Immortals actually isn’t too bad of a movie. It’s got some good action scenes, the style director Tarsem employs is at least a little different from those that have come before and the acting is fairly adequate as well. The Blu-ray offers up some decent features and the audio and video transfers are both excellent.
Genre(s): Fantasy, Action
Fox | R – 110 min. – $39.99 | March 6, 2012
Directed by: Tarsem Singh Dhandwar
Writer(s): Charles Parlapanides & Vlas Parlapanides (written by)
Cast: Henry Cavill, Mickey Rourke, Stephen Dorff, Luke Evans, Isabel Lucas, Freida Pinto
Theatrical Release Date: November 11, 2011
Features: Featurettes, Alternate Opening, Alternate Endings, Deleted Scenes, Graphic Novel, Digital Copy
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.85
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Disc Size: 46.4 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 3.0/5
The latest Greek fantasy action-adventure, Immortals, is from director Tarsem Singh Dhandwar who you might remember from the insane, mind-bending and inept Jennifer Lopez fantasy-crime-thriller, The Cell. His latest isn’t as inane but still there’s something missing that’s usually void in most of these other over-stylized features: heart and soul.
The movie follows Theseus (HENRY CAVILL) a peasant who was a product of a rape. He, and his mother, Aethra (ANNE DAY-JONES), are at the lowest end of society and often is the subject of ridicule from others.
In their small town, they are about to be under siege by the vicious scoundrel King Hyperion (MICKEY ROURKE), who seeks the Epirus Bow which yields great power including unleashing the titans – who were once gods, now imprisoned – to battle the gods of Olympus whom Hyperion blames for not saving his family. While the upper echelon of the society were allowed to leave, with the lower end not being allowed until the next day, Theseus and his mother are left and sure enough, Theseus comes up upon his village being attacked along with his mother about to be butchered. So Theseus takes drastic action, carving out one baddie after another before being overpowered and netted. Along comes Hyperion who takes it upon himself not only to slit the mother’s throat, but to leave Theseus alive and serve as a slave. Why do these bad guys consistently let somebody live who could possibly rise up and take revenge?
In any case, he, along with a thief named Stavros (STEPHEN DORFF), haul lumber in the vast dessert for some random purpose… or Hyperion just wants to be an ass and didn’t have anything for his slaves to do. Anyway, with the help of the virgin oracle Phaedra (FREIDA PINTO) – who is being held by Hyperion to find the Epirus Bow – Theseus and Stavros make their escape with Theseus determined to find Hyperion to exact his revenge.
Meanwhile, high up on Olympus, Zeus warns the other gods not to interfere with the human’s war but despite the warning, the gods like Poseidon, Ares and Hercules help out in the matters anyway, much to the Zeus’ fury. As you might imagine, the humans journey on and eventually Theseus gets his opportunity, after an “epic” battle cry, to face off against Hyperion.
Alright, I’ll admit up front that the trailers for Immortals never exactly grabbed my attention. It looked like the same over stylized action from 300 mixed with a plot culled from Gladiator. Even so, it’s not a bad movie, just kind of mundane. The action isn’t very memorable although the visual effects are fairly impressive. The acting is OK with no one person standing out save for maybe Henry Cavill who shows why he was chosen to play Superman in the upcoming The Man of Steel while Stephen Dorff’s character is entirely forgettable despite the actor’s best efforts.
The direction by Tarsem Singh Dhandwar isn’t bad but his technique in the action and fight scenes seem awfully familiar. Even if Tarsem didn’t blatantly rip off other filmmakers, they seemed to be culled from other movies, primarily by Zach Snyder be it Watchmen or Sucker Punch. Immortals was written by Charles and Vlas Parlapanides (debuts for both) and while at times there’s some good imagination, it’s all very familiar as well as extremely predictable even outside the final battle between Theseus and Hyperion.
All in all, Immortals is still a serviceable action-adventure that’s mainly style over substance. The characters are all dull and forgettable but at least the actors seem to give it their all. The visual effects, while not great, still is admirable. If you’re into mystical action movies, then maybe you’ll get something out of it; for me, while I’d hardly call if awful, it’s still one of those movies that will be forgotten years from now until it airs on TBS in edited form.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.0/5
The Blu-ray comes with a semi-glossy slip cover. Also, there might be spoilers here so proceed with caution.
It’s No Myth (5:27; HD) explores Greek mythology in the ancient world, mythology in modern cinema, comparing the ideas of immortality and so forth with comments by people in academia along with the director and cast members. It’s nothing overly interesting especially since it’s only 5-minutes long.
Caravaggio Meets Fight Club: Tarsem’s Vision (20:29; HD) is a four-part featurette covering “Tarsem’s Vision”, “Visual Effects”, “Stunts” and “Creating the Score”. For what’s basically a “making-of” where we get scenes from the movie intermixed with interviews by members of the cast and crew, it’s not too bad as you get some insights. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Alternate Opening: Young Theseus (11:34; HD) – This alt. opening, in rough form, shows Theseus’ background, as well as that of Phaedra, and includes some additional footage to what was in the original opening as well. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Alternate Ending: This is Our Last Embrace (8:38; HD) – As with the alternate opening, this one just has some additional footage added to what we got in the final cut. In this one, we get more of the aftermath of the Gods vs. Titans battle, including Theseus dying in Phaedra’s arms, which is a nice scene actually. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Alternate Ending: Theseus Kills Hyperion (4:07; HD) – In this ending, Hyperion somehow survives Theseus’ brutality and shanks him in the back, but not before Theseus takes Hyperion with him to death. Let’s just say I liked how they originally ended it… ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Deleted Scenes (8:10; HD) – Eight scenes were left on the cutting room floor and these are mostly filler, add little to the final cut and only slow down the pacing.
Immortals: Gods & Heroes is a graphic novel you can read on your TV screen and I suppose for people interested in the subject matter, might be interested in it.
Theatrical Trailer (2:28; HD)
Previews – Haywire, Machine Gun Preacher
Also included is a Digital Copy compatible with Windows Media or iTunes.
VIDEO – 4.75/5
While these over-stylized fantasy action movies are largely void of substance, they tend to look fantastic on Blu-ray. And indeed, Immortals, presented in its original 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer, the colors, with a bit of a rusty foil, looks excellent. The detail levels are also impressive where you can see each bit of lines on the costumes or nuanced set/computer-generated construction.
AUDIO – 5.0/5
Also impressive is the heavy-duty 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track which is wide ranging from quieter, more dialogue-driven moments coming from the center speaker to the action-packed scenes and sequences that make use of the other channels. It’s during the action scenes that the LFE channel also kicks in, shaking the room and providing that in-home experience you’d expect from most movies.
OVERALL – 3.5/5
Overall, Immortals actually isn’t too bad of a movie. It’s got some good action scenes, the style director Tarsem employs is at least a little different from those that have come before and the acting is fairly adequate as well. Having said that, the movie fails to maintain any kind of momentum and I couldn’t shake the feeling that this was yet another style over substance kind of film. Still, the Blu-ray offers up some decent features and the audio and video transfers are both excellent.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.