[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B008I31JZQ][/pullquote] After the success of Sin City in 2005, another Frank Miller graphic novel went into production. 300 proved an even bigger box office success and helped launch the careers of Michael Fassbender and Gerard Butler. Aimed squarely at the teenage male demographic, the depiction of a stylised ancient swords and sandals epic proved exceptionally popular and from the producers of 300 comes Immortals, directed by Tarsem Singh Dhandwar, most famous for The Cell and The Fall.
Immortals is loosely based on the Greek myth of Theseus, whose most famous trials came against the minotaur and the hordes of King Hyperion at the gates of Tartarus. Crete King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) plans on invading ancient Greece, finding the mythical Epirus Bow and using it to free the Titans from their prison in Mount Tartarus. Theseus (Henry Cavill) is the bastard son of a peasent women in a small village. After seeing his mother slain by Hyperion, Theseus embarks on a quest to stop him with Stavros (Stephen Dorff) and Oracle Priestess Phaedra (Freida Pinto). Zeus (Luke Evans) instructs the other Gods on Mount Olympus not to interfere in Theseus’ life in the hopes that he will make the right choices and lead the Hellenic people against Hyperion and stop the release of the Titans.
Directed by visionary director Tarsem Singh Dhandwar, Immortals has all the visual flair and look of his previous films. Like The Cell, Immortals takes what we know of ancient Greece and gives it a bright, colourful and vaguely perverse style. From the rich golds on the Gods, to the blackened earth skins on the Titans, everything has a look that belies the truth of their character. There’s even room for some of the most ridiculous headdresses ever seen in film, with special mentions going to Hyperion’s stag beetle and Apollo’s spikes.
Where Singh excels in style, he has something of a mixed bag when it comes to cast. Talented performers like John Hurt and Frieda Pinto are wasted, but at least they bring some respite from the crushing disappointment of Henry Cavill. After it was announced that Cavill would be Snyder’s Man of Steel, all eyes turned to his performance in Immortals. The verdict: He’s not very good. Much like Clive Owen in King Arthur and Orlando Bloom in¦ well everything, he lacks the power, charisma and seeming interest in the film in which he stars to be convincing as a leader of men. He clucks his way through scenes with a slightly posh accent and absolutely no sense of place. Clearly more at home in modern day London than ancient Greece, every syllable he utters distracts us from the vacuous and messy plot. The same problem affects the usually excellent Dorff, who gives the impression that he has just stepped of the beach rather than out an ancient temple.
The much-mooted fight scenes are thrilling and full of gore, but actually make up a pitiful amount of the film. The rest of the time we’re ˜treated’ to Cavill and Dorff exchanging modern quips or Rourke growling like some Mafia boss from the 1920s. In fact the misplaced character acting aside, the biggest problem with Immortals is that it has a very poor sense of place. While the actual sets are luscious, the film hops from locale to locale, never really differentiating between them, so we never really know where anyone is, or really care.