[Before I say anything let’s get one thing out of the way. There is a lot of blood, violence, CG, and skin in this movie. If any of this upsets you, you will not like it. Moving on.]
You may have heard the saying “never judge a book by its cover.” It’s sound advice, no doubt, but in the case of Immortals, the latest creation from the producers of 300, directed by Tarsem Singh, and cowritten by Charley and Vlas Parlapanides (I’d say it’s all Greek to me…) I suggest you do exactly that. Let’s face it, the movie has a stunning cover and what lies inside is equally beautiful.
I don’t mean to say that the rest of the film is completely lacking, but it most definitely does not live up to the visual journey this movie takes you on.
Immortals is a story of mythic proportions, with a little bit of rearranging here and there, but the gist is the same. An angry king, imprisoned titans, a virgin oracle, a magical bow, and some meddling gods, this is the stuff great stories were born of.
It’s ancient Greece and King Hyperion (a guy with rage issues portrayed by Mickey Rourke), for reasons vaguely inspired by the loss of his family, decides to release the Titans. Needless to say, that would be bad. Of course, he can’t do this without finding the Epirus Bow, a magical bow which produces its own magical arrows. In order to fulfill his devious plans he needs the virgin oracle (Freida Pinto) to tell him where it is.
Enter the almost painfully humble Theseus (Henry Cavill), our reluctant hero and a peasant living in a small village with his shunned and shamed mother.
As Theseus, Cavill manages to be both completely unassuming and undeniably heroic, for reasons beyond his incredible physique (it needed to be said). The balance gives us a hero to root for. You may not recognize Cavill, unless you were a Tudors fan (guilty), but America, meet your new Superman. Even as Theseus he exudes a charming farm boy presence, with a hint of heroic potential. If this is his final test, I’d say he passes with flying colors (pun intended). Now, back to ancient Greece.
Unbeknownst to our hero, he has been hand-selected by Zeus to save all of humanity. As a seemingly level-headed, but clearly stubborn deity, Zeus ups the ante by forbidding any god or goddess from intervening with the affairs of man.
John Hurt and Luke Evans, respectively as the mortal “old man” and immortal manifestations of Zeus, are a perfect pair. Hurt and Evans beautifully complement each other and unexpectedly mirror one another. Hurt, who I always love, also happens to be in two of the best (and quietest) scenes of the movies. I don’t think it’s a coincidence.
Meanwhile, as Zeus and his pantheon of gods and goddesses look down from Mount Olympus, a place of epic fantasy in the midst of a rather fantastic world, the war spreads.
Of course Theseus doesn’t save the world all on his own. Steven Dorff as Theseus’ unlikely sidekick Stavros provides an unexpected, yet very welcome, comedic relief. And no story is complete without a love interest. Freida Pinto as Phaedra, the virgin oracle, is just as stunning as her surroundings as usual.
You can imagine how the rest unfolds, it’s big, it’s loud, it’s bloody, it’s beautiful, and it doesn’t pretend to be anything else.
The movie has been released in 2D and 3D versions. We saw it in 2D and it was beautiful. I can only imagine that 3D makes for an even more stunning experience.
So there you have it. Lovers of and experts on Greek mythology may have a few bones to pick with the plot of Immortals, and it admittedly, does move at a sometimes confusing pace, skimming over what could have been better developed themes, (faith, religion, tradition, politics, what place old world beliefs have in a more modern society…), but the story itself is fairly straightforward and somewhat familiar with beautiful images, and some great acting moments to distract you along the way.
Plus, the beauty of stories about gods is you can have a sequel even if your protagonist doesn’t technically survive the original. Sorry, delayed spoiler alert, and a friendly suggestion to read up on your Greek myths, they’re fascinating.