Cast: Henry Cavill, Luke Evans, Freida Pinto, Stephen Dorff, Mickey Rourke
Directed by Tarsem Singh
Tarsem Singh has done it once again. The man gets into the visual overdrive mode of his and forgets his primary function as a storyteller. This time there is a better attempt from the director of similar visual glitz fests like THE CELL and THE FALL, but half way through the narration, and all attempts to build up a story goes out of the window. Instead, what we witness is stylized blood sloshing action sequences piled up one after another, with very little beneath the surface.
Tarsem’s latest offering, IMMORTALS is an altered version of the Greek mythology that narrates a tale at a time when the Greek gods have an ensuing battle on their hands with the fallen demigods The Titans. Though the Gods have trapped the Titans up in a mountain, the evil King Hyperion (Rourke) has set out to take revenge on the gods by setting the Titans free.
The gods, however, seem to have pinned their hopes on a peasant Theseus (Cavill) to surface as the saviour in this scenario as they themselves cannot interfere with the affairs of the mortals. This task involves the possession of the Epirus Bow, an all powerful weapon that can destroy even the gods, which Hyperion has set his eyes upon. With his village destroyed and mother killed, Theseus, accompanied by a small band of slaves and in the company of the oracle Phadra (Pinto) sets out to stop Hyperion from destroying their world.
Visually, there is grandeur about the whole thing which makes you wonder as to what exactly is Tarsem smoking to come up with such kind of visual splendor. But the once music video director, needs to accept that a movie is much more than mere images stringed together. The writing is a mixed bag. It starts off decent enough with references to modern religion and our vision of the gods. However as the film progresses, the writing gets obtuse and uninspiring, and the script falter out, with plot holes aplenty. The battle speech delivered by Theseus is easily one of the lamest ever captured on screen.
Not helping matters is the fact that Tarsem as a director fails to extract any noteworthy performances from his primary cast. None of them manages to rise above the ruins of the writing. Mickey Rouke mostly mumbles through his lines without adding anything substantial to his villainous turn. The superman-in-the-making Henry Cavill is eye candy but offers no depth to his one note performance. Given the way his character is handled, I wonder if he would inspire even a cheer leading squad, forget an army. Luke Evans has more charisma on comparison but appears as one of the most confused of Zeus ever to have graced the silver screen. Frieda Pinto’s limitations as a performer is one of the many obvious things that comes forth in this 3D feature, having got more footage than she deserves. John Hurt was the only pleasant thing about the performances.
3D is an effective tool if used right. But IMMORTALS is just another example of how the makers are projecting it as a 3D game changer when the truth is it is just like every other 3d conversion material out there. Barring a handful of sequences where 3D is cleverly employed ( like the finale shot just before the credits roll), the rest of them would be absolutely fine on the 2D format. Moreover, the glasses only make the already dark frames darker.
Ultimately, what we are left with are a few notable fight sequences as positives but here too it ain’t Theseus who strikes the right punches. It would have helped if he could actually get to use that bow. Instead it is left up to the gods to descend and make any impact, that too in slo-mo glory. They look awesome the first time around but it does not take long to get mundane and tedious. The soundtrack from Trevor Morris is a saving grace.
The visual action fest has a lot of gore and brutality going for it and passes enough muster for a one time watch. We get hammered balls, slit throats, gouged eyes, bashed up skulls, and blood splattering all over. However those looking for a knockout script, and smashing performances need to look elsewhere.
Rating: 2.5 / 5