The movie Immortals came out two weekends ago. Many people were bagging on it for being a 300 ripoff. And maybe it is, but what the hell is wrong with that? 300 was a perfect over-the-top, testosterone-filled, homo-erotic action flick set in ancient Greece, filmed with beautiful vision from director Zach Snyder – who has a history of flicks that look great and… well, they look GREAT! Immortals is much of the same, but this one was directed by Tarsem Singh – who, incidentally, has a very similar pedigree to Zach – and has less of a coherent plot.
If you you are not familiar with the story of Immortals, I will fill you in. Hold on to your brain. There is this evil king (Mickey Rourke, perfect) who wants to take over Greece. There is a peasant named Theseus who the virgin oracle says will stop him, and he does.
Oh yeah, there is this magical bow thing that looks to be the major plot device in the first half of the movie, but the writers possibly got bored with it (?) and it is moot point in the end. Oh shit, there are these Titans who are superhuman immortal monster-looking dudes who are locked in a mountain and love to kill stuff (What are they fighting for and what is their motivation? Christ knows.). They jackknife them in the opening narration (“There was an evil king who wanted to take over all of the land. [cut to shot of Titans] Holy fuck, look at these crazy Titans locked inside this huge mountain! [cut back to shot of the king] His plan was to…) and, crazy enough, they end up fucking up shit in the end of the movie. Oh hell, I forgot the oracle looses all of her ability to see into the future, and thus help the good guys, if she loses her virginity. So what does our hero, Theseus, do? He bangs the hell out of her. Huh? Gadzooks, I forgot about the gods. So there is this handful of gods (a god click?) hanging out in the clouds, led by Zeus. Most of the movie is spent with Zeus saying that they should not interfere with human affairs. That is, until there is a crazy climatic action scene, at which point Zeus deems it necessary to make the scene more godly awesome.
None of this matters. If you paid to see Immortals and were looking for a clever story, then you are probably not too savvy on deciphering previews. This movie has some strengths (which are definitely enhanced if you enjoy fortifying your movie-going experience with a strong beverage). First off, this flick is beautifully shot in 3-D. I generally hate the format and usually opt on seeing 3-D movies in 2-D when in the moviehouse. However, I read that this was one of the better examples of the format, so I opted to get the plastic glasses. I was not disappointed. This flick combined the CGI sets and 3-D to create a crazy mythical world. Sure, it was not a mythical setting (for the most part), but it was certainly not historically accurate representation of ancient Greece.
That brings up the second, related, awesome strength: the sets. None of the sets in this movie are meant to look accurate/believable/plausible. If one were to take this as a history lesson, they would conclude that ancient Greece was a barren wasteland built on cliffs and the people found subsistence from rocks and dirt. Thinking back on it, I cannot recall seeing a single plant in the movie. Once again, this hardly matters, as the settings look terrific. Cities built in the side of a cliff, overlooking the sea, with very little room to walk, and even less room to make a misstep? Why the hell not, it is a visual orgasm.
The last strength of the movie that I will mention is the story. Yes, I realize that much of this post was spent ripping on the plot, but the storytelling is done competently enough to keep your interest. There are far too many big dumb action movies being released lately that look great, have great action, but the flow of the movie or the plot is so retarded that it makes the experience dull and walkoutable (300‘s director’s Sucker Punch is a glaring example). Immortals knows exactly what it is. It does not waste time on developing character, coming up with a clever plot, or intertwining a deeper message. It is a movie about some crazy gory action and fantastical shit going down in ancient Greece and it cares about little else.
And in the end, that is the point. Is Immortals a great example of the art of cinema? Fuck no. But you could sure do a whole lot worse throwing down some money at the local movie theater.