From the production team of “300” and Canadian enough to hand out bottle openers as their swag item (since it was filmed in Montreal's Cite du Cinema), IMMORTALS is pretty violence that twists mythology and leaves few survivors.
For a movie whose strength is its visuals, fittingly, it starts and ends with a vision. Director, Tarsem Singh (THE CELL, THE FALL) said in an interview, “It’s really a hard core action film done in a Renaissance painting style.” Singh uses golden light, 3D, and slow motion effects to deepen the film, especially during the fight scenes where individual fighters are crisp amidst the mayhem. Whether the camera is swooping along a ragged coast line then up to Olympus or when it's catching every sword stroke and beheading in the battle scenes, the style holds its own as a co-star.
Plot summary? Evil King Hyperion (gleefully played by Mickey Rourke continuing his Whiplash trend) and an army of thousands are laying waste to Greece’s holy temples, looking for the Epirus Bow, a god-forged weapon that will lay low your enemies and has the power to unleash the Titians. Conquering the world, fine, but it’s never clear why he wants to force war upon the gods. Doesn’t matter, he’s evil and lovin’ it.
We first meet our hero, Theseus (Henry Carvill with abs to prove he’ll be a great Man of Steel), chopping wood. He’s a peasant who doesn’t worship the gods, instead spending his time training and being mentored by an old man (John Hurt). Their village is about to be attacked but Theseus isn’t engaged in any sense, much to his mother's distress. She prays to the gods for grandchildren (that legacy thing again). Insert various methods and twist and turns to beat down our "reluctant hero" and goad Theseus on his path to lead the final battle against King Hyperion.
The rest of the movie? Traitors, torture, short fights, battles, epic battles (the final one compares with Helm’s Deep). There’s a bawdy sidekick, a self-muted monk, a virgin oracle (Freida Pinto, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE)-- with her oraclettes – a disbelieving Hellenic council, and gods. Like in classic Greek tales, the gods watch and nudge but are not allowed to directly interfere. Until they do. Of course, "be careful what you wish for" also comes into play.
There are themes aplenty: righteous causes, outsiders versus society, the role of belief, and what does a man leave behind when he dies, just to name a few. But you probably aren't going to this film for a philosophical debate.
Full of golden and bloody hues, I’d say Singh has achieved his goal: Pretty violence.