Sunday, 18 December 2011

Immortals Review: The Bad (Spoilers)

It's been quite a while. I am now even further removed from watching "Immortals 3D" as it seems to be called, so some of the bad points that I was saving have either been forgotten, diminished in atrocity in my mind or have been rehabilitated after long thought. It almost seems a little ridiculous to review it now, actually, but I hate to leave something half-done so I'll just mention a few of the things I didn't like about the film.

  1. I find it really frustrating when a film lets a narrative thread amount to nothing, as a sort of permutation of the "and it was all a dream" bathos. It annoyed me particularly in Lord of the Rings, where the whole plot-line of amassing troops and taking stands and inspiring men's hearts was, ultimately, irrelevant in light of the necessity of throwing the ring into the fires of Mt. Doom (sorry if you haven't read or seen it - I did warn about spoilers...). The plot of Immortals was similarly frustrating, when the protagonist's failure to achieve his objectives were invariably followed by a disturbingly dressed or mustachioed deus emerging ex machina.

    But then, after all (I thought to meself), isn't that rather true to classical form? Perhaps my expectations have been softened by the vicissitudes of modern spoon-feeding Hollywood narrative ploddery, and I can't handle the authentic mythological structure of divine agency and overarching fate? So my criticism may apply cinematically, but with a view to the classical integrity of the plot, I have to conclude that, actually, the bathetic interventions of the gods and what have you are entirely apt, and my displeasure is due to my own weakness in my demand for linear, consistent story-telling.
  2. The dialogue was almost impossible not to snigger at (even the lines in Ancient Greek). It would take some more analysis for me to say exactly why, but for some reason(s) I accepted the ridiculous script of 300 - maybe something to do with the fact that I was a teenager when I first saw it. Or maybe it was the narrative of that film which allowed me to ascribe weight to the words, whereas the relative flimsiness of this plot - at no point did I actually feel that the future of civilisation depended on the outcome of any particular crisis - prevented me from taking the words as they were meant.
  3. All of the actors were hitting way below their batting averages. It goes without saying that Mickey Rourke can do better that this film, but even in dross such as The Expendables and Iron Man 2 he delivers a convincing performance; not so in Immortals, when he seems to need a throat lozenge and/or Prozac. I can't remember ever having seen John Hurt fail to impress me in a role, but he seemed to be smirking and counting his fee throughout this one. Freida Pinto had apparently just been told to be as sexy as possible, which she accomplished without, I'm sure, finding it too taxing (of course, she's no Nancy Kovack). Ultimately, I think this is the fault of the scriptwriters and the director, for failing to give these considerable talents decent material to work with, or competent guidance in doing so.
I think that should be enough to round off this unfortunate foray into the world of watching-films-and-then-blogging-about-them.