Upon seeing the trailer for Immortals, two geek-doms made themselves apparent: Love for ancient history and a love for ultimate fantasy action.
The Heraklion King of Crete, Hyperion (Mickey Rourke), declares war on Olympus after the gods fail to answer his prayers to save his family from illness, and starts searching for the Epirus Bow, a powerful weapon created by the god of war Ares, which he intends to use to release the Titans from Mount Tartarus and destroy the gods. Theseus (Henry Cavill), a mortal man, is chosen and trained by Zeus himself to stop King Hyperion and to wield the bow and fight for the gods. Taking place in ancient Greece, where the gods are prominent and the cities built into mountains, the CGI is definitely eye catching, echoing the dark overshadows of 300. The acting is superb, the characters’ lines jovial yet epic, pulling you into the time of heroes. The fighting scenes? Detailed and all that you would hope from battles between giant armies.
However, the movie lacked in everything else. Where the story had great potential- given its roots and flexibility- the writing and scene shots were almost weak. Any history buff will sit in confusion as they try to piece together the stories of the gods and the people (which even despite having creative commons, the writer and director should have been able to keep track of and use correctly.) The beginning is rushed without allowing the viewers to learn and connect with the characters. While the characters, like Theseus, all are shown to have great personalities, they are hardly touched on in the movie. Yes, their potential is shown, but their Fates seemed to be thrust onto you without explanation- just a ‘Hey, this guy is the hero. He’s a peasant, he’s a nobody, but everyone is going to listen to him later. This makes total sense.’ Later, the subject matter turns rather dark, enough for some horror-lovers to raise their eyebrows. The great Bow, highlighted and played up in the trailers, hardly shows up at all and is used at a plot-line-scene rather than a focus.
Beyond the writing, the camera shots were sometimes awkward. The beginning title itself made an overshot above the four Oracles, one being the famous Virgin Prophet Phaedra (Freida Pinto), and lingers a little too long. Throughout the rest of the movie, small scenes and even battles are given shots that make you stop and wonder what just happened, while also causing some moments to be lost. Then certain…moments…are revealed to give reason why the movie was rated R, but where they could have been placed to add to the characters, they are thrown in to raise the viewership. The 3-D makes it more than a little awkward for people who don’t like certain anatomy shoved in their faces.
Sounds, like the Minotaur’s roar (another character completely overshadowed by vague mentions as ‘The Beast’), are placed in the middle of scenes which bring you to laugh despite the seriousness of the moment. The movie had an intense musical score, but sometimes it would be played during odd moments that didn’t fit with it.
On a more positive note, the director definitely got the fighting scenes right. They aren’t overly gore splattered but neither are they completely clean. During the end as two great forces battle it out, the intensity felt as punches, swords, and poleaxes were exchanged brought you straight into the madness. The writing for each character shone brightly as their personalities were finally brought out for the Big Finale. The end of the movie was written incredibly well and the scenes shot expertly, even if being different from what the viewers thought it would be.
So, should you see it? If you like action, go see it. If you liked 300, you’ll like Immortals. Is seeing it in 3-D worth it? Partially, but seeing it in 2-D is just as good. But if you want to see the storyline that was promised in the trailer…watch the trailer, and you’ll see the movie you wanted.