Actually, “Immortals” is kind of a
misnomer for this loosely-based on Greek mythology sandals-and-swords epic.
It refers to the race of super-charged, but captured warriors who are
imprisoned indefinitely inside a mountain, because they were defeated by the
, and now only a silver arrow from a hidden magic bow can free them.
Who would want to unleash their pent-up
fury? Why, King Hyperion, played with
marvelous menace by Mickey Rourke (“The Wrestler”), who looks imposing
even if he isn’t as buff as, say, Theseus (Henry Cavill), the peasant
who’s an atheist, and an angry one, after Hyperion and his horde of
destruction slaughters his innocent mother and imprisons him to the salt
But like the scriptural Joseph, it was
while in prison that our unfortunate hero finds his mojo, and learns that he
has special powers from above. Except
here, of course, there is a whole pantheon of gods, but Zeus has specifically
forbidden any of them to interfere in the affairs of mortals, even though he
hopes for Theseus to lead the fight against the evil Hyperion.
It seems that the power of seeing the future, granted to the biblical
Joseph through dream interpretation, belongs not to Theseus, but to the virgin
oracle Phaedra, played by the stunning beauty Freida Pinto (“Slumdog
Millionaire”). And she will retain her clairvoyant powers until she decides
to succumb to the desires of the flesh, which is a stronger temptation once
the evil Hyperion cooks her sisterhood of vestal virgins in the fire of Baal.
(OK, they don’t call it that, but it sure looks like the reputed golden calf
of the Philistines.)
This film is rated “R” with good
reason because of the numerous decapitations during the battle scenes, which
themselves look as staged as the set where the deities hang around Mount
Olympus like the local soda shoppe, gazing out at the world with a kind of
jaundiced arrogance that knows it can change anything and everything, anytime.
But probably not now. And maybe
not ever. (Oh, and there’s one sex
scene, but it’s more about voyeurism than carnality, anyway, as if the goal
for either gender is to get the shirt off, and after that we’re not sure
what to do, except stare for a moment, so after we do that we just fade to the
Ah, but once Hyperion does the universe
the favor of freeing the banshee-like Immortals, all heaven breaks loose.
The gods whoosh down to earth spoiling for a fight, and it turns out
that when they take human form they are not only vulnerable, but suddenly
mortal. And here, we thought they died
for lack of adherents.
Yes, it all seemed a bit stiff and
overly-dramatized, as if everyone takes themselves a little too seriously, and
we wonder if anyone anywhere has a sense of humor, or if that only happened
after a few legends about golden fleecings. They
assume we know a whole lot about Greek mythology, or else figure it’s so
complicated that there’s no explaining it, anyway, and you just let Poseidon
carry a trident and see if anyone makes the connection.
Yes, the dialogue is stilted, as if we’re back in the old
Hercules/Conan the Barbarian swagger-sagas, muscle-bound heroes whose verbal
acumen makes it painfully apparent that they can’t wait to quit talking and
start fighting, and after hearing them ponderously pontificate, neither can
And yet, there are some cool special
effects, and the whole scenario kind of fires the imagination despite its
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Interim Pastor,
St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church,