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Old November 11 2011, 09:43 PM   #1
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IMMORTALS (11/11/11) - Grading and Discussion Thread *SPOILERS*

Immortals has, based on the trailers, been pegged as a 300 knockoff with the gods present. There are certainly some similarities, but Singh's visual sense is ultimately much different than Zack Snyder's was (there's a lot more beauty and colour in this world, for starters, whereas Snyder's emphasized earth tones and grime.

As a story with characters, it's pretty minimal, but I imagine anyone going into it expected that. I will, nonetheless, comment on the plot in one aspect: in the past I've encountered films where the hero's only heroism was all about stopping an evil that they had accidentally caused, which often doesn't come across as especially heroic; Immortals, on the other hand, features a hero who fails to stop anything. Theseus would have to be considered the least successful action hero since Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark (if Dr. Jones had gone on an extended vacation to Yugoslavia, would the ultimate result have been very different at all?) - in fact, you can build a pretty good case that if Theseus had done nothing at all things would have turned out better, since his only meaningful action was finding the Epirus Bow and then losing it so that Hyperion could use it to free the Titans. The gods defeat the Titans, and Theseus' killing of Hyperion is meaningless since the villain would have been killed along with his armies when Zeus collapsed the mountain. Sure, he was brave, but what did he actually accomplish in the grand scheme of things?

Henry Cavill is a credible hero, and has great pecs (certainly, he feels less over-the-top than did Gerard Butler in 300, perhaps because he has a lot less dialogue to chew the scenery with). Rourke is a menacing villain, aided by the director letting him do some memorably gory things to make an impression. Freida Pinto gets more to do here than in her last blockbuster, and I'd say she does fairly well with the movie's main female part (the movie never pretends that the petite Pinto is an action hero either, which I appreciated after too many movies featuring waifs with the combat skills of a Green Beret), though it's hardly a demanding role. Pinto is also, among the cast, the primary beneficiary of her director's aesthetic skill, as he finds many ways to showcase her beauty (a brief nude scene is not actually her, but there are many stunning images of her in a red dress).

Tarsem Singh is the real star of the proceedings, though, not the actors. He does some remarkable things with his camera, producing quite a few memorable images and setpieces. His use of colour stands out repeatedly, the red that Pinto wears (which does a great job of staying clean even in the midst of a typhoon of oil that coats everything else). His rendering of Mount Olympus is by far the best I've ever seen on film - there's not a trace of the simple fluffy clouds populated by people wearing bedsheets so often seen in older films; pure majesty. For all the inventive fight scenes, though, I don't understand how Zeus (Evans) could go the whole movie without using his thunderbolt even once.

As a story, this is lacking in numerous respects, but as a visual experience it's quite a marvel. I came away thinking that Singh could perhaps be a great director if would devote as much care to his stories as to the images used to tell them. As it is, we have a visually stunning mediocrity.
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Old November 11 2011, 10:18 PM   #2
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Re: IMMORTALS (11/11/11) - Grading and Discussion Thread *SPOILERS*

Am only really interested in seeing this because of Cavill, but from the reviews it sounds like he doesn't really do much except fight people and look really ripped.
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Old November 11 2011, 10:21 PM   #3
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Re: IMMORTALS (11/11/11) - Grading and Discussion Thread *SPOILERS*

That's a pretty accurate assessment.
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Old November 12 2011, 04:49 AM   #4
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Re: IMMORTALS (11/11/11) - Grading and Discussion Thread *SPOILERS*

Ebert, who was amongst the 2010 Clash of the Titan's biggest fans (3/4 review: "I like the energy, the imagination, the silliness"), smacks Immortals down with a mere 1.5 stars, and in so doing, confirms all my impressions from the trailers:
All of Greece seems to be on the edge of a drop of hundreds or thousands of feet, although sometimes in the far distance we see flatlands, which are no doubt where the peasants live. No one on the cliffs but Gods, heroes, Oracles, warriors and suchlike. These characters all seem compelled to live as close to the edge as possible, where they run nimbly, survey the horizon, push each other, and never look down to check their footing. You know how nervous that makes me get.

... There are no end of battle scenes, interminable and incomprehensible, in which beheading and skewering are routine.

