Friday, November 11, 2011

The Truth About Immortals (or Revisiting 300)

Immortals, the 3D fantasy adventure film directed by Tarsem Singh and starring Henry Cavill, Freida Pinto, and Mickey Rourke is in theaters today.

The movie takes us to a mythical world full of treachery, vengeance and fate set in ancient Greece where a young Theseus (Henry Cavill), comes to terms with his destiny with the help of the beautiful Sibylline oracle priestess(es), battles the brutal and bloodthirsty King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) in order to defeat his evil quest to acquire the legendary invincible Epirus bow and use it to overthrow the Gods of Olympus and mankind. The gods cannot interfere in the ways of men nor in this war for the future of humanity.

I was really excited for the movie after viewing the trailer for Immortals on Google+ last month and seeing it heralded as a new 300. A film, which I originally didn't think I would like but ended up captivating me with great imagery, a great script, thrilling graphic action and even some controversy to boot -- that has become the fodder of and contributed to oh, so many geeky conversations in the past years.

When I had the chance to preview Immortals pre-release, three weeks ago, I jumped at the chance and brought along Seth Evans, Chief Operating Officer of Sports FantasEase at Making MemorEase™ for fair game.

We teamed up to discuss some of the merits and shortcomings of the film:

He said: 200. That should have been the name of the movie. It was as if producers of 300 tried to recreate the masterpiece that was 300, yet fell just short. This is not to say Immortals was not entertaining; but the people who were excited to see this movie had expectations of the unbelievable fight scenes and fire breathing speeches of King Leonidas. Theseus (Henry Cavill) was very good at the role but could not fill King Leonidas’ sandals. His speech at the end of the movie to the army prior to the final battle was moving, but did not light the same fire inside of any man in the audience, which means it had nothing on “tonight we dine in hell,” which had most men ready to pick up a shield and spear and go to battle themselves when leaving the theater after 300.

She said: It wasn't just my male brethren that 300 moved. 300 was epic in every sense of the word and I think the producers and the promoters of Immortals set themselves up for failure somewhat when the bar was set so high - 300 won many awards in different categories when it came out. To give you a sense of the disparity, I saw 300 at home on DVD and was blown away. I saw Immortals in 3D in the theater and was mostly unimpressed and immune to the characters' plight. When King Leonidas is willing to sacrifice his men, his family, and his life for Sparta and the Greek city-states, there isn't anyone who can't help but be impacted by the love, honor, and courage that makes them the stuff of legends. If I remember correctly, I weeped at the end of 300 and i'm not ashamed to admit it.

He said: This movie did offer a heartfelt moment as well, when Theseus had to watch his mother slaughtered at the hands of King Hyperion. The brightest spot in the movie was hands down the demonic King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) and when you saw his mask with the spikes around his face, his black almost dead eyes and the scars across his cheek you saw nothing but true evil. Every time he was on screen he stole the scene, from his evil stares to the slow yet important way he spoke; every time he had something to say it seemed as he chose his words wisely to get the point across while instilling fear in anyone who was listening.

She said: The sculpted Theseus and vicious King Hyperion didn't hold much luster for me, although there were a couple of stylized action scenes that really wowed me, perhaps with their gore. I was more haunted by the captivating beauty of the oracles and their rhythmic incantations. The sight of Freida Pinto (Phaedra) in those grecian dresses is not something one forgets easily and made me recall the artistry of the stairway scene from the sci-fi movie The Cell with Jennifer Lopez. Interestingly enough, both of these movies relied heavily on works of art for their imagery. In fact, the director of Immortals is quoted as saying [it's] "basically, Caravaggio meets Fight Club. It's a really hardcore action film done in Renaissance painting style," on the film's Wikipedia page. And, it is the thing that saves this movie - It is visually stunning. One thing that did bother me, however, was that the oracles were all exoticized and it instantly drew my thoughts to the tired and old Magical Negro trope. Were the oracles all non-white on purpose? Is Sibylline Greek for brown hottie? Was this an intentional attempt to stir up some controversy and help fuel the publicity fires for the film a la 300's Persians? Or was it just Hollywood being stereotypical Hollywood?

He said: The visual aspect of this movie was phenomenal though; the 3-D brought the movie to a different level. Overall, this movie will give fans of 300 something to enjoy, while still realizing it is not quite the epic battle movie they had hoped. The story could have used more detail’s as to the battle of god’s and titans, but it seemed to not want to drag on which is important in a battle movie such as this.

She said: Speaking of drags, another sore point for me was the liberal use and fabrication of classical mythology. I know it's fantasy but for those who know their Greek mythology expect to be a lot lost by the storyline and the relation of the characters to the events taking place. It is very loosely based on bits and pieces of many stories and spun together to form a makeshift 300. Except that 300 was extremely loyal to the graphic novel it was adapted from and the historical events that battle follows...just saying.

He said: I would recommend this movie to anyone who loved 300, but would tell them to wait till it came out on video, (that just made me sound old) DVD.

 She said: What he said.

 

9 comments:

  1. Anonymous11:31 AM

    About the priestesses it looked like they were trying to tie in the rest of the world to the story. Apart from the real oracle, the other ones were just warrior chicks. In Greek mythology and history warrior women are amazons and came from modern Asia, Africa and Europe. A few non white men in the soldiers too maybe brought in from ancient Egypt or the automan empire? Hard to tell because nothing was explained.

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  2. Immortals is a 2011 3D fantasy film directed by Tarsem Singh and starring Henry Cavill, Freida Pinto, and Mickey Rourke.

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  3. I was really excited for the movie after viewing the trailer.

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  4. This movie did offer a heartfelt moment as well.

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  5. I know it's fantasy but for those who know their Greek mythology expect to be a lot lost by the storyline and the relation of the characters to the events taking place.

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  6. The gods cannot interfere in the ways of men nor in this war for the future of humanity.

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  7. I was really excited for the movie after viewing the trailer for Immortals.

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  8. I weeped at the end of 300 and i'm not ashamed to admit it.

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  9. I learned a lot from your post. Thanks for sharing this brilliant ideas.

    ReplyDelete

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