11
Nov
2011
Review: Immortals
The Immortals
Alex
When I go into a Tarsem Singh movie I have literally no idea what I'll see. The Cell and The Fall were both packed tight with amazing visuals that looked like they came to life out of surrealist paintings. You rarely see that level of style in many major releases today, so going into Immortals I was hoping for more eye candy in that same vein. I would say that I definitely got what I was looking for, but at a price.

I'll say right off the bat, I paid premium to go see Immortals in 3D and I think it was the right decision. Singh used the third dimension in such a way that gives me hope that future 3D movies won't just be out there for cash grabs like they were during the post-Avatar 3D craze (Alice in Wonderland's $1 billion and change says hello). Based on Tarsem's past movies, it was exactly what I thought he could do with the new technology and often left my jaw on the floor. His unique visual flair makes for some excellent moments in 3D that brought me into the movie and helped to sell the epic tone of the tale, which is loosely based on the Greek myths of Theseus and the Minotaur and the war between the Titans and the Gods, that he was going for.

The story, though, is where the film starts to lack in substance. Much in the tradition of Tarsem Singh, the plot feels more like a framing device to allow him to show you all the unique visions he had in his head. The actors are passable, no one is down right awful but no great performances are given from anyone involved. Mickey Rourke does a decent job playing the soft-spoken and menacing King Hyperion, but it's easy to lose track of his motivation for wanting to release the Titans. It's spoken in one line of dialogue at the beginning of the movie and then seems to be lost as the film goes on. It may have just morphed into a different motivation but again it doesn't seem very well fleshed out and feels forced. This is a trait shared by a handful of the characters, which is best exampled in the one scene of "romance" in the film. It's more like half of a scene that has very little bearing on the story and the character's motivations are unclear except for one line of dialogue to clear up any confusion or questions the audience may have like, "Why?" I'm sure you could make the argument; "Well, then how would this thing have happened?" and my response to you would be, that like most everything else in Immortals, it was just so that Singh could have a set up to show us this amazing visual. The story itself is little more than lets go here then here then there and we're going to get into some fights along the way. It seems more like a footnote on the storyboards than the characters moving it forward.

The plot and motivations of the characters aside, it is a wonder to behold. The epic shots look amazing and appropriately epic and the fights are often done with an amount of style that I haven't seen in recent years. The marketing tag "From the producers of 300" is definitely selling the movie short as it has a lot more going on visually than 300 could have hoped for. Part of that comes from Singh's great use of his R rating. There are moments of intense violence that are ridiculously over the top and at the same time portrayed with careful consideration. The first time a god comes down to earth to fight immediately comes to mind. Singh takes Zack Snyder's slow motion from 300 and twists it to make it feel fresh again as gods zip around the arena blowing people up, cutting them in half, decapitating them and everything else you can think of to do with swords and tridents. All that, accompanied by fountains of blood, made the part of my brain that registers things that are awesome shut down from over exposure of awesomeness.

If you are a sucker for gorgeous and creative visuals like I am, I would definitely recommend seeing Immortals. In 3D. While not necessary to appreciate the style and layer of Tarsem Singh that he coats all of his movies with, it definitely uses the 3D in interesting ways that gives me hope for the future of 3D movies. It's not going to ask to you do any deep thinking, but if you want to give your eyes something to feast on you can't do much better than this.

Grade: B
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