In Home Viewings: "Immortals"

Long after the famed battle between the gods and the titans, a new terror threatens to rip the world of ancient Greece apart. The mad King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) will stop at nothing in his search for the Epirus Bow, a weapon of great power, and as such, he sails from place to place, killing and enslaving the people and ransacking the land. In the midst of this stands Theseus (Henry Cavill), a peasant from a fishing village, who catches the eye of Zeus (Luke Evans). Theseus sets out on a suicide mission to bring down King Hyperion and keep the world from being overrun by the blood-thirsty titans.

There are three things I wanted from Immortals, a film for which I held very limited expectations:

1.) I wanted to see Henry Cavill show me what he’s capable of in an action capacity leading into next year’s Superman film, in which he will play the title character;
2.) I wanted a fun, entertaining film that I could watch while working and enjoy myself;
3.) I wanted some outstanding visuals to counter balance the inevitable plot holes and weak dialogue I expected from a film of this ilk.

Unfortunately, this film fails on all three counts (and virtually every other measure that you might judge a quality film by). I’m willing to extend a pass to Cavill in this situation. Though he doesn’t do anything overly impressive here, I don’t think he was given much of anything to work with. This is a throw-away role in a movie that won’t be remembered in five years if Cavill’s career takes off. On the other hand, 300 (which I believe Immortalsaspires to be) gave a Gerard Butler a very similar role which he seized by the horns and rode to industry notoriety with great charisma. Cavill displays no such charisma nor does he fully embody the action-centric role the way I might have hoped. I admit, at this point I’m quite nervous about his turn as Superman but time will tell.

I’m less willing to extend to director Tarsem Singh the courtesy than I’ve given Cavill. Michael Bay has built a ridiculously luxurious career out of creating shallow-but-pretty blockbusters that bring nothing to the table except stylish effects and somewhat enjoyable. It’s easy to rail against Bay and his contemporaries but at least he has the decency to make his movies entertaining, even if it is low-level entertainment. Immortalscan’t even do that. It is neither fun nor entertaining, engrossing nor in any way, shape, or form enjoyable. The visuals, marketed, quite frankly, as the film’s greatest strength, are mostly unappealing and sometimes downright shabby. Perhaps it would have made a difference to see the print in a theater but many of the film’s bigger action sequences were almost unwatchable due to a horrendous color balance mixed with mediocre-at-best effects. I don’t expect every film to have awards-caliber post-production elements but let’s be honest here: the only reason anyone went to see Immortalswas because of the action. If the action sucks in an overtly action-oriented movie, then what are we left with? In this case, we’re left with a boring, dark, and jumbled mess highlighted by color-by-numbers acting and generic plot points. Do yourself a favor and skip this one entirely.