Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Film Review: Immortals (2011)

Immortals (2011)
Rated: R
Running Time: 109 Minutes
Genre(s): Action, Drama, Fantasy

Cast overview, first billed only:
Henry Cavill as Theseus (Our Hero!)
Mickey Rourke as King Hyperion (Our Villain!)
Stephen Dorff as Stavros (Another Villain)
Freida Pinto as Phaedra (Our Virginal Crystal Ball)
Luke Evans as Zeus (Need you ask?)
John Hurt as Old Man (Zeus in Disguise)
Joseph Morgan as Lysander (Our Traitorous Villain)
Anne Day-Jones as Aethra (Hottie)
Greg Bryk as The Monk (Minor Ally to Our Hero!)
Alan Van Sprang as Dareios (Wimp)
Peter Stebbings as Helios (Greek God of Something)
Daniel Sharman as Aries (Actor paid to wear a funny hat that won't stay on)
Isabel Lucas as Athena (Hottie and Goddess)
Kellan Lutz as Poseidon (Divine Water Boy)
Steve Byers as Heracles (or Hercules. Divine Manual Laborer, infamous for completing the following contracts on schedule and arguably under budget:
1) Kill the Nemean Lion
2) Kill the Hydra
3) Capture the Cerynean Stag
4) Cage the Erymanthian Boar
5) Clean the Augean Stables
6) Kill the Stymphalian Birds
7) Claim the Mares of Diomedes
8) Pen the Cretan Bull
9) Seize the girdle of the Amazon Hippolyte
10) Take Geryon's cattle
11) Fetch the golden apples of the Hesperides
12) Impound Cerberus, the hound of hell)

I went to see Immortals late last night. I was restive and the film sounded promising, but so does a genuine $25,000 Rolex watch that you can buy anywhere in New York city for only $20.  I was disappointed, and here's why without spoilers.

I thought that given the subject matter of the film I should bone up on the old Greek pantheon before I saw the film.  Foolish me.  The film bears as much resemblance to Greek mythology as Dianne Fienstein does to U.S. Senator John McCain.  The names are there, likely used without permission, and that is where the resemblance stops.  The Greek deities do not behave in a Grecian fashion, nor are their identities obvious.  Typically, Greek deities spent their time fooling around with each other, fighting about it and taking out their spiteful feelings on various mortals who failed to fly under the radar.  No good came of this, at least no good to the mortals who were involved, but it kept the Pantheon amused.  This isn't what happens in the film, which is kind of a shame.

The casting is poor, although I don't know what could be done to improve it.  Henry Cavill (Theseus) does a fair job, but his nemesis Mickey Rourke (King Hyperion) just isn't up to enough villainy.  Hyperion has the right idea, but he lacks motivation and it shows in the deadpan delivery of his lines and a conspicuous lack of casually perverse habits of one sort or another.  Rourke / Hyperion just isn't tough enough, and about halfway through the film I started wondering just why one of his henchmen would continue to put up with his loud mouth and infantile demands when a spear could be shoved up his butt and everyone could go home.  Then there's Freida Pinto, who floats around masquerading as an oracle attended by three other supposed hotties.  We see the four of them obscured by robes that reveal a good deal less than an Islamic ensemble du jour, and topped with inverted waste baskets with elaborate chandeliers glued to them.  The head gear won't stay put, so some very careful and creative movement is called for.  I'll give the four credit for keeping the foolish things in place.

The sets try and keep up with the costuming, and that's another failure.  While the sets are okay, they aren't special.  They're better than the costuming, though.  For example, Our Hero's army is equipped with uniform round shields, fantastic armor of an unknown style and weightless short swords.  During a motivational speech, the army applauds by banging their swords against their shields, which is unfortunate as the silver paint comes off rather easily leaving the army with odd looking round shields after a few bangs.  The red plastic shows through, you see.

Speaking of shows, I think the R rating was given because of one sex scene, but it took me a minute to remember this.  We have one naked hottie, whom I'll give a 6 on a scale of 1 to 10.  She's isn't all that hot, but then neither are the other women in the film.  Anyway, Henry Cavill (Our Hero) is about to get lucky and he comes off more than a little gay.  The man clearly does not know how to proceed and is uncomfortable when he's in close proximity to a naked woman.  Or half naked.  Whatever.  They could have easily eliminated this scene and everyone would be happier for it - clearly Henry would be a lot happier.

So since the money didn't go into the acting, the costuming, the writing or the sets, where did all that dinero disappear to?

The film stuffs everything, and I mean everything, into computer generated imagery (CGI).  Acting, plot, costumes, dialogue, you name it, if it wasn't CGI related the film didn't spend money to do it.  Making things a little worse is the fact that, with a few notable exceptions, the CGI wasn't all that great.  Good, yes.  Great?  No.  Not even, and I'm being charitable here.  The film is a classic catch 22.  If you wait for the DVD, the CGI loss is directly proportional to the size of your screen.  If you see it at the theater, you've wasted most of your money on the admission.

I'd rate this one at a 2 (two) on a scale of 1 to 10.  Try as I might, I find very little to recommend it.


Roland Hansen said...

Thanks much for the review. Now, I know to save my money for something more worthwhile.

Stephanie Lorée said...

It really is a bad movie. When I can say the Conan redux is a better film, you know there's a problem.

Mad Jack said...

Thanks for the comments guys. I keep wondering just how an incredible hound like that one can actually make money. I think I'm going into the movie business.