Immortals

An uneasy blend of wordy scenes punctuated by incomprehensible action sequences, 'Immortals'  fails to live up to the promise of its trailer. It left us feeling cheated as it wandered unnecessarily down a well-travelled road when something more original was within its grasp.

The hype...
Tarsem Singh, the man behind the visually spectacular 'The Cell' and The Fall', returns with this 3D epic action adventure. 'Immortals' is set in a mythical world populated with powerful gods who oversee the actions of men from afar. Early comparisons with '300' are plentiful, but so is the painful memory of the rushed 'Clash of the Titans' remake.

The story...
King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) and his savage band of warriors are scything their way through ancient Greece with an unquenchable thirst for power and revenge. The Gods can watch on but are forbidden from interfering in the affairs of Man, a rule that Zeus (Luke Evans) is intent on enforcing.

Hyperion is searching for the Epirus Bow, a weapon of unimaginable power that will make the evil king an unstoppable force. The location of the weapon is a closely guarded secret, but Hyperion knows that the Oracle Phaedra (Freida Pinto) can act as a guide, and sets about finding her.

Standing in the way is lowly peasant Theseus (Henry Cavill). Having seen his home destroyed and family killed at the hands of the king, Theseus begins his own mission: and help is at hand from an unlikely source. Just as well when the fate of humankind hangs in the balance.

The breakdown...

The blast of effects and colour-drenched landscapes of 'Immortals' prove that Tarsem Singh has the potential to be a visionary filmmaker. It's a woozy affair, boasting a dreamlike quality which helps enhance some of the scenes where the look is crucial.

Unfortunately for Singh a film also requires a decent script, and this is the Achilles heel of the project. The dialogue is clunky and delivered in overlong passages where nothing else seems to be happening. The blend of patchy ancient language with thoroughly modern inflections is infuriating, and Pinto is the chief culprit.

The rest of the performances are good, even managing to contain a hammy turn from Rourke, although the all-mighty Zeus looks a bit puny compared to those surrounding him.

Cavill makes for an impressively statuesque Theseus, and almost convinced us of his 'Superman' capabilities with his first appearance here. He looks the part and can do steely cool as well as charming with ease. We're now excited about his superhero blockbuster, even with Zack Snyder at the helm.

Interestingly it's Snyder's previous film, the awful 'Sucker Punch', that provides us with the best comparison. Obviously '300' is the template for films like this, but there was at least something original about that. By the time the derivative female ensemble 'Sucker Punch' arrived, audiences were quick to shun the proliferation of visuals over story. Alas, it's a lesson not learned in time for this film.

It all adds up to a demoralising experience which sucks the fun out of the film. It should have been high camp at the very least, but feels like a damp squib of a movie.

The verdict...
Arguably the most appealing thing about this movie is in the way it allays fears over the casting of Henry Cavill as the new 'Superman'. He looks every inch of the Man of Steel, and the fact that we'd rather be talking about a film that is over a year away should tell you all you need to know about 'Immortals'. A waste of everyone's time and money.

Rating: 2/5


'Immortals' is released in the UK on 11 November. Certificate: 15.