I am surprised, however, to read this, given who dark the movie looks in trailers, darkness being one of 3D's biggest problems:
The 3D cinematography is a pleasant surprise, one of the best iterations of the medium I've seen.
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Old November 12 2011, 05:06 AM   #5
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Re: IMMORTALS (11/11/11) - Grading and Discussion Thread *SPOILERS*

Singh's an amazing technician; this is some of the best live-action 3D I've yet seen.
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Old November 12 2011, 06:05 AM   #6
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Re: IMMORTALS (11/11/11) - Grading and Discussion Thread *SPOILERS*

Tarsem explains how deepy he wanted to tell this particularly story, to get into the minds of these particular characters. Or, wait, not at all:
I was thinking, “Do we need gods?” The Theseus story does not involve any gods. And I said, “No, you need gods because I want to make a statement about the gods and I want to do an action sequence with gods fighting that I think will tip the balance in a different way.” So we started to put those in, and I started thinking, does it have to be Greek? I was going to make it all post-apocalyptic, kind of like a Renaissance time but with electricity, I wanted to go to Mexico, things like that. And they said, “No, no, no, the appetite is for Greek movies, they're really big.” And I said, “Well it's not really a Greek movie.” I'm like, “Theseus with gods is like caveman with dinosaurs, the difference is like, a hundred million years.” And they just said, “No, no, it'll come out fine. Just leave it.” So we went close to Greek, but no period stuff is true of anything.

Hard to believe that a lousy movie could come out of such a lackadaisical approach to storytelling and drama.
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Old November 12 2011, 02:41 PM   #7
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Re: IMMORTALS (11/11/11) - Grading and Discussion Thread *SPOILERS*

I'll check this out on DVD.

Didn't like The Cell much, but The Fall made me take notice of Singh. I thoroughly enjoyed that film, it was visually very arresting and quite touching too.
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Old November 12 2011, 03:05 PM   #8
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Re: IMMORTALS (11/11/11) - Grading and Discussion Thread *SPOILERS*

Gaith wrote: View Post
Ebert, who was amongst the 2010 Clash of the Titan's biggest fans (3/4 review: "I like the energy, the imagination, the silliness"), smacks Immortals down with a mere 1.5 stars, and in so doing, confirms all my impressions from the trailers:
All of Greece seems to be on the edge of a drop of hundreds or thousands of feet, although sometimes in the far distance we see flatlands, which are no doubt where the peasants live. No one on the cliffs but Gods, heroes, Oracles, warriors and suchlike. These characters all seem compelled to live as close to the edge as possible, where they run nimbly, survey the horizon, push each other, and never look down to check their footing. You know how nervous that makes me get.

... There are no end of battle scenes, interminable and incomprehensible, in which beheading and skewering are routine.

I am surprised, however, to read this, given who dark the movie looks in trailers, darkness being one of 3D's biggest problems:
The 3D cinematography is a pleasant surprise, one of the best iterations of the medium I've seen.
Everything is on a cliff? Clearly he wasn't paying attention then, as it was established that Theseus's home was a remote small sea side village. He also must've missed that vast open plain where the salt mines were, not to mention that other vast open plain that had a mountain range, a giant wall and an even BIGGER FUCKING CITY behind it.

The gods in this movie actually felt like gods. No old men in toga's hamming it up. These gods know how to fight....Aries scene where he saves Theseus is one of the most bloody I've seen in a movie, but is effective because that's what it's like when a god deigns to kick your ass.

Visually the movie is gorgeous, and far more so than "Clash" feels like a mythology story come to life.

I'm not surprised Ebert enjoyed the stale "Clash Of The Titans"....it was just another cliched summer block buster with a Greek Gods angle, and brought nothing new to the table.

At least "Immortals" had beautiful imagery, felt truer to Greek myth, had better actors (Sorry Liam, you sucked in "Clash" and your lines were laughable) and had kick ass Greek Gods.

I'll be seeing it again.


[UPDATE]


So I was short of time when I originally posted this, so I was not able to read Ebert's entire review.....Now I am off work, and have just finished reading it and I stand by my original assertion: He was not paying attention. Seriously not paying attention. So don't waste time with his review when it comes to deciding whether or not you want to see the film. Let's take his review point by point:



Alas, the movie makes next to no sense. It involves, in a very broad sense, the attempt by King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) to conquer Greece, and the battle to stop him led by a plucky peasant named Theseus (Henry Cavill). Much depends on the possession of the hidden Epirus Bow, which can fire arrows that materialize from thin air and guide themselves to a target. This sounds great, but when you're shooting arrows at tens of thousands of enemies, your fingers could get bloody pulling that bow string.
Hyperion's goal was to release the Titans using the bow.....not to fight "tens of thousands of enemies". Theseus was not trying to get the bow to defeat "tens of thousand of enemies", he was trying to prevent Hyperion from getting the bow so that he could not release the Titans.





