Wednesday, May 30, 2012
The test-tube baby of two lines of modern cinema, the Lord of the Rings relic-fetish and the 300 sword-and-six-pack action-adventure, Immortals is a film of spectacle. It’s not about airtight plot or Julliard acting or deep sociopolitical commentary. It’s about fantastical settings and cool artifacts and, above all, ripped dudes and gorgeous women trying to express their primal desires. Go in looking for phallic symbols and the film becomes a comedy. That’s hardly a bad thing.
The plot is incomprehensible not because it’s too complicated but because it’s so empty that when the climactic fight between Henry Cavill’s six pack (and the gods) and Mickey Rourke’s pecs (and the titans) ends, I was wondering why they didn’t resolve anything. But they did resolve it: They had that battle. That's it. That was the story. It’s silly that Immortals expects us to care about the relationship between Zeus and Athena when they have almost nothing to do, and we’re all snickering about the incestuous overtones anyway. Meanwhile Theseus’ mother is playing sitcom Jew, nagging him about getting married and having babies, to which he’s all, “I’m just a peasant, wah, who would want me?” while half the audience raise their hands. Speaking of rippling muscle, Tarsem's Mount Olympus is so comically skimpy the whole thing smells like a Vegas beefcake show.
All of this is meant to say something about faith and theodicy, but it’s more tangled than Mickey Rourke’s wig and, more to the point, an obtuse and opaque distraction from gawking at cool stuff. Tarsem Singh’s previous film The Fall married a fascinating plot with jaw-dropping vistas, but here at least—not that I'd complain otherwise—we get some fun stuff beyond the muscles: John Hurt’s having fun as an old peasant, the violence is savage, the settings are cool. William Cameron Menzies may not be proud, exactly, but I bet he’d have a hell of a time.
Posted by Brandon Nowalk at 5:02 AM