Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Immortals (2011)

Title: Immortals (2011)

Director: Tarsem Singh Dhandwar

Cast: Henry Cavill, Mickey Pinto, Freida Pinto, Stephen Dorff, John Hurt


Immortals, the latest Tarsem Singh visual fest is the big fantasy film we’ve all been waiting for. It’s the film that that crappy Clash of the Titans (2010) remake should have been. Here’s a director how knows how to make a film based on Greek Mythology and he knows how to do it right! All you really need to know is that this is a Tarsem Singh film, the same director behind such visually arresting films as The Cell (2000) and The Fall (2006). Tarsem’s Immortals is so visually rich, that one viewing will probably not be enough to absorb everything it has to offer. I was thoroughly impressed with Immortals, I wasn’t expecting it to be such an explosion of coolness. I was expecting a film that was going to be mostly eye candy (and it was) but damn, Immortals was just pure awesomeness.

Story presents us with the tale of Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) the King of Crete. Hyperion hates the gods for not saving his wife and son from death, so he makes it his mission to find the Epirus Bow, a magical bow created by Ares, the God of War. His intentions are to release these evil gods called ‘The Titans’ who are imprisoned on Mount Tartarus. With the release of these evil Gods, Hyperion wants to kill Zeus and the rest of the gods so that he can rule over the world with an iron fist. Meanwhile Theseus, a slave and a bastard lives in a humble coastal town. Sadly, said town is being invaded by Hyperion’s armies which continue to take over every piece of land they comes across.. Theseus’s mother is slaughtered by Hyperion right before his eyes. Now it’s up to Theseus to avenge his mothers death and bring his people to freedom! Will he accept his destiny and achieve his full potential?

While watching Immortals I kept feeling like I was watching a sequel to Clash of the Titans (1981) or something, it had that feeling of grandeur that the original Clash of the Titans had. And I kept thinking that Tarsem should have been the director to make that Clash of the Titans remake, because this guy really gets Greek Mythology, he knows where to draw from in order to get things right. He knows how NOT to make ‘The Greek Gods’ come off as cheesy superheroes. Immortals will undoubtedly, get compared to the old Ray Harryhausen fantasy flicks from the 60’s and 70’s and it will also draw comparisons to Zack Snyder’s 300 (2007) for two reasons. One, they share the same producers and two the way they were made; meaning lots of CGI, with only the actors, props and certain sets being real. Truth be told, this is the best  kind of film for filmmakers to go crazy with CGI on. Tarsem takes full advantage of special effects at his disposal and gives us some truly spectacular visuals. The kind of visuals you will only get on a Tarsem film. The computer generated images on this production are top notch, the colors, amazing. I highly recommend this film for many reasons, but the biggest one is that it’s a beauty to look at. The effects, the colors, the wardrobe all add up to an impressive looking film.

The themes played out in the movie are varied, for example we follow Theseus, a slave who has excellent warrior skills because he’s been trained by Zeus himself. With his character we follow two themes, that of revenge (for his murdered mother) and that of becoming the leader of his people, of waking up, staying alive and rising up to the challenge of going up against the ultimate evil, an evil that is rising yet again after being  dormant for such a long time. So basically, it’s that idea of learning to believe in ourselves, and living up to our full potential. Of becoming the best human beings we can. Because maybe then, by arriving at our fullest potential, we’ll have the Gods on our side, backing us up. Then we have the story of the evil tyrant taking over the land. King Hyperion (played by Mickey Rourke) is hell bent on world domination, even going up against the gods themselves in order to do so. Through him we explore the ideas of an evil government mistreating its people, and that of a rebellious leader - the one most fit for the job- taking the rains of leadership and standing up against the tyranny. There’s a bit of a religious debate as well. Are their gods really listening to our prayers? Or do our prayers fall on mute ears? Do the gods want us to take care of ourselves, so that we can really show our worth? Interesting themes in deed.

But this is not a film lost in characters endlessly babbling, nope, this is an extremely fast paced film. Something spectacular is happening all the time on this one, if it’s not Gods coming down from Mount Olympus to intervene in human affairs, then it’s the humans killing themselves in bloody battles and trust me, the battles get really graphic! This is something that amazed me about this one! When someone gets impaled by a sword or a spear, you really see it; the camera does not cut away. When someone is decapitated or his head is smashed by a war hammer, you will see it! Human bodies are tossed left and right, skulls are smashed, eyes are gauged…things get ugly! Tarsem slows things down during the battle scenes so that you can see the blood flowing and the bodies and skulls being cut in half! These scenes are the ones that will garner Immortals comparisons to 300, but Immortals is gorier with it’s battle sequences. And by the way, I didn’t see it 3-D because the 3-D version was starting much later, but you can bet your asses I’ll be seeing it again this weekend, with the glasses on this time! From what I hear, Immortals is meant to be enjoyed in Three Dimensions! And if what I saw in 2-D is any indication, than those comments are true.

