I hate it when a movie has a great story but directors rely on special affects to tell it, failing short on story execution. So is the case with Immortals.
If you like I were a fan of 300 then you were excited when buzz starting building earlier this year when trailers were released for Immortals. While the same producers are behind both movies, director Zack Snyder’s high octane, visually stimulating 300 — based on the epic story of the ancient Battle of Thermopylae, King Leonidas and 300 Spartans that fought to their death against Xerxes and his massive Persian army, as well as graphic novel of the same name — a great film. Immortals falls short of 300 excellence.
There’s no doubt director Tarsem Singh was onto something when he chose to frame Immortals around the story of Theseus, one of Greek mythology’s most beloved hero’s and founder-king of Athens. Greek Mythology is rich with stories and characters that can create some incredible movies. But the name Theseus is just about all the movie got right. If you know Greek mythology then you know the story is loosely based and incredibly so, which when you’re a fan of both mythology and movies, is enough to drive you mad.
First, according to the movie, Theseus was a man chosen by Zeus to lead a war against the evil king Hyperion who wanted to free the imprisoned Titans from Tartarus to bring about war on man. By releasing the tyrannical Titans it was Hyperion’s belief that Zeus, because of his love for man, would intervene leaving the door open to overthrow the Olympians.
But, and this is a big but – that entire arc, the premise for the movie, is INACCURATE.
Hyperion wasn’t a king but a Titan. Yeah — like one of the crazies imprisoned in Tartarus — and it was Gaia (Titan and Goddess of Earth) that wanted to avenge the Titans by freeing them from their prison deep in the mountain, not Hyperion. If Immortals was following this story correctly Gaia would have been the antagonist instead of Hyperion and Heracles (son of Zeus) would have been the chosen hero, not Theseus. Heracles was in there somewhere, but I think he was killed? Or tumbled into an ocean or something? I’m not sure.
Second, Theseus wasn’t a bastard, but a demi-god – son of both God and mortal –Aegeus, a primordial king of Athens, and Poseidon, brother of Zeus and God of the Sea. (Apparently it’s possible to have two baby daddy’s in Greek mythology – Maury Povich would be so proud). This is huge, because Gods are known to come to the rescue of their offspring, even though they’re not supposed to. And we’re led to belive Theseus is Zeus’ son, not Poseidon.
But that’s just two of the inaccuracies. Well, those that bothered me. The others …The Oracle Phaedra, played by the lovely Freida Pinto, did in fact bed Theseus as in the movie, but as his wife. And Theseus’ son was not born from their union, but that of Theseus’ with …oh well never mind, you get the point.
Now look. I know story lines get twisted and manipulated and looked at with a different point of view for the sake of creating a great movie. Look at Inglorious Basterds. I think we all wish Hilter’s demise would have come about that way. But paired with Tarantino’s phenomenal ability to make the impossible seem plausible, using music, narrative, characters and an approach to cinematography like any other, it works. I loved it and didn’t pick it apart for its historical inaccuracies. But taking Greek myths and characters and twisting them beyond recognition, while pairing them against visually stimulating special affects, just doesn’t work. The story, while complex, falls short because there are just too many holes for the sake of the film.
There were some good scenes, like Twilight’s Kellan Lutz diving into the sea as Poseidon to come to Theseus aid, or Mount Olympus, I am always a fan of seeing how director’s envision the throne that resides in the clouds, looking down onto man. And hey, Henry Cavill is not bad to look at. True (side tangent), I wasn’t excited about a Brit being cast as one of America’s most beloved iconic superheroes, Superman. I mean, really, some things should just stay baseball and apple pie. Harry Potter got to stay British, let Superman stay American. But he did a good job and provided just the right amount of Ancient Greek eye candy and sword throwing. But all that aside, I was disappointed. I think I am going to pop 300 in today and watch to remember the better of the two.
Next up – Breaking Dawn, Part 1. Seven days, let the countdown begin.