Eons after the epic war between the immortals, when the victors proclaimed themselves gods and the losers were named titans and imprisoned for all eternity, mankind is at a gentle precipice. Zeus (Luke Evans) and the other gods watch over mankind but do not directly interfere with the affairs of mortals.
Meanwhile, the brutal, bloodthirsty King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) is leading his murderous Heraklion army across the lands, leaving a path of destruction. Unrelenting in their pursuit of power, they are seeking the long-lost Bow of Epirus, which has the power to release the imprisoned Titans and bring the reign of those on Mount Olympus to an end.
A brave but mild-mannered peasant named Theseus (Henry Cavill) has an encounter with Hyperion that leaves him vengeful and enraged. Joining forces with a small band of escaped slaves, Theseus and Phaedra (Freida Pinto) are on their way to find a way to stop Hyperion and his legions.
Not all of the gods are so eager to leave the humans to their fate. Athena (Isabel Lucas), Poseidon (Kellan Lutz), Aries (Daniel Sharman), Heracles (Steve Byers) and others decide to come to the aid of Theseus and all those who oppose the forces that seek to unleash the Titans and hell on Earth. When Hyperion seems to have finally succeeded in his goal, the ultimate battle breaks out and its full chaos as man, gods, titans and army hordes fight for the ultimate power and domination over the Earth.
Director Tarsem Singh is a visionary and it is very clear from the start that “Immortals” is a unique take on what could have easily been a “300” rip-off. Every aspect involved in the film — from the settings, beautiful costumes, the visual style of the fights and even the choice to make the gods young and beautiful over the typical choice of representing them as old men with white beards — shows how he and the talented folks he worked with made such a different type of film than I would have expected.
From the trailers and film clips, you see the impressive visuals and intense battles, but you cannot grasp the amount of story and character development that is the larger part of the movie. Unlike many other films in this genre, you don’t get all action and no clear story. In fact, some might find the amount of action less than they expected — the film is more about the journey and the paths chosen by different characters that lead them in opposite directions.
The movie’s action is on a massive and epic scale and does garner more blood than could fill the river Styx. The blood and gruesomeness are stylized and mostly computer-generated, but still very prevalent. The 3D visuals are spectacular and some of the best post-conversion I have ever seen; it is obvious that in the past year, countless hours were spent developing the visuals and 3D effects. One of the other great attributes of this movie is the score and sound design – which is worthy of being heard in massive or IMAX theaters.
The actors all did amazing jobs and obviously spent many hours in the gym and training for all of the fights and stunts. Henry Cavill — who will play Superman in Zack Snyder’s 2013 reboot of the franchise titled “Man of Steel” — really got to show me what he can do as a leading man and I was impressed. His presence onscreen is dominating, while maintaining the average guy next door vibe, which benefited him in this role. He seemed worthy to lead the forces of good while remaining humble. His chemistry with Freida Pinto is palpable and his character truly seemed to want to protect her.
Some smaller contributing roles that might get overlooked are those of Stephen Dorff as Stavros, Theseus’s right hand man who he befriends on his journey, Joseph Morgan as Lysander and John Hurt as an old man who mysteriously appears and trains Theseus how to fight.
The bottom line is that those who are looking for pure action from start to finish might be slightly disappointed to learn that this film is truly balanced between characters, story and action and follows the outline of a film like “Gladiator” more than “300.” So if this sounds good to you and you aren’t the squeamish type, immortalize yourself among the first fans to see the film and head to the theater this Friday when “Immortals” opens everywhere.
“Immortals” — rated R for sequences of strong bloody violence, and a scene of sexuality — opens today.
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