I thought long and hard about how to write an introduction that would give a feeling of what Immortals is like. Eventually I settled on, Immortals is shite.
And it truly is. This is a film with not an ounce of originality. Indeed the trailer proudly announces “From the Producers of 300”. Now, 300 was an average film. Why an average film has imitations, I don’t know. You can see the producers sitting around a table discussing the best way to make money:
Producer 1: “300 was a big hit. We need another one”
Producer 2: “We have 300 2 already in the works.”
Producer 1: “Good. Can we make a third at the same time to save time and maximise profits?”
Producer 2: “Of course we can.”
Producer 1: “Fantastic. Gerry, will you call a cheap games company to make an average-to-mediocre tie-in video game?”
Producer 3: “On it”
Producer 24: “Can we not release an almost identical film with a different name?”
Producer 1: “What a smashing idea. We can release it in 3D as well. Everyone LOVES 3D.”
Producer 3: “We can call it 300D”
Producer 1: “You’re fired. No. We need a separate franchise. Something spectacular.”
Producer 24: “Well I have a redundant script here called the Immortals. It’s got Gods and Greeks in it.”
Producer 1: “Perfect. Get a costume designer and only give them half the materials they need to
make a costume. We need to see a lot of flesh” (shoves cigar in mouth)
And so the film was made. And what a dire film it is. When something begins with John Hurt’s narration you know you are watching something distantly second hand. Aside from the Storyteller and Dogville, John Hurt’s voiceover has outstayed its welcome. We cannot turn on television without hearing his gravelly voice advertise Müller Corner or Sky Movies.
The film mixes and changes a lot of Greek myths to tell a rather dull story. Micky Rourke, wearing a hat from Where the Wild Things Are, whispers and grunts as he prepares a war on humanity. He wants to use a magic bow to release the powerful Titans in order to take on the Gods. On the way he makes an enemy of Theseus, played by Henry Cavill. Theseus, with the help of the seer Frida Pinto and slave Stephen Dorff, decides to stop him.
Now the all-seeing Gods are not allowed to interfere in the world of man. This is not what they do. Having announced this solemnly, they nevertheless come down occasionally and help out. This feels like a cheat in a video game. If you’re a little stuck or out of your depth, press x,a,b,y, up,down, x,y,b, up,up,x and Poseidon will appear and help you out so you needn’t fight the harder battles. This reduces what little tension there was.
Luke Evans plays the young sexy Zeus. This back to back with The Three Musketeers makes his recent choices questionable. But who wouldn’t want to play Zeus or a Musketeer? So we must forgive. In fact, I think the whole cast can be let off for this one. When you’re standing next to a green screen you have no idea what sort of film you are going to be in.
I don’t even want to blame Tarsem Singh, the director. He is clearly a filmmaker of vision, for his three movies (The Cell, The Fall and Immortals) have a definite visual style. But while he tries to emulate Alejandro Jodorowsky, he lacks a real sense of wonder or of anarchy, which makes his films pretty but not memorable.
The fault here lies with the producers. Cashing in on things that aren’t that great in the first place; 300 and 3D. Immortals is not a good film. I strongly recommend you avoid it, just to show the moneymen that we are not fooled so easily.