Immortality…or not

immortals  I was intrigued when 300 came out at the cinema, but I didn’t go to see it.  I didn’t trust it.  I didn’t trust the camera treatments or that there would actually be a plot.  I certainly didn’t trust all those topless men.

I finally got round to watching it on DVD a few years later and I was blown away.  The dialogue and plot were brilliantly written, the acting was impeccable, the camera and lens treatment was beautiful and the slow motion aspects along with the music and action sequences were incredibly clever.  I was left with an overpowering love for the story and really, truly caring about the characters.

When Immortals came out at the cinema, I didn’t go to see it.  Visually, it looked so much like 300 and I just knew it couldn’t live up to the brilliance that is 300.  I watched it a couple of days ago for the first time.

Immortals is very loosely based on a Greek legend.  The Greek god Zeus (Luke Evans) chooses a mortal man, Theseus (Henry Cavill), to fight against evil King Hyperion  (Mickey Rourke) who is looking for a magical bow left on earth by the gods during their ancient battle with the titans.  Using the bow to unleash the titans, Hyperion will destroy mankind. Immortals also stars John Hurt and Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire).

Taking this legend and bending it, changing certain interpretations and giving representations of the gods proves to be very promising.  Theseus is the Greek who fought the minotaur and this has made it into the film.  Although this seems to be the only part of the legend that made it into the film.  This was given a new spin and considering the unreal visuals given in this film, I don’t really understand why they didn’t have a proper minotaur and make a little more of this.  It may have made the story more interesting.

The film treatment is exactly the same as 300.  The colours, the prettiness and the slow motion all echo 300.  Unfortunately, the slow motion is used incorrectly, leading to long and boring scenes.  The camera treatments can’t be faulted and it has to be said, this is a good looking film.

Sadly, the same cannot be said about the writing.  The dialogue is stilted and while there is a plot there, it just isn’t believable.  The characters are poorly developed and I just didn’t care for any of them.  No, that’s a lie.  I did like one, Stavros (Stephen Dorff), the thief that Theseus befriends and travels with him to fight against Hyperion.  We don’t learn a lot about Stavros, despite him being the only interesting character as the ‘good guy with issues’, which is a great shame.  He gave me a spark of hope but wasn’t able to live up to it.immortals2

Similarly, Mickey Rourke was an excellent villain and a once-upon-a-time kind heart was even hinted at but even he remained fairly flat.  However he was very well acted and, despite him being disgustingly evil, I found myself rooting for him by the end.

When first seeing the trailer for this film, I thought it would be fantastic to see the Greek gods.  There are only four or so gods in this film, considering how the vast cast of Greek gods.  All of them are young and show off a lot of flesh.  Zeus is the only one with an ounce of personality and even then he is contradictory, grooming Theseus for greatness and then banning anyone from helping him without any real explanation.  There was so much potential here to create a cast of fabulous, arrogant, powerful and flawed gods.  All we got were three topless young men (I’m sorry, at least Zeus should be a lot older) and one pathetic goddess – I had no idea Athena was the goddess of wood.

One thing I hated about 300 was the rape scene.  Well, when is a rape scene ever enjoyable?  Yet that rape scene led to me whooping towards the end of the film when the rapist gets what’s coming to him.  There were no sex scenes in 300 and that didn’t matter.
Immortals had a sex scene.  The oracle – a virgin who must keep her purity to keep her vision – suddenly decides that her gift is a curse and throws herself upon Theseus.  He moves up and down on her a bit and that’s it.
Sex should only be used in a story if it is truly needed.  This sex scene is used towards the end of the film but to be honest by that point my fingers were aching to change the channel and my eyes were already rolling.

But the trailer looked so good, I hear you cry.  How come the film just, well, wasn’t?  That’s because the trailer is actually made up of scenes from the very end of the film.  Golden gods look wonderful as a teaser, until you find out what’s behind them.  This film is a victim of a trailer showing the only good parts of a film (just like Legion).

immortals1I’m trying to think of more positives about Immortals but I can’t ignore the fact that I spent the last fifteen minutes watching my sleeping guinea pigs instead of concentrating on the film.
300 and Immortals don’t have a lot in common – treatment, slow motion, Ancient Greek stories and a producer.  It certainly feels that Immortals was made on the back of 300’s success, unfortunately the writers and director didn’t study what made 300 so great.  Slow motion, topless men and prettiness does not a good film make.

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