. In fact, all of Greece seems to be on the edge of a drop of hundreds or thousands of feet, although sometimes in the far distance we see flatlands, which are no doubt where the peasants live. No one on the cliffs but Gods, heroes, Oracles, warriors and suchlike. These characters all seem compelled to live as close to the edge as possible, where they run nimbly, survey the horizon, push each other, and never look down to check their footing. You know how nervous that makes me get.
As I said above, he clearly missed the salt plain, the temple, the other massive plain, the gigantic mountain, the gigantic wall and the huge fucking city behind the wall. Theseus lived in a small villa in a cliff wall. They never said, or intimated in any way that this was the whole of Greece. The gods did not "live on a cliff", but Mount Olympus, and they had a balcony that allowed them to see the "world" (of ancient Greece).

One legendary character does dive into the sea, turning into a kind of missile and impacting like a bomb, creating a giant tsunami. You'd think the waves would wipe out civilization, but the payoff seems mostly when everybody finds themselves covered with mud.
>sigh< What civilization? Theseus' village? The very remote one where everyone was slaughtered? That one? And I'm sure Poseidon couldn't control the damage done by his wave, what with being a god and all.




But a lot of the time I had no idea what was going on.
And this right here pretty much invalidates the entire "review". At NO TIME was this movie in any way, shape or form, confusing. It had a fairly simple and straight forward, albeit incredibly gorgeous, story.


Characters would turn up for the first time, seem terrifically important, and disappear. If at many moments I had stopped the film and asked anybody around me, "who is that, and what are they doing and why?," I think they'd have been stuck for an answer.
And again, not paying attention. This is pretty much the opposite of reality. Seriously, I honestly could not believe I actually read this.

There are such puzzles as why an army stretches the width of the horizon and has to funnel four abreast through a narrow opening in a wall.
Oh for fuck's sake....it's called a fucking "choke point".....you make your enemies come through in as few numbers as possible....Not to mention it was the ONLY VISIBLE opening at ground level, and the wall was to fucking high to scale!


And call me an idiot, but when they found the three people trapped inside the giant (golden? brass?) bull while being slow-roasted, I had no idea how they got there or who they were.
You are an idiot Roger, a senile fucking idiot!! The three people in the brass bull were the oracle's decoys. I figured it out the second I heard female screams coming from it, I mean jesus fucking christ, did they have to come and take you by the hand and spell it all out for you to get it? It's not like they opened it and showed you two light skinned women and one dark skinned one, all of whom looked exactly like the same women you saw earlier EXCEPT THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT THEY DID. You should've been able to connect the dots since those were the only three women in the entire film who matched that.

Let me say this again.....Do not base your appraisal on whether or not to see this movie on Ebert's "review". There's having a difference of opinion on something, and then there's not paying attention. I don't know if he was heavily medicated, is senile or what, but these were not the things you wanted to point out as negatives.

Let me give you the "negatives": Light on story, heavy on action and gore. If you find those "negatives"....don't go.

If you want an ass kicking, popcorn flick that is incredibly gorgeous....then go see it.
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Last edited by The Lensman; November 13 2011 at 12:17 AM.
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Old November 12 2011, 04:18 PM   #9
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Re: IMMORTALS (11/11/11) - Grading and Discussion Thread *SPOILERS*

Just got back from seeing the 2d version. I thought it was worth the four quid we paid
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Old November 14 2011, 12:01 AM   #10
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Re: IMMORTALS (11/11/11) - Grading and Discussion Thread *SPOILERS*

The Lensman wrote: View Post
Let me say this again.....Do not base your appraisal on whether or not to see this movie on Ebert's "review". There's having a difference of opinion on something, and then there's not paying attention. I don't know if he was heavily medicated, is senile or what, but these were not the things you wanted to point out as negatives.

Let me give you the "negatives": Light on story, heavy on action and gore. If you find those "negatives"....don't go.

If you want an ass kicking, popcorn flick that is incredibly gorgeous....then go see it.
Meh. To be completely honest, nothing in your boisterous rebuttal of his review makes me want to see it either.
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Old November 14 2011, 12:10 AM   #11
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Re: IMMORTALS (11/11/11) - Grading and Discussion Thread *SPOILERS*

The man is not in good health. It seems kind of mean to abuse him because he can't always do a good job in following a picture now.

This is especially true when the quote from Singh obliterated any desire to see this in the theater.

