So this weekend I had to choose between the leathery make-up face of Leonardo DiCaprio in J. Edgar, or the leathery regular face of Mickey Rourke in Immortals. I chose the latter.
Both movies got awful reviews, but J. Edgar seemed to veer towards the consensus that it’s long and boring, while Immortals was coming across as meandering violent hogwash with unclear storytelling. I’ll choose slow-motion sword fighting over Oscar bait biopic 75% of the time if I have to. I don’t know if I made the right choice, because Immortals certainly wasn’t good, but at least it had some neat visuals than I’m sure J. Edgar did not.
With that, let me start with the big plus for Immortals; the visual stimuli. From a set design / cinematography / special effects standpoint, everything was tip-top. The whole film sort of had a gold and red tint to it, but it worked for the setting. Even in the boring scenes there was typically something interesting to look at, or at least things were framed in an interesting way. Some of the fight scenes, especially towards the back-end, were really cool. The fights with the gods moving in full speed with their victims reduced to slow motion deaths in the same fluid shots were particularly cool. The 3D wasn’t anything special really, in my opinion, and the theater I went to wasn’t even offering this film in 2D. So that was kind of a waste of money.
For a movie that seemed like a ton of thought went into making the shots look pretty, it was frustrating that the screenplay behind it was so lackluster. It was a back and forth treatment of exciting action moments with really boring exposition. Exciting. Then boring. Exciting. boring. Really exciting! Oh, then really boring… From the best of my memory, the basic plot of the film was that a heathen king named Hyperion was trying to take over the world because he hates the gods or something, and a peasant named Theseus was chosen by the gods to lead the humans against him. Seems simple enough. Now, my short-term memory must be really bad, because I can’t figure out for the life of me why this movie was so long. There must have been a ton of story points that I don’t even remember because if you asked me to explain the plot in intricate detail I wouldn’t be able to do so. Admittedly (and perhaps embarrassingly) I did halfway fall asleep during a scene and woke up in the next scene when a bunch of loud stuff happened. I was tired before I walked into the theater, so I won’t fully blame the movie, but I’ve been even more tired before at other films and stayed awake because they were really entertaining. Just saying.
The acting was mediocre. Seemed like a lot of phoned in performances. Especially from Mickey Rourke. Stephen Dorff was doing his best 1990’s Christian Slater impression.
I don’t know what to say about Immortals other than it was really nice to look at, but the story and the pacing and the acting were really boring. If you compare it to 300 (which everyone is rightfully doing), it doesn’t work as well as Zach Snyder’s film because 300 was just a batshit insane clusterfuck of fast-moving action scenes. It didn’t try to be anything else. Immortals tried to be more than that through a poorly laid out story and uninteresting characters, and it failed. Give me a new cut of Immortals that’s more concise in the storytelling, 35 minutes shorter, and 50% more randomly insane and I think we’ll be in business.
5.5 out of 10