Visionary director Tarsem Singh‘s latest film Immortals is a true spectacle to look at. The film is strikingly beautiful and full of color and style, but the story struggles being anything more than an action heavy fantasy with a weak story and even weaker characters. It’s an artistic popcorn flick, allowing you to turn off your brain in exchange for golden set pieces and blood-soaked sand. Immortals isn’t on the same level of 300, but it makes for a great looking Blu-Ray to watch.
Theseus (Henry Cavill) is a peasant. His mother is constantly called a whore and instead of joining the army and putting his skills to good use, he picks fights with soldiers and continues to live the life of a rebellious non-believer. Ages ago the God’s battled and immortals were buried beneath rock and rubble while a powerful bow was lost.
King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) is on the hunt for this bow and the power to rule the world. Theseus goes from poor man without a say in the world to fearless leader and defender of the innocent as Hyperion continues his rampage throughout the lands, killing anyone in his path.
Theseus must rise against Hyperion and restore order in the world before it’s too late.
That’s essentially the gist of Immortals, compacted into a few short sentences. There’s a few supporting roles that contribute to various side-stories, but none of that really matters. Director Tarsem Singh is more focused on the visuals of the film and not so much the story. So why give the story more credit than it deserves? It’s the basic rise of an under-classed warrior as he takes his place among the God’s. It’s not groundbreaking in any way and that’s fine, because what Singh fails to achieve on paper, he makes up for in visual flare.
Immortals is all about the special effects. Colors are bright and golden, while set pieces are designed to look so pristine to the point of looking fake. Everything about the film looks like a stage play, with all the usual grit and dirtiness taken out and swapped for shiny shields and oddly shaped buildings.
It’s almost the exact opposite of 300 in set design. Where 300 relied on over-saturated shots and heavy grain filter, Immortals relies on clarity and polish. It’s a clean look that works well and adds to the overall feel of the film. And that’s good, because the story is for the most part garbage. Not one actor shines above the rest, because everyone follows the motions of what the script lays out. Henry Cavill and Mickey Rourke no doubtingly have the biggest roles, yet they play them without any real purpose.
Hyperion is bad because he kills people on screen. That’s it. Theseus is good because he saves innocent people no matter the cause. That’s it. Everything is presented so obviously it almost feels like the story is getting spoon-fed.
The blood spills from several decapitations and spear throws, which at least makes the film entertaining to watch. But if you try for one second to dig a little deeper you’ll instantly be disappointed, because there’s nothing to dig into. It’s all style and nothing much of anything else.
The 1080p video transfer is absolutely gorgeous. Tarsem Singh is a director whose films were made for the Blu-Ray format. Immortals looks unbelievably remarkable. Colors are bright and vivid, with clarity and definition being particularly impressive. Skin tones and almost any texture are given the proper detail. If I only had one complaint about the transfer it would be the occasionally dark scene, where shapes and figures are hard to make out due to the extreme darkness.
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is even better. This is a very active track, with war and chaos spilling out onto every channel. The front channels serve up the dialogue and main action while the surrounding ones keep the swords, spears and general war sounds coming at you. Audio panning is used very efficiently in the film, with lots of sound effects starting on one channel and making their way around the entire system.
Immortals comes with 2 alternate endings, an alternate opening and a respectable batch of features. Check out the full list below.
- It’s No Myth (HD): A brief discussion of Greek myth among scholars.
- Caravaggio Meets Fight Club – Tarsem’s Vision (HD): A four part look at the directors take on Greek mythology.
- Alternate Opening – Young Theseus (HD): A rather dull alternate opening that focuses more on Theseus as a young child.
- Alternate Ending – This is Our Last Embrace (HD): Hyperion’s death is given a little more screen time, plus a better look at the aftermath of the war.
- Alternate Ending – Theseus Kills Hyperion (HD): Hyperion dies a little differently this time around, plus a better look at the aftermath of the war.
- Deleted Scenes (HD): Eight short deleted scenes.
- Immortals: Gods and Heroes (HD): A comic book ported onto the disc that offers a look at several Greek myths.
- Theatrical Trailer (HD)
- Sneak Peeks (HD)
- Digital Copy
Tarsem Singh‘s Immortals is exactly the kind of film that you skip out on in theaters and rent at home on Blu-Ray with a couple of buddies. The visuals are a treat to look at and the audio track is going to wake the neighbors. Maybe the film leaves you wanting more story and better characters to invest into, but at least the action is kind of cool, right? Those fine with another bloody sword and sandals flick will enjoy Immortals enough to warrant the rental, but I wouldn’t suggest buying the disc unless the price is reasonable.
The special features focus on Greek myth, which fits the film well. The alternate opening and endings are kind of lame and pointless. Immortals gets an above passing grade on a technical level, but a very low passing grade for everything else. The Blu-Ray is a fantastic disc, but the film itself has many problems. Tarsem Singh‘s latest film is best watched as a quick way to burn 2 hours.
The Blu-Ray is a fantastic disc, but the film itself has many problems. Tarsem Singh's latest film is best watched as a quick way to burn 2 hours.