‘Immortals’: Lifeless

November 10, 2011

Anytime you see a movie advertised as being by “the producers of” some movie – or even worse, “from the studio that brought you Movie X,” well, take that as a red flag.

So it is with “Immortals,” which is being advertised as the product of “the producers of ‘300.’” Excuse me, but “300” was the vision of director Zach Snyder. So unless you’re interested in the financial acumen of the people who raised the money and wrote the checks to make “300,” I’m not sure what the producers have to do with it.

Maybe it’s that they’re afraid to advertise “Immortals” as what it is: a movie from the feverish imagination of the man who made “The Cell” and “The Fall,” two of the more viciously fanciful films of the past few years. His name is Tarsem Singh and he’s a dangerous guy around any program that computer-generates images of blood splashing.

Around a script, well, that’s another story. “Immortals” is a semi-mythological action-adventure with silly dialogue, sillier costumes and over-the-top splatter action.

Back to the costumes: At one point, King Hyperion, the vicious villain played by Mickey Rourke, shows up wearing a headpiece that looks like a Venus flytrap made of metal – like jaws with teeth on either side of his face. Which would look scary, were it not for the tall, pointed, metallic bunny ears affixed to the top of this battle headdress.

The story, such as it is, is about Hyperion’s quest to retrieve the Epirus bow, which will give him the power to unleash the Titans (which look like oversized foosball players, gripping poles between their jaws). With the Titans at his command, he can declare war against Zeus and the other gods because, well, um – hey, stop asking so many questions.

But Zeus, disguised as a human who looks a lot like John Hurt, has chosen Theseus to bring down Hyperion. Theseus slays the Minotaur, wins the hot-looking oracle (Frieda Pinto) and gets Stephen Dorff as his pint-sized sidekick. And then …

Well, don’t try to figure it out. There’s fighting, disemboweling, limb and head-severing and blood – an entire hard drive’s worth of CG blood. There’s not nearly as much plot, in fact, as there is blood.

Theseus is played by Henry Cavill, as though it were a warm-up for playing Superman – by moving his face as little as possible. The rest of the cast – well, think of them as hostages in Singh’s bizarre and incoherent fever dream. You have a choice as to whether you’ll join them in that unholy territory. Make the right one.

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