It may offend against conventional wisdom, but the writer is the most important creator of a movie. Even a Singh can't substitute.
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Old November 14 2011, 12:31 AM   #12
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Re: IMMORTALS (11/11/11) - Grading and Discussion Thread *SPOILERS*

Not to mention the fact that nearly every OTHER respected critic gave this movie a bad review as well.

Clearly for Ebert, this was one of those movies that got so ridiculous and stupid that he tuned it out, until it was just a bunch of random images flashing on the screen. I've certainly experienced that plenty of times myself (the last two Transformers movies anyone?)
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Old November 14 2011, 12:35 AM   #13
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Re: IMMORTALS (11/11/11) - Grading and Discussion Thread *SPOILERS*

Visually, this film was completely arresting. Although the 3D was mostly useless, in terms of straight-forward visual appeal, I'd put it up there with Avatar. Unfortunately, like Avatar, the visuals seemed to be driving the story; the plot there merely as a convenient channel to go from one stunning location to another, one epic slo-mo fight scene to the next.

Singh has crafted a gorgeous film - but that's pretty much all this movie has going for it. Well, that and Cavill's rocking body.
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Old November 14 2011, 01:31 AM   #14
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Re: IMMORTALS (11/11/11) - Grading and Discussion Thread *SPOILERS*

Tosk wrote: View Post
The Lensman wrote: View Post
Let me say this again.....Do not base your appraisal on whether or not to see this movie on Ebert's "review". There's having a difference of opinion on something, and then there's not paying attention. I don't know if he was heavily medicated, is senile or what, but these were not the things you wanted to point out as negatives.

Let me give you the "negatives": Light on story, heavy on action and gore. If you find those "negatives"....don't go.

If you want an ass kicking, popcorn flick that is incredibly gorgeous....then go see it.
Meh. To be completely honest, nothing in your boisterous rebuttal of his review makes me want to see it either.
Fair enough, but at least you've got a more accurate picture of the movie to make that decision.

stj wrote: View Post
The man is not in good health. It seems kind of mean to abuse him because he can't always do a good job in following a picture now.
If he, as a movie critic, can't follow a movie in order to properly review it, then he needs to retire from reviewing movies. If he can't follow the movie, then he can't give an accurate review and that defeats the entire purpose of the review.

As for "abuse"....sorry, but it's frustrating to read the man make vastly erroneous statements about things that were abundantly clear in the movie. Even if I had hated the movie with every fibre of my being, I still would've had to take issue with the disconnect on these points.

davejames wrote: View Post
Not to mention the fact that nearly every OTHER respected critic gave this movie a bad review as well.

Clearly for Ebert, this was one of those movies that got so ridiculous and stupid that he tuned it out, until it was just a bunch of random images flashing on the screen. I've certainly experienced that plenty of times myself (the last two Transformers movies anyone?)
If he can't sit through a movie that he's paid to review, if he tunes it out....fair enough. HOWEVER, he needs to say that at the beginning of the review so that people can decide if they want to continue reading a non-review. Anything else is dishonest.

J47 wrote: View Post
Visually, this film was completely arresting. Although the 3D was mostly useless, in terms of straight-forward visual appeal, I'd put it up there with Avatar. Unfortunately, like Avatar, the visuals seemed to be driving the story; the plot there merely as a convenient channel to go from one stunning location to another, one epic slo-mo fight scene to the next.

Singh has crafted a gorgeous film - but that's pretty much all this movie has going for it. Well, that and Cavill's rocking body.
Can't argue with that assessment, and that sums it up pretty well. I still enjoyed the film immensely.

The story is on par with the standard summer blockbuster stuff we see all the time. No more complex or deep than Transformers, Star Trek, Star Wars, Clash Of The Titans, 300, Alice In Wonderland, Avatar, Inception, etc, etc....All movies with simplistic stories.

It *is* a gorgeous film, and I like the design sensibilities of most of the film. Some of it looks like it stepped out of a mythology book, or a painting. While I've not seen The Cell, I have seen The Fall, and the story there is somewhat simple as well. What sells it is the visuals.

The same applies to Immortals. Yes, more story would've been nice.....but again, it's not really any different in that regard than most blockbuster movies.
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Old November 14 2011, 01:50 AM   #15
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Re: IMMORTALS (11/11/11) - Grading and Discussion Thread *SPOILERS*

The Lensman wrote: View Post
If you want an ass kicking, popcorn flick that is incredibly gorgeous....then go see it.
I am looking for light story that is full of CGI fun with action and adventure...and gore...pure escapist fun.

From what I have seen and heard (and I love Greek Mythology movies) I will like it!
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