Immortals (2011)

82.

★★★

Directed by: Tarsem Singh
Written by: Charley Parlapanides, Vlas Parlapanides
Starring: Henry Cavill, Mickey Rourke and John Hurt

SLOWWWW MOOOOOO WHIP LAAAAASH

Hollywood owes a lot to Greek mythology. Films have borrowed story lines, characters, and imagery from these well-worn and timeless tales as audiences still flock to see a good old Greek adventure today (My Big Fat Greek Wedding not included), as long as it has some rippling abs and intense action/violence.

Done right, films adapted from ancient Greece can revel in  big themes, powerful narratives, and splash buckets of blood and guts across the screen for our viewing pleasure. But in the sea of ancient Greek myths that have been bandied about the Hollywood scene, it is becoming harder and harder to stand out. The clash of swords, heads rolling, sexy goddesses and determined warriors are now not enough to satisfy our need for a good story.

Directed by Tarsem Singh – known for The Cell and The Fall Immortals sadly fails to match the impressions left by 300, Gladiator, Troy, and even, Spartacus (which dates all the way back to the 60’s). Even with the signature touch of Tarsem Singh’s eye-catching visual direction, Immortals takes a predictable road in its plot and glorifies characters that aren’t as compelling as they could be.

Based loosely on the myth of Theseus (a very bronze and muscly Henry Cavill) and the Minotaur, Immortals follows the fate of young Theseus and his quest to stop King Hyperion (Rourke) from claiming the mythical Epirius bow and using it to set the evil Titans free. While the young peasant warrior originally intended to simply keep his single mother and hometown safe, Theseus finds that his leadership can ultimately save mankind and even the gods, as the Titans also threaten the divine.

According to the film, the gods and the Titans are immortal – but only in the sense that mortals cannot kill them. Rather, it is possible for the gods and the Titans to kill each other. And yes, that’s not really the definition of immortal, but we’ll let that one slide. Like this, Immortals takes many liberties with its logic –  twisting the original story to involve more gods and CGI opportunities. And while this could have had historians tisk-tisking in the audience, it wasn’t what brought Immortals down to mediocrity. An underdeveloped protagonist, unexciting involvement with select Greek gods, and lofty ideas inconsistently brought up to remind us the film does have some philosophical substance, on the other hand, might do it.

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