Thursday, 19 April 2012

2 Weeks of Movies - Immortals: The Incredible Tale of Theseus' Ineptitude

Immortals - 4.5/10

(some spoilers!)

Almost as bad as Conan. The visuals and the fights saved it from that distinction. And the fact that it didn’t send me to sleep.

But the story was bad. Reeeeeally bad. Hyperion (not a Titan, despite having the same name as one of the main Titans in Greek mythology and this being a movie about Titans), is searching for the Shining Bow of Plot so that he can release the Titans. This is because he hates the gods for letting his family die. The usual, in other words. Where are all these ‘vendetta against the gods’ movies coming from? It was the same with Clash of the Titans. Apart from the fact that it’s getting old very quickly anyway, it is COMPLETELY out of place in a film about Greek myth. Go up against the gods? Get a lightning bolt in your face. It’s that simple.

There are so many real Greek myths where heroes fight monsters and each other, go on exciting quests, explore mazes and sail to strange islands, face witches and evil magic... why not do one of those stories? Of course, this all happens while the gods look on and treat them like playing pieces in an oversized game of chess. That’s what Greek gods are like. They’re bastards and they’re proud of it.

But apparently in modern films the Greek gods are kindly, righteous beings who have sworn not to interfere in the mortal world because... it would prevent humans from having free will. (sigh) I can’t think of any sentiment less likely to come out of a Greek god’s mouth. And it seems they will not even interfere when a mortal man actually has the Shining Bow of Plot that will release the Titans and risk destroying everything. So Theseus has to stop it.

Yes, Theseus. The guy who killed the minotaur. The Greek hero with arguably the most interesting and richest mythology, with many different stories attached to his name. Of course, the film does not follow any of these stories, choosing to make up its own nonsensical plot instead. To be honest, the whole film would have worked better if they’d pretended it was a fantasy instead of a retelling of Greek myth. Then they could set their own rules and I would have been happier to accept them. I don’t even care that much about accuracy in stories about the ancient world (heck, I’m a fan of Xena), as long as they keep the feel or the spirit of it. This was so far removed it seemed a bit pointless.

Henry Cavill plays Theseus – that’s the guy from the Tudors, or, as we named him when we first saw him in Tristan and Isolde: Pretty, Son of Rufus. He did the best he could with a bad script. By the end of the film it is clear that Theseus is about the worst hero ever to have graced a cinema screen. He actually managed to fail in every conceivable way. He was supposed to stop Hyperion from getting the Shining Bow of Plot at all costs. What he actually did was get beaten in a few fights, then find the bow and take it out of its very well hidden resting place, right into the jaws of Hyperion’s finder dog. He then failed to stop Hyperion using it, and didn’t even stick around to help the gods clean up the mess. He did manage to kill Hyperion in the end. When it was too late. When Hyperion actually wasn’t a threat in any way anymore. On top of this, he slept with a virgin oracle, causing her to lose her powers of prophecy and knocking her up in the process. In every way, the people in this film would have been better off without him. However, this did not stop the gods from accepting him into Mount Olympus at the end and making him a god. But then, the gods were pretty hopeless too, so perhaps ineptitude is what defines a deity in Immortals.

The story was dire, but the film had some saving graces. The visuals were good, reminiscent of 300, and the fight scenes were well thought out and executed. Parts of the film were enjoyable to watch, when I wasn’t banging my head against the wall at Theseus’ incompetence (Theseus and Peter Petrelli would make a terrifying team). The acting wasn’t bad, and I liked the visual representation of the gods (it was different, but it worked. Yes even the helmets). The bellowing bull method of execution was a nice nod to the history of Greek tyrants, if a bit misplaced in this story. Unfortunately, all the style in the world could not have saved this film. It wasn’t as awful as Conan, but that’s about all I can say for it. And, hey, at least it wasn’t ‘Monsters.’

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