By: Garrett Collins
Starring: Henry Cavill, Mickey Rourke, Stephen Dorff, John Hurt, Luke Evans, and Freida Pinto
Tarsem Singh, the director of this film, is a very interesting guy. Back in the early 90s, he, along with directors such as David Fincher and Michael Bay, cut his teeth directing music videos. And, in 1991, his visual video for R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion,” hit the airwaves of MTV (back when they played videos) and showed that Singh was definitely a director to be watched. Now, 20 years later, he only has four directorial titles to his credit (The Cell, The Fall, this, and Mirror Mirror). While The Fall is an understated (and underrated) work, 2000’s The Cell showed that he could make images such as a monster’s seemingly endless red cape flowing against a white background and entrails twirling on a swindle look like poetry in motion.Cut to Immortals.With this film, Singh has once again proven that almost every piece of film he touches is a feast for the eyes. His use of lavish costumes and colors are in full swing here, as even the way he stages the film’s first scene of four characters waking up and getting out of a bed made of red sheets is beautiful to look at. The film is a mixture of the pumped up CGI-blood-soaked fighting and motivating speeches of 300 with the mythical creatures of Clash Of The Titans. And, if it seems like I am harping on the visuals and not the engrossing story of this mythic gorefest, that is because there really is not one to speak of.
There are, however, performances within the film that are pretty stand-out. Rourke, (who spends the majority of the film wearing a helmet that looks like a cross between Batman and a killer whale) hams it up and looks like he is having a good time playing King Hyperion, the main baddie who spends the film chasing Theseus (played by current Superman Henry Cavill) and cutting off peoples’ tongues. Dorff shows up to give much-needed comic relief to a film that takes itself way too seriously. And the beautiful Pinto plays Phaedra, Theseus’ love interest that seems to disappear from the film about halfway through. While 300 (whose producers also produced this film) was not anybody’s idea of a flawless film, its script was still pretty well structured and explained itself when it needed to. This script is just flat-out all over the place. Cavill doesn’t necessarily prove he can carry a film here. But, his fights and verbal sparring with Rourke prove that he does have enough of a presence to show that maybe Zack Snyder and company knew what they were doing when they cast him in the role of a lifetime.While visuals such as a decapitated head dissolving into a shot of a boat on the water and Singh’s seeming obsession with the color red are a treat to look at, the film suffers from the same problems The Cell did. There is just no emotional resonance built with any of the characters, and the result ends up coming down to this: instead of instinctually creating an arresting narrative about how the protagonist is going to save the day, the only mystery Immortals solves is how good Singh is going to make them look doing it. This being said, the fights are pretty well choreographed (these combined with Singh’s ability to make every landscape breathtaking are almost worth the 3D price on their own), it was great seeing Dorff own every scene he was in, and the score by Trevor Morris is tremendous. Singh did what he could with this script. Too bad it wasn’t enough to immortalize just how talented he is.