Combustible Celluloid
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With: Henry Cavill, Mickey Rourke, Stephen Dorff, Freida Pinto, Luke Evans, John Hurt, Joseph Morgan, Anne Day-Jones, Greg Bryk, Alan Van Sprang, Peter Stebbings, Daniel Sharman, Isabel Lucas, Kellan Lutz, Steve Byers
Written by: Charley Parlapanides, Vlas Parlapanides
Directed by: Tarsem Singh
MPAA Rating: R for sequences of strong bloody violence, and a scene of sexuality
Running Time: 110
Date: 11/10/2011

Immortals (2011)

1 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Gods and Clods

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

It seems as if there is no way to make these kinds of gladiator/barbarian/centurion battle movies any good at all. No matter how impressive the visuals, no matter how bloody or brutal the fighting, they are always stuck with flat dialogue, wooden acting, characters with no arc, and stories with no point. That's certainly the case with Immortals, despite the apparent "visionary" status of director Tarsem Singh, who is best known for his striking television commercials and music videos, as well as two previous movies The Cell (2000) and The Fall (2006).

In 1228 B.C. the evil King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) seeks the Epirus Bow, a magical weapon that will give him unimaginable power and will enable him to free the monstrous titans, imprisoned since time immemorial within the rock of Mount Tartaros. The gods are powerless to intervene, but hope comes in the form of human Theseus (Henry Cavill), who is gifted in battle. Together with a beautiful oracle (Freida Pinto) and a thief (Stephen Dorff), Theseus must find a way to stop Hyperion before it's too late.

The focus here is certainly on the extreme gore, the oversize, computer-generated sets, and the bizarre costumes, as well as the chiseled chest of star Henry Cavill, but without a reason for any of this stuff, what's the point? Even as the explosive violence ramps up as the movie goes along, the boredom only grows greater. Some viewers might argue for a bit of "camp" value in all this, but many others will not want to bother.

Fox released a beautiful-looking Blu-Ray, not surprising, given the digital quality of the movie. It includes a 5-minute featurette about the movie and a 20-minute featurette about director Tarsem. There's an alternate opening and two alternate endings, which demonstrates the lack of writing on a project like this. There are also deleted scenes (about 8 minutes) and a "graphic novel." A second disc includes a digital copy.

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