Movie review: Immortals

There are blood, guts and glory — everything we might expect from the new adventure/action film Immortals, directed by Tarsem Singh. This is not a film for the weak-stomached individual, although if you are an adrenaline junky with a desire for a not-so-thought-provoking flick, you’re good to go.

The film begins with Titan King Hyperion waging war against humanity, beginning a search for the Epirus Bow, a weapon of great power created by the god of war, Ares. He plans to use the bow to free the imprisoned Titans. Years before, the Titans were defeated by the Olympians, if freed, Hyperion would be able to take revenge on the gods who defeated him. Now, all common sense would point to the obvious solution, you’d think the gods would come down and put an end to Hyperion and his shenanigans. Oh but wait, then there wouldn’t be a movie. Instead, the gods are forbidden to take sides in the war between humanity and Hyperion. It is left to Theseus and his little band of sidekicks to defend humanity and stop Hyperion from releasing the Titans with disastrous results.

Despite the fact that the storyline does become murky in more than a few areas, it generally holds your attention and interest. The plot is not predictable in the traditional sense; although the blatant contrast between good and evil, right and wrong is obvious and expected from a run-of-the-mill bloody historical adventure such as this one. In the way of plot and storyline, Immortals doesn’t bring anything new to the table: violence, glory, honor, betrayal, and romance are all present. I feel like I do need to give some credit to the proportions of these factors though. While heavy on the violence and glory, and light on the romance, the mix is near-perfect; it grabs our attention, and works together to keep it, with relative success.

By way of characters, we can discern many of the stereotypical roles that make films like Immortals so good: the bad guy, the betrayer, the good guy, the group of sidekicks and the elders. While this mix of oversimplified character profiles is used in most action films everywhere, would we have it any other way? Not a chance.

It’s the cast of this film, rather than the character profiles, that is really important here. The good guy, the bad guy, the sidekick, etc. can be portrayed by any old actor, but the challenge is getting the actors to complement the plot, the script and each other at the same time. In this respect, Immortals achieves only mixed success. Henry Cavill, who portrays our hero Theseus, is not memorable in this role. It’s almost like he relied on a lot of yelling, a lot of testosterone and quite a few shirtless scenes to coast through the film. Sadly, many of the male characters end up this way, fading away into obscurity as the credits roll. Again however, I will give credit where credit is due. As King Hyperion, Mickey Rourke manages to achieve mild success in his role, as does Freida Pinto as Phaedra, the oracle priestess and the good guy’s female sidekick. For me, Mickey Rourke has always been terrifying as the bad guy, speaking in little more than a whisper, still causing chills to run down my spine. Phaedra as a character is quiet and demure. Pinto manages to kick some life into her role and add some strength to the character, while not eclipsing her co-stars.

Now, I feel the need to say this again: if you are a person who’s not usually OK with blood and guts, you might want to wait until this film is out on DVD, especially because Immortals has done the predictable deed of jumping on the 3D bandwagon. It’s not just blood and guts, its blood and guts jumping out of the screen towards you, usually in horrific slow motion. As a person squeamish around blood, I’m sure my face was frozen into a grimace nearly the whole time, eyes squinted and teeth clenched, patiently awaiting the end of the splatter. On the other hand, if you are able to see past the bloodshed, this film does remind you exactly what adrenaline feels like, giving you that heart-pounding “go good guy, go!” feeling that slightly redeems both the murky plot and the fact that I nearly passed out (twice).

Overall, Immortals is not a memorable film, it won’t go down in history or make household names of its cast. But if you’re looking for an entertainment fix with most of the elements of good adventure, Immortals would be an appropriate choice. Just remember not to over-think it; to truly enjoy this film, you’re just going to have to sit back and enjoy the ride.