Immortals (3D)

What it's about:

In ancient Greece the rebel King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) assembles an army to locate the powerful and fabled Epirus Bow, created by the god of war, in order to free the Titans, an invincible army imprisoned by the gods within Mount Tartarus. Humanity finds its own hero against the threat of tyranny in the form of a simple villager Theseus (Henry Cavill), who, unbeknownst to him, has been trained to lead an army by the god Zeus himself (played by Luke Evans).

What we thought:

The 'From the producers of 300' tagline in the various bits of promotional material for this movie should perhaps tell you all you need to know about this grand 3D retelling of cod-classic Greek mythology undercut with more than a hint of action-packed hyper-realism.

From the off, Immortals sets out to cement its otherworldly beauty, an eye-watering combination of rich, saturated colours and painstakingly constructed design and mis-en-scene elements which are the hallmarks of director Tarsem Singh - perhaps best known for his music video directing (R.E.M.'s Losing My Religion) and the Jennifer Lopez murder mystery conundrum The Cell.

Immortals gives Singh the opportunity to take his vision to the heavens, quite literally, as the gods come out to play in glamorous golden skivvies and a foursome of virgin priestesses parade in complicated yet arresting hijab, in the deepest of reds.

And then there's the cast itself, led by the square-jawed and screen idol-ready Henry Cavill (preparing perhaps for his truly big moment as Clark Kent/Superman in Man of Steel). Cavill cuts a very fine figure as Theseus, the unlikely leader of men, and opposite the delicate Freida Pinto as the virgin oracle Phaedra, a fierce Luke Evans as the god Zeus and Isabel Lucas as his dutiful progeny Athena we have possibly the most otherworldly attractive cast in any movie released this year.

It's safe to say that Immortals is eye porn before it can even call itself a feature film, and has to work extra hard to make the stunning visuals attain any kind of meaning with over 100 minutes of time to kill and heroism to develop.

So it stands to reason that this is where Immortals exposes its weak flanks, with little to no care given for the rich story upon which our characters score, spear and stab each other. There is so much blood to be spilled as good battles evil that the slack narrative structure becomes ever more anaemic, allowing Singh to go about the violence with a wild, thrilling abandon that starts to, incredibly, get boring very quickly.

That's as close to an action movie crime as you can get, and somehow this obvious lack of backbone to an epic tale for the ages does not hinder Singh's singular aim to wow the senses.

Yet Immortals perseveres with standout imagery of violence set against incredible grace. Sure there may be a super awkward sex scene to endure, and an even more uncomfortable instance of guerilla-style castration, but the effect of these moments start to wear thin with each passing battle. Even Rourke, who chews his scenes with a sly wink that alone makes Immortals worth your while, seems wholly at ease playing the villain even though his naturally ravaged state was enough to secure him the part.

Any history buffs and Iliad-quoting literates should do well to steer clear of Immortals - this will only set your teeth on edge.

What the movie does do well is to satiate our cinematic craving for, for want of a better term, bigness. It's in the glistening pectorals of our heroes, the sheer scale of the stakes at play, in the very idea that humanity finds immortality through their selfless actions in life.

With a swift and stunning hint that he will follow up this tale with yet another epic battle of the gods, Singh at least is assured that we haven't come close to seeing how big he can go.

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