Visionary director Tarsem Singh (The Cell) and the producers of 300 unleash an epic tale of a power-mad king who razes ancient Greece in search of a legendary weapon, while a heroic villager rises up against him. Now playing nationwide, click for movie times and trailer.
Also showing in 3D.
Tarsem Singh’s previous films have been triumphs of style over substance. I mean that in the best possible way, especially in the case of the astonishingly over-the-top The Fall. The idea of Singh’s visual sensibility colliding head on with a fantasy blockbuster, in 3D no less, was therefore exhilarating. You can feel the “but” coming though, can’t you? Immortals could have fused Singh’s earlier works with post-300 Hollywood – but it doesn’t.
Much of his familiar imagery is intact in the form of great costumes, surreal use of CGI and dudes wearing masks and body paint. But the visual craziness has been diluted – a more mainstream audience is clearly in mind – and therefore there’s a need for serious storytelling ability, especially given that Immortals’ narrative is (very) loosely based on Greek mythology. That’s where the problem lies. The sets may look great, extravagantly built one moment and resembling a ‘70s matte painting that’s mind-bogglingly painted in 3D the next, but the acting on them? Jeez…
The dialogue doesn’t do the cast any favours, a hodge-podge of nonsense that is just really there to stitch together cool fight scenes and sets. The delivery is like rehearsals for a second rate theatre production – pompous, lifeless, and a bit awkward. For some reason Mickey Rourke and Stephen Dorff are in this too, and, just like the early ‘80s pseudo-epics this most closely resembles, they seem to be on board just to lend some C-list actor recognition.