Saturday, November 12, 2011

Review: Immortals [2011]


Background:
Release Date: 10 November 2011 (Malaysia)
Directed By: Tarsem Singh
Written By: Charley Parlapanides, Vlas Parlapanides
Starring: Henry Cavill, Mickey Rourke, Freida Pinto, Luke Evans
In A Nutshell:
King Hyperion (played by Mickey Rourke) has declared war against humanity and is in search of The Epirus Bow. With this mythical bow, he can release the imprisoned Titans to rain destruction on earth. The Gods/Immortals via Zeus (played by Luke Evans) however has secretly chosen a peasant named Theseus (played by Henri Cavill) to stop him.
Thumbs Up:
+ Awesome final battle between the "Gods/Immortals" and the "Titans" (although pretty brief)
+ Visually impeccable
+ This really depends on individual taste as it can easily be "Thumbs Down", but I loved the violent kills
Thumbs Down:
- Messy and rushed storytelling
- Thin and forgettable plot
- No character development resulting in zero emotional connection with the audience
- The "War Speech" made by Theseus is pretty tame
The Verdict Is In:
Some people say that in action movies, the story and character development isn't important. Well I beg to differ. Character development or depth creates an emotional connection where the audience becomes invested/attached to those said characters. They generate suspense and also establishes who to root for and also who to hate. When someone is in danger, the audience will gasp and feel genuinely scared. When a character which they like dies, a feeling of shock creeps throughout the entire theatre atmosphere. We might even hear a cry of "nooo!!!". An example will be in Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince [2009] where (spoiler alert... if you've been living under a rock all these years) Dumbledore dies, there is absolute stunned-silence. We also might hate a character so much that we feel like standing up and punching him in the face like we did towards Percy from The Green Mile [1999]. When he actually does get punched we hear yells of "Yeah!!".

Well considering the story in Immortals is so messy and rushed, with zero character depth, it is no surprise that there is none of that said emotional connection/attachment. When a character close to Theseus is murdered, we don't really feel anything because we aren't emotionally invested in that character. When a "God/Immortal" which was supposedly important dies near the end, no grief is present in any of us. And the plot is so thin and messy I actually had trouble writing the "In A Nutshell" segment above because I couldn't remember what the story was actually about . Top Hollywood critic, Roger Ebert wrote this: "But a lot of time I had no idea what was going on. Characters would turn up for the first time, seem terrifically important, and disappear. If at any moments I had stopped the film and asked anybody around me, 'who is that, and what are they doing, and why?', I think they'd have been stuck for an answer". I totally agree.

 As someone who has played a lot of competitive football (soccer) in my life, I really do value the importance of motivational speeches. My coaches were no Alex Ferguson or Jose Mourinho but even though we were down at half-time, their speeches were full of inspiration they managed to galvanise us so much that by time the final whistle came, we managed to turn the score around and win instead. So as for the War speech made by Theseus goes, let's just say if moral is on the low (as was the case in this particular scene) it wouldn't actually lift the spirits up. Now compare that to some other movies. Who can forget the gusto of William Wallace's speech in Braveheart [1995]: "They may take away our lives, but they'll never take... OUR FREEDOM!!". Or the chill down our spine that Archilles' speech in Troy [2004] gave us: "Let no man forget how menacing we are, we are lions! Do you know what's there, waiting, beyond that beach? Immortality! Take it! Its yours!"

Having said that the final battle between The Gods and The Titans was pretty impressive although too short for my liking. In fact that final battle actually added an extra 0.5 points to my rating below. But we had to go through a tedium 2/3 of the movie to get there. The visuals are pretty amazing too, and that is why by the end of the day Immortals is pretty much a paradox: A visually pleasing pile of mess.
Rating:
3.5 out of 10

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