Friday, November 11, 2011

IMMORTALS - All Flesh & Blood, No Plot

IMMORTALS (fantasy adventure)
Cast: Kellan Lutz, Mickey Rourke, Freida Pinto, Henry Cavill, Luke Evans, Robert Maillet, Stephen Dorff, Corey Sevier, Alan Van Sprang, Neil Napier and Mercedes Leggett
Director: Tarsem Singh
Screenplay by Charley Parlapanides, Vlas Parlapanides
Time: 108 mins
Rating: * * 1/2 (out of 4)

Henry Cavill (centre) in IMMORTALS

PREAMBLE: If ever there's a movie made for the fan-boy crowd, this is it. Reminiscent of the popular 300, Immortals teems with sexy costumes and bare flesh, blood and gore, eye-boggling CGI-rendered locations and mythical fantasy settings, and Arabian Nights-styled love scenes (which have been snipped in Malaysia, of course).

What it sorely lacks is an engaging narrative and a compelling plot that will make the movie a worthwhile watch.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT: The story is adapted from the legend of Theseus (played by Henry Cavill), the demi-god who slayed the Minotaur. Theseus is brought up as a peasant boy, guided in no small measure by an enigmatic Old Man (John Hurt) in the ways of war and sword-fighting. The main theme here is achieving 'immortality' through seeds and deeds. Theseus is advised to achieve immortality through great deeds and feats - and he has the help of Phaedra (Freida Pinto. left), a Sybelline Oracle whose visions help to guide him in his quest.

For Hyperion (Mickey Rourke), the main villain of this piece, his aim is to achieve immortality through his seeds - by impregnating as many women as he can. Towards this, he seeks the Epirus Bow, a magical weapon that will help him conquer both humans and immortals, including Olympians like Zeus (Luke Evans) Athena (Isabel Lucas, below) and Poseidon (Kellan Lutz).

HITS & MISSES: Anyone who has seen the trailers, or 300, would have had enough glimpses of the spectacular 'worlds' that the technical crew have created from computer-rendered imagery. The precarious cliff dwellings of the mortals and the 'heavenly abodes' of the gods are awesome sights to behold. And if these are not eye-catching enough, director Tarsem Singh and his costume designers have 'fleshed out' outfits that help to enhance the beefcake and cheesecake delights. Indeed, the male cast seems to have been picked from the top body-building centres - and the camera lingers on them in close-ups and slow-mo. Ditto that for the female cast playing the goddesses and Oracles.

As far as the narrative is concerned, we are reminded of the tepid and ineffective Clash Of The Titans (of 2010). Character development is given the short shrift here - and we don't care for most of the players. Cavill's Theseus is portrayed so egoistically that we are sure no danger will befall him; Rourke is over-the-top (as usual) in hyping up Hyperion, and Pinto seems 'distracted' and 'conflicted' as the Oracle. Stephen Dorff's Stavros looks promising as an interesting sidekick to Theseus but again, the role is not properly developed.

Of course, there is a mighty climactic battle at the end of the film - and most of its fan boy crowd would have forgotten - and perhaps, forgiven - the narrative flaws of the Immortals.

THE LOWDOWN: A visual feast of blood and gore, but lacking in heart and soul.


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