By Leonard Maltin | Leonard Maltin November 10, 2011 at 12:21AM
What can you say about a movie that calls itself Immortals and then introduces the concept that the Gods of Mount Olympus could be murdered? Some viewers may have mayhem on their minds, as well, after sitting through this long, draggy film wearing 3-D glasses for no special reason.
This is all the more dispiriting because Immortals was directed by Tarsem (aka Tarsem Singh), who built his reputation as a visualist based on innovative music videos, commercials (remember the “We Will Rock You” spot for Pepsi?) and the almost insanely ambitious feature The Fall. Because of a second-rate script,
sluggish pacing, and an over-reliance on CGI, he is diminished to the level of his material. Yes, there are some striking moments—generally involving bloody battles in which people are speared, beheaded, or pulverized—but there is no overarching visual concept that is worthy of the director’s reputation. We might as well be watching Clash of the Titans.
Henry Cavill, who’s built a following on the cable TV series The Tudors, has the gravitas—and the muscular body—to star as Theseus, an outcast in his own village because he was born a bastard. But Zeus (Luke Evans) has faith in him and fully expects him to lead his countrymen against the violent, power-thirsty King Hyperion, played by Mickey Rourke. Zeus warns his fellow Gods (including Kellan Lutz, who doesn’t get much screen time) not to interfere with the mortals below on earth, but it seems they can’t resist. Incidentally, the vaunted virgin oracle played by Freida Pinto also manages to redefine herself before the film is over.
On the face of it the story has possibilities, but in Charles and Vlas Parlapanides’ screenplay it’s handled in ponderous fashion. If you like blood and guts, with hand-to-hand (or should I say hand-to-spear) combat in video-game-style, you may like this more than I did.
As for Tarsem, he hasn’t necessarily lost his touch, but even the most forward-thinking director still has to rely on a script, and in this case that proves to be—if you’ll pardon the reference—his Achilles’ heel.