All stories find their roots in Greek mythology; it is from these ancient fables and myths that all fiction that followed was based upon. Greek myths are the original, most basic and perhaps still most satisfying stories. And yet despite this simplicity, Hollywoods recent attempt to bring them to life has been an underwhelming affair, producing several lacklustre attempts; most glaringly last years Clash of the Titans, which was pale in comparison to the Desmond David 1981 version. This was proof that despite mind-blowing CGI and supposed 3D, the conveyance of characters, dialogue and acting ability are paramount to bring these stories to life in an effective and satisfying manner. And thus we come to this latest attempt to tell the tale of the Titans, although in another legend titled Immortals that is new to the big screen one wonders just how many men attempted to unleash the Titans suffered the wrath of Zeus. Maniacal warlord Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) has amassed an army of soldiers and savages and is Hell-bent on unleashing the Titans to gain control of all the lands. To do this wield the awesome power of The Bow of Epirius, and to locate this he needs the clairvoyant Oracle Phaedra (Freida Pinto). In his search for her, Hyperion sweeps across the land in a wave of devastation, murder and mutilation. Enter fatherless, stonemason Theseus (Henry Cavill), who has been raised by his mother and trained in the art of combat by the wise old John Hurt, who unbeknownst to him is his true father and none other than Zeus (Luke Evans) in his human body. After his mother and the rest of his village is slaughtered by Hyperion, Theseus is sent into slavery where he meets the also enslaved Phaedra who is on route to Hyperion. When she meets Theseus she has a premonition and takes it upon herself to free him and inspire him to become the man he is destined to be and save the human race from an eternal darkness that will be unleashed if Hyperion frees the Titans. Despite being a new take on a Greek myth, Immortals still feels far too familiar. Although far superior to last years Clash of the Titans, it is still far short of being a fully rounded sword and sandals epic. While the action is constant, brutal and often quite innovative, the characters and acting ability to bring them to life are not present. The plot bobs along predictably, climaxing in the inevitable battle scene which cannot compete with ones that have gone before it 300, Lord of the Rings, even Troy and the denouement is an unsatisfying sequence reminiscent of a video game. Mickey Rourkes sadistic turn as an evil warlord and his violent retribution to those who oppose him is the real success story of the piece. Although one might say Rourkes voice becomes borderline cartoon villain at points, his demeanour, the way he moves and his appearance are all perfect. Henry Cavill leaves much to be desired; he lacks the charm or intensity of a Maximus and also is not built enough to convince as the one man army who is able to tear apart enemy after enemy without ever receiving a scratch. One can only hope he has more to offer, as this is no Man of Steel based on this showing. Frieda Pinto continues to be little more than docile, ethnic eye candy; much like her roles in Slumdog Millionaire and this years fantastic Planet of the Apes reboot her characters role is minimal and diminishes as the plot develops wither her having no discernable role in the proceedings. Beautiful though she is, this is another role where she fails to convince of any real acting ability, which is as much the fault of the director and writers. Im sure the producers were seeing shades of The Godfather when they hired 100 % Greek brothers Charles and Vlas Parlapanides to pen this script; Greeks telling a quintessentially Greek story, flawless. Sadly they lack the writing flare of messrs Puzo and Coppola. Tarsem Singh has proven himself as an aesthetically pleasing director, paying meticulous attention to his sets and costumes and cinematography. And in this respect he is successful, just as he has been in his previous two feature film outings. However, where his previous film the wonderful The Fall which should be on everyones top ten films to see if you havent already had a heart and a soul, characters we could care about and a cohesive plot, his first film J Los The Cell was void of all of these. Immortals suffers from the same problems as The Cell. Ultimately this is a case of style over substance. A veritable feast for the senses with the occasional moment where 3D seems almost worth having to wear dark glasses in an already dark theatre, but these are few and far between. But Immortals lacks a sole and a strong leading man. While the strong villain is present a rarity in most big budget films the hero is not, which means were never sure who to root for. Immortals is released tomorrow in the U.K. and U.S.
Frustratingly argumentative writer, eater, reader and fanatical about film ‘n’ food and all things fundamentally flawed. I have been a member of the WhatCulture family since it was known as Obsessed with Film way back in the bygone year of 2010. I review films, festivals, launch events, award ceremonies and conduct interviews with members of the ‘biz’. Follow me @FilmnFoodFan
In 2011 I launched the restaurant and food criticism section. I now review restaurants alongside film and the greatest rarity – the food ‘n’ film crossover. Let your imaginations run wild as you mull on what that might look like!