Immortals Blu-ray Review
The first time I saw a preview for IMMORTALS, I remember thinking “There is another 300 rip-off.” Now, I’m someone who enjoys stylized action just as much as the next guy, so even though I was leery I was still pretty excited to see what could come from Tarsem Singh, the Director who brought THE CELL (2000) to life. To top it off, we have the first star vehicle for our newest MAN OF STEEL (to be released in 2013) – Henry Cavill. So – how did it all shake out? Sadly, not as well as I’d hoped but probably not quite as bad as I’d expected, either.
IMMORTALS’ plot is loosely based on stories from Greek mythology. When the gods fought a great war before the time of man, the winners became the gods of myth and the losers were imprisoned on Earth, called Titans. A mythical weapon called the Epirus Bow was lost during this war – and it is believed this is the only way to awaken the Titans. King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) has amassed a great army in his quest to destroy the gods (and mankind) by unleashing the Titans – but he must find the Epirus Bow to complete his quest.
As Hyperion searches for the bow, his army comes upon a settlement with a young man who is a fantastic warrior. Theseus (Cavill), a commoner, the bastard son of a devout mother, is forced to watch as Hyperion slits her throat. Taken as a slave, Theseus is to work the mines for Hyperion, when the Oracle, Phaedra (Freida Pinto of RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES), happens upon him and, when they have a glancing touch, sees a vision that informs her that Theseus has an important part to play in the upcoming war. Phaedra helps keep Theseus alive and he, in turn, helps her escape when there is a chance. Phaedra quickly falls for our reluctant young hero, as he wrestles with the choices in front of him… can he lead mankind against an almost unstoppable Hyperion?
IMMORTALS is a CLASH OF THE TITANS slash 300 slash SPARTACUS slash GLADIATOR movie that is, quite honestly, all over the place. The plot is simple but is delivered in such a way as to make it completely confusing to the viewer. The natural storytelling base of Greek mythology is embraced only so far as to give names to the Gods and to establish the movie’s timeframe. The story is further confounded by other one dimensional inventions – the “godlike” warrior King (Hyperion) could have been truly interesting if there had been a SCRAP of reality infused in his character. And the oracle, Phaedra, gives a little credibility to the ‘mythology’ backdrop but is really only involved in the story so that they can show her bare backside. (I’m not opposed to this, necessarily. I’m a dude.)
With Singh at the helm, I expected at least that the movie would be beautiful… but while the landscape is certainly pretty (Singh described this as “Caravaggio meets FIGHT CLUB” – referring to the films style as an ode to the great Renaissance artists), it never feels completely realized. In fact, the movie isn’t nearly as pretty as it could have been. When we see this world they created it is almost as though we are witnessing several small set pieces – not a REAL place. This is disappointing coming from the director who brought to life THE CELL, one of the strangest and yet most beautifully terrifying movies of recent memory. That one is still far superior to the debacle that is IMMORTALS – I’m sure there will be folks who enjoyed this movie but it just doesn’t deliver.
Video: (1080p, 1.85:1 Widescreen) The video is not as consistently beautiful as expected on this high definition transfer. HD (non-3D) also ruins the presentation of much of IMMORTALS’ blood, which just looks cartoony.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The audio, on the other hand, is immersive and at times truly frightening. Very nicely done and worth the effort to watch IMMORTALS on your system.
It’s No Myth (05:27) Several mythology scholars speak in sweeping generalities about greek mythology and the importance of the changing modes of storytelling utilized in IMMORTALS.
Caravaggio Meets Fight Club: Tarsem’s Vision (20:29) This four-part special feature covers Singh’s vision for IMMORTALS. It actually makes me want to give the movie another chance… maybe in a few months I’ll be less disappointed. This is a great featurette – I thoroughly enjoyed it. The four parts can be viewed as one or you can watch each separately: Tarsem’s Vision, Visual Effects, Stunts, Creating the Score.
Alternate Opening – Young Theseus (11:34) This one starts with some promise but quickly degenerates into some awful acting with little substance – a young Theseus denounces the gods and enters the tutelage of the old man. I’m very glad this was omitted from IMMORTALS final cut.
Alternate Ending – This is Our Last Embrace (08:38) Very similar to the final ending to IMMORTALS – this shows a bit more of the aftermath of the final battle and the collapse of Mount Tartarus.
Alternate Ending – Theseus Kills Hyperion (04:07) Hyperion rises from the dead to kill Theseus, only to be killed by Theseus in his final moments. This one fits the overarching story of IMMORTALS better than the final ending chosen for the film, though it is darker.
Deleted Scenes (08:10) Several deleted scenes could have stretched IMMORTALS and really slowed the pace. There is nothing here that would have served the film by being included.
Immortals: Gods and Heroes This is a comic book that is presented on your television screen and would be quite enjoyable, if you could read it. The script is SO small, though, that you will struggle to enjoy this mini IMMORTALS comic book.
This Blu-ray release of IMMORTALS also features the Theatrical Trailer (02:28), and a Digital Copy of the film.