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These ‘Immortals’ won’t live forever



Article Published: Nov. 17, 2011 | Modified: Nov. 17, 2011
These ‘Immortals’ won’t live forever

From left, Stephen Dorff, Henry Cavill, Freida Pinto and Greg Bryk star in 'Immortals.'



The heavy-handed theme in the new sword-and-sandals epic, “Immortals,” is that the deeds of a man can make him live forever.

Ironically, the film is instantly forgettable.

Described as “from the producers of ‘300,’” director Tarsem Singh’s (“The Cell”) latest is appropriately high on visual flair, but low on substance.

A menacing performance from Mickey Rourke (“The Wrestler”) carries the film, but only so far, as the meandering pace leads quickly to boredom.

Presenting a disjointed take on Greek mythology, incorporating elements of historical fiction a la 2004’s “Troy,” “Immortals” comes across as unbalanced, reluctant to include the creatures that make these sorts of movies memorable, but nonetheless featuring Greek gods.

Is the idea of a bull-headed minotaur more far-fetched than a tsunami-inducing, trident-wielding god of the sea? Apparently so.

“Immortals” tells the story of Theseus (Henry Cavill, Showtime’s “The Tudors”), a tough-as-nails (and per “300” standards, considerably ripped) Greek peasant, whose village is slaughtered by the evil King Hyperion (Rourke). Hyperion is searching for a mythical bow that could spell doom for the gods.

In this take on Greek mythology, the titans aren’t the gods’ predecessors, but rather fellow gods who lost a war after everyone figured out they could kill each other. As punishment, they were renamed “titans” and imprisoned in a box in Mt. Tartarus, conveniently located near Theseus’ village.

Hyperion plans to open this box (not Pandora’s, mind you), but he’s underestimated the persistence of Theseus. Having escaped slavery and rescued the beautiful virgin oracle, Phaedra (Freida Pinto, “Slumdog Millionaire”), Theseus hacks and slices his way through the Greek peninsula to track down Hyperion and have his revenge.

Meanwhile, Zeus (Luke Evans, “Clash of the Titans”) instructs his fellow gods not to intervene, leaving mankind’s fate in its own hands. But if Hyperion releases the titans, they may have no choice.

The titans are the closest things “Immortals” has to actual monsters, but even they’re underwhelming, depicted as gray, scaly people that scamper around like computer-generated insects. They hardly pose a threat, and it seems almost certain that an out-of-character Mickey Rourke could kick their deified butts any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

The cast performs well enough, hamming it up in the tradition of the 1963’s “Jason and the Argonauts” and 1981’s “Clash of the Titans,” and Cavill as Theseus especially looks the part.
The special effects are standard-issue CGI, and the 3-D presentation manages to add a little more depth to its lush backgrounds and set pieces. That depth, however, doesn’t extend to story or character, making “Immortals” underwhelmingly mortal in the end.

“Immortals,” rated R for sequences of strong bloody violence, and a scene of sexuality, is playing at Regal Cinema 7 in Boone. For show times, visit http://www.mountaintimes.com/movies.


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