It took me a while to decide whether Immortals was complete crap or entertaining nonsense. I think it was the latter. Theseus, Gods, Titans, swords, spears, stylised fights? What could go wrong?
It seems that director Tarsem Singh was heavily influence by Zack Snyder’s 300, though he didn’t pitch it too over the top or hammy. Except that nobody told Mickey Rourke, whose Hyperion (bad guy) was hammier than a side of pig. He also had the most ludicrous helmet, somewhere between a shark’s mouth and a lobster claw. To paraphrase Blackadder; it is the most ridiculous helmet “...since Olaf the Hairy, high chief of all the vikings, accidentally ordered 80,000 battle helmets with the horns on the inside.”
Henry Cavill is fine as Theseus (hero), with a chin chiseled enough for a prison break and for a future Man of Steel. Not as dynamic as Gerard Butler’s Leonidas but not as vacuous as Sam Worthington’s Perseus. Luke Evans is pretty good as Zeus - a rejuvenated John Hurt, but none of the other gods really get a name never mind much divine intervention. Freida Pinto and Stephen Dorff are also there; Freida as the Virgin Oracle who loses both her virginity and oraclity to Theseus (think Solitaire in Live and Let Die), and is then forgotten about; Stephen as, erm, someone else.
There’s a great deal of exposition and much of it is in semi-darkness (to hide bad CG?) or mumbled; Mickey Rourke almost mumbled as much as Jeff Bridges in True Grit. There is also much beard stroking about the Epirus bow (mcguffin) and how it can free the Titans (bad); until Theseus finds it in his village and then almost immediately drops it so that Hyperion can obtain it. It’s worth noting that Hyperion is only the bad guy because he was on the losing side in some ancient war for which the “good guys” were just as much to blame for starting, only they won.
This is all explained in the prologue, which is narrated by John Hurt to give it some gravity and credence. But the nonsensical reason for the good and evil sides is symptomatic of the half baked ideas, sloppy storytelling and plot holes. I started this review saying I wasn’t sure if it was total crap or entertaining nonsense, I think I’ve talked myself into the former. Sure, there are some nice action moments with a few steady cam shots as Theseus carves through opposition soldiers, again taking the lead from 300; but I don’t think they can really salvage this clumsy swords and sandals romp.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not an abomination like Louis Leterrier’s Clash of the Titans (though Trevor Morris’ Immortals soundtrack is nowhere near as good as Ramin Djawadi’s in COTT), and if I watch it again it might enjoy it more, but as it stands I think it’s a missed opportunity for a good old mythological adventure. But, you know, that's just, like, my opinion man.