten-year war into a month, "Clash of the Titans" featured not a single Titan and "300" managed to take out all the Spartans' man-love and still be homoerotic.
Now we have "Immortals," which once again eschews "historical" accuracy to have a bunch of beautiful people run around with swords and sandals.
Mickey Rourke's in it, too, so that's pretty cool.
In the world of "Immortals," King Hyperion (Rourke) seeks the Epirus Bow, a weapon of the gods to unleash the Titans, monstrous primordial beings.
Theseus (Henry Cavill) is then appointed by Zeus (Luke Evans) to oppose Hyperion.
As Hyperion and his legions lay waste to Greece, Theseus is left as the only man to stand in the way of the mad tyrant.
Director Tarsem Singh clearly wanted a modern take on the myths of old. The gods, rather than Greek, look like Western European runway models, with the golden-haired Isabel Lucas standing out in particular.
The gods also have elaborate, symbolic costumes unfathomable back then, with Poseidon having an awesome fish-shaped headpiece adorned with seashells.
Further, the world Singh has created is both detailed and apocalyptic.
This isn't just because of a massive army destroying everything in its path, but a general sense of sorrow, even amongst the gods.
The remaining six (of twelve) gods have retreated to their marble palace above the clouds and taken a vow of noninterference, after having vanquished their greatest foes.
It's reminiscent of the question "What will Superman do when he beats Lex Luthor?"
Speaking of Superman, Henry Cavill does a solid job as the film's hero, and proves to a larger audience that he's ready to be the Man of Steel next year.
Though, the real stars are Stephen Dorff as Theseus' roguish sidekick, and Mickey Rourke knocking it out of the park as Hyperion, a twisted mirror of Theseus.
There is a surprisingly little amount of bloodshed in the first half of the film, but it's used effectively; Hyperion's "Witness Hell" act will haunt your dreams and deserves cinematic infamy on par with the Joker's pencil trick.
The second half kicks up both the gore and the stylization when the gods become involved. The stylization is the real magic of the film.
On the surface, the movie is just a standard retelling of the Hero's Journey, but the narrative is dense with twists like beautiful costumery, Christian imagery, and even nods to the Norse Ragnarok.
If you're a fan of visual flair, "Immortals" is a must-see.
The one major flaw the film has is focusing too much on the lowly, mundane humans, rather than the epic scope of the gods.
"Immortals" is good as is, and if the director had been allowed to go wild it'd be unforgettable.