Blood, Guts, & Glory Immortalized: Immortals Movie Review

Henry Cavill in Immortals (Photo: Jan Thijs)

Henry Cavill in Immortals (Photo: Jan Thijs)

Abundant in blood and glory, the hyper-stylized “Immortals” never fails to deliver action, entertainment and eye candy. The tale of an ancient mythological villain battling it out with a storied hero is the basis for Tarsem Singh’s modern fantasy film, and fans of the director’s work will enjoy it–if they maintain realistic expectations.

Mickey Rourke’s performance as King Hyperion was well-executed, with savagery, cunningly juxtaposed against kingly conviction. In a behind-the-scenes interview, Rourke mentioned he didn’t take the role for the story; rather, for the opportunity to work with Singh’s visionary and brainy style. “I probably wouldn’t have done the material, if it wasn’t with a guy like Tarsem,” he said. With a screenplay and story by brothers Charley and Vlas Parlapanides that fell short, Singh faced the challenge of interpreting the lackluster plot into something magical, something memorable. The obstacles that sprang up as a result affected the cast as well, seemingly inhibiting the stars from delivering beyond the limits of their poorly developed characters and dialogue.

While Phaedra, played by Frieda Pinto, is the lead female and the protagonist’s love interest, her character still feels like an accessory to the plot instead of a real person. Fortunately, because of her graceful sophistication and exotic beauty, Pinto carried out the character with an effortless charm. She even partook in a nude sex scene (although a body double took her place where it counted).

Though it’s difficult to feel or connect with the love and chemistry between Phaedra and Theseus, Henry Cavill uses his physical assets alone to deliver a stoic yet passionate performance of the latter. His genuine humility and interaction with the other characters makes him likable on-screen, which bodes well for his upcoming role as Superman. Cavill went through extensive training for the film and discussed how Singh’s vision helped his performance. “The great thing about [Singh], is that he is so visual,” Cavill said. “His visuals don’t get in the way of our performance at all, he did his thing, and he let us do ours.”

Singh created perfect environments in which the actors could embrace their roles, thereby redeeming the magic of the film with stylized cinematography and painterly backgrounds. The inviting fantasy world was a scenic experience that could stand alone irrespective of any story. For a 3D feature, it was subtle and vivid, practically unnoticeable at times. The beautifully choreographed fight sequences included two sets of frame rates within one scene, to distinguish the immortals’ swift motions from the more natural, slowed down pace of the mortals. The graphic novel style of “300″ was evident in hyper-real stop-motioned blood splatter, during the gods versus titans fight.

The cast unanimously praises Singh for his style, work ethic and energy. The story may fall short of emotional investment and development, but it does deliver beautiful shots and thrilling action. And, for that reason, it joins the ranks of so many other visually spectacular fantasy films viewers love so much.

Sadia Khawaja is the Editor in Chief of Divanee Weddings.