Immortals (2011) – By Duane L. Martin

A power mad king named Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) feels as though he’s been betrayed by the gods, who allowed his family to die horribly in front of him despite his pleas for aid. Now he’s on a mission to release the Titans, a group of gods imprisioned for all eternity for starting a civil war in Olympus; a war which they lost. Mad with power and out to conquer or kill all who oppose him, he relentlessly searches for the Epirius Bow, which gives the wielder the power to wage war on both Heaven and Earth with its magical arrows. With this bow, he can free the Titans from their prison, thereby taking revenge upon the gods that he feels have so betrayed him.

Theseus (Henry Cavill), has been personally groomed and trained by Zeus, who disguised himself as an old man because the gods aren’t supposed to be helping the humans. Now after a traitor leads Hyperion and his forces to Theseus’ village, Theseus fights them valiantly, but is ultimately captured and forced to watch helplessly as Hyperion slits his mother’s throat in front of him. He’s then shipped off to the salt mines, where an oracle named Phaedra (Freida Pinto) and her companions are being held until they can identify which of them is the true oracle and force her to tell Hyperion the location of the bow. The oracle and several of the men taken to the mines escape shortly thereafter, and now Theseus and his new companions must find the bow and stop Hyperion before its too late.

Now purists will be angry at this film for not sticking to the real stories that exist in Greek mythology, which is why I think this film has garnered such a high number of mediocre to bad reviews. Some say it’s boring, some day it’s not accurate, others say it’s a waste of time. Here’s what I say. Take the movie for what it is instead of letting what you wanted it to be color your opinion of it. Taken on its own, Immortals is a good story full of violence, pain, valor and triumph, with spectacular visuals and some really good performances. See, I went into it not expecting anything in particular, and that’s what I got out of it. As I said, take this, and any film for what it is rather than what you wanted it to be, and you’ll enjoy it a whole lot more.

The look of this film is absolutely gorgeous. It’s made by the producers who brought us 300, and this film has a similar look, in that you can tell that is was mostly shot in front of green screens. My only complaint about this film isn’t really all that bad of a complaint, but it’s still one that I want to mention. I felt as I was watching this film that the locations and settings were too small for the story. That is to say…it felt a bit cramped. That’s not to say that many places in the film weren’t made to look large and vast, but making it look that way, and having it actually feel that way are two different things. Take for example Conan the Barbarian. The original, not that turd of a remake. That film took place in a desert, in old cities, in an underground palace and many other awesome looking locations. The movie looked and felt big and open, with a whole world to explore. This one just didn’t. CGI and green screens are great, but they’ll never replace the look and feel you get from filming in actual locations out there in the world.

Now, aside from that one complaint, there were a variety of things I loved about this film. The fight choreography was excellent, the actors all gave their characters personality and made you feel something for them, the costumes ranged from beautiful to terrifying, and all in all, it was simply just a first rate production with a solid story behind it.

Of all the characters in the film, there were two that really stood out for me. First, Mickey Rourke as Hyperion. This man is a phenomenal actor, and is utterly brilliant at playing really intense villains and darker characters. His portrayal of Hyperion was…well, it was bad ass. Seriously, he took this role and really turned it into something special. So much so, that he’s become one of my favorite movie villains of all time. Another character that I really liked was Stephen Dorff as Stavros, one of the men freed in the escape from the salt mine who joins up with Theseus. Stephen Dorff has been a favorite actor of mine ever since I saw him star in the film Botched, which is a brilliantly awesome film I that I strongly recommend to everyone. In this film, he didn’t play his character with much of an accent, like you’d expect him to have considering the time and location of the story, but it really didn’t detract from his character like it does when you see people do it in other films. His character was great, and really likeable, partly because it was written that way, but mostly because of how he played it. The rest of the cast all put in some really great performances, but for me, these two were the stand outs.

Violence, mayhem, love, hate, gods, titans, a magic bow and great characters. What more could you possibly want in a film? I think those who’ve knocked this film didn’t really give it the chance it deserved. I liked it a lot, and I’m happy to recommend it. Even if you see it for no other reason than to see Mickey Rourke as Hyperion…see it. For that alone it’s worth it. The guy is just amazing.

This release comes with two special features, which I felt was pretty skimpy considering what kind of a film it is. It has a featurette called It’s No Myth, and deleted scenes. Still, you’re getting it for the film, not for the special features…so there you go.

If you’d like to get a copy of this film for yourself, you can get it on DVD or blu-ray from Amazon, or any of the other usual outlets.