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Immortals--A Robwrite movie Review
IMMORTALS (Two & a half stars out of Five)
The 'Sword and Sandals' genre isn't as popular as it once was, but it refuses to die. Every year or two, we get another sword-swinging saga of Greco-Roman heroes hacking horrendous bad guys down to size. The latest is Immortals, which is a muddled and mediocre example of a Gods and Gladiators flick.
Directed by Tarsem Singh, Immortals covers much of the same ground as the recent Clash of the Titans, only without the advantage of being a remake of a cult favorite as Clash was. The films steals aspects of other 'Sword and Sandals' films like Troy and The 300, except that it doesn't have the star power of Troy or the exciting action sequences of the 300.
The good news is that the film looks amazing. The effects are superb and most of the sets are actually CGI images. The bad news is whoever wrote the plot doesn't have a very good working knowledge of mythology. The story gets some of the names right but almost everything else is a revisionist version of the Greco-Roman tales of Olympian Gods and heroic warriors we've all heard.
The plot begins with narration by a character known as "the Old Man" (John Hurt) but who has a better known name. The Old Man tells us that there once was a war between the Gods and the Titans. During this war, a bow capable of killing Gods was created, called the Epirus Bow. After the Gods defeated and imprisoned the Titans in Mt. Tartarus, they hid the Epirus Bow. A young Zeus (Luke Evans) is training a young, handsome peasant named Theseus (Henry Cavill) to be his ace-in-the-hole in case the Titans should be freed.
And that is just what King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) wants to do. He is quite peeved at the Gods for not answering his prayers when his wife was dying, so now he wants to free the Titans from Mt. Tartarus and find the Epirus Bow to wipe out the Gods of Olympus once-and-for-all. To find what he wants, he needs the prophetic skills of lovely virgin Oracle Phaedra (Freda Pinto), who is having visions of Theseus. Theseus doesn't want to get involved until Hyperion does something personal he can't forgive, so he joins the people who are opposing Hyperion and quickly finds not only a new weapon, but also becomes the leader of the good guy's resistance.
The plot jumps from one action sequence to the next, many of them uninspired. The Gods pop in and out of the film at convenient moments, whenever our hero is in a spot he can't get out of alone. (What kind of hero needs to be continually rescued by Gods?)
It's always fun to see Micky Roarke in evil mode, and he does a nicely reserved performance here. Our hero Henry Cavill does an adequate job as a nobel man of action, which is good practice for him since he's playing Superman in the upcoming reboot of the Man of Steel Franchise. John Hurt makes his weak dialogue sound good and Freida Pinto just gets to look pretty, including one nude scene in a gratuitous sex scene.
The director tries to copy some of the action sequences of the 300 but doesn't manage to make his scenes nearly as exciting as the 300 fights were. (He even uses the same "Their numbers are useless in this small area" line). The Troy-like scenes of an enemy trying to breach a massive wall are a not overly exciting (the siege of Hogwarts in the last Harry Potter film was more entertaining.) There are several disturbing scenes of violence and torture. And when we finally see the dreaded Titans, they seem more like the leaping mutant zombies of I Am Legend than the Titans of Mythology.
The Immortals is a weak fantasy film, but if your expectations are not too high, it might be a fairly entertaining way to spend 110 minutes.