Finally, it was cool to see Henry Cavill in action. All I kept thinking was how he’s the next actor who will be playing Superman and how perfect he is for the role of ‘The Last Son of Krypton’, a great casting choice. The ending of this film leaves the doors wide open for a sequel and though Tarsem is not a director known for making sequels, I wouldn’t mind seeing a second Immortals film. At all! In fact, a sequel is probably a done deal, judging by how much I enjoyed this film, The Film Connoisseur predicts that Immortals will become a huge hit over the next couple of days. And that will probably happen because of strong word of mouth. Once people see this movie, and word spreads around of how awesome it is; Immortals can only go up. Currently, Tarsem is directing a film called Mirror, Mirror which is a retelling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. I’m looking forward to seeing how Tarsem tackles a Brothers Grimm fairytale, I’m sure it will be another visual feast! So anyhow, drop what ever you are doing right now and go watch this one! This is the best fantasy film to have come in a long time, and it does not disappoint. Trust me when I say that this one was meant to be enjoyed on the silver screen.

Rating: 5 out of 5  



Manuel Marrero said...

I'll give this one a try, didnt like The Cell tho.Hope theres no CG blood...I fucking hate that.

Franco Macabro said...

It was freaking AWESOME, you'd love it man, I know how much of a fan of Greek Mythology you are!

odenat said...

Unfortunately, the critics for the film are not very good. And, it's making much less money than 300 or Clash of the Titans.
I only saw the trailer and the visuals were good.

Franco Macabro said...

@Odenat: I went over to IMDB to see what people thought of the movie and it made no sense to me, this movie is all sorts of cool.

I read Roger Ebert's review and was equally baffled: he's saying he didnt understand what was going on half of the time and I'm like, I dont get it. The story is completely understandable. The visuals are amazing, the action is amazing, the gore, the effects, the music...what the hell was Ebert smoking? Maybe he was not in a good mood that day or something.

But whatever, I'm thinking good word of mouth will take this one further than bad reviews can. Word gets around that a movie is good...there's no stopping that.

George Beremov [Nebular] said...

Although I share your enthusiasm about it, I must say it wasn't the masterpiece I expected it to be. It lacked enough action and some of the young actors felt incompetent. The visuals were striking, but the colors were a bit muted and not very appealing to the eye.
"300" is a superior film in many ways, though I still like "Immortals" a lot.

Franco Macabro said...

I think the muting of the colors could have something to do with the 3-D, this happens a lot, the sacrifice with watching 3-D movies is that the colors are always brought down a bit. But Tarsem's visuals more than make up for it.

I saw it a second time over the weekend, it's true that it does have a bit of a slower first half, but I wasnt bored it at all.

My favorite thing about though is definetly Mickey Rourke's performance, his character came off as so evil. I love the wardrobe on the bad guys, and the gods, that was outstanding.

I guess Im just a big fan of this one.

SFF said...

Zero interest in this film and here you are giving it 5 out of 5- Amazing! Perhaps I must reexamine.

Franco Macabro said...

I'm a huge fan of films that put an emphasis on visuals, and Tarsem is one of these directors who likes to cram his visuals with as many interesting elements as possible. He makes images that feed the eyes and the imagination, so thats why I love Tarsem's movies so much, Immortals included.

Also, Greek Mythology, I love it and it is played out very well here, with the Gods watching over the humans from Mount Olympus and all that. Plus, Mickey Rourke devours the scenes he is in...I really couldnt find anything bad to say about the movie.

Belgie said...

I really like the immortals. I don't understand why there are so many negative reviews.I think that its worth watching. The acting and editing are very good.

Franco Macabro said...

Cool to see someone enjoyed it as much as I did, I was beginning to think I was alone on this one. Saw it twice at the theater, couldnt find anything negative about the film.

Thanks for commenting Belgie!

TheRavingReviewer said...

I watched the movie, and loved it. Though i found the idea of 'killing' a god so to speak was a bit far fetched, and pushed the limits of the stories a bit far. Over all it was fast-paced and very nice graphics. The storyline needed a bit more.

I do hope there is a sequel now!


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