Monday, November 14, 2011

Immortals

ImmortalsThere are times when you spurn the healthy option. When edifying foods with a high nutritional content are just not what you crave. Instead you want the hamburger. And you want it with cheese. Lots of cheese. You want it cheap and a little bit throwaway. You want it fun rather than worthy.

And so it was, in such a peculiar hunger, that Karen and I went to see Immortals on Saturday night. From the trailers we’d kind of sussed what kind of film it was going to be. Pure escapism. Not at all serious. Just beefcake, epic battles and spectacular effects. The only question was: would it be as excruciatingly wooden as the Clash Of The Titans remake or would it manage to recreate the magic of watching an old Ray Harryhausen movie on the telly when you were a kid?

I’m pleased to say it was more of the latter than the former. It’s not a classic. No one is going to get an Oscar. But neither was it tiresome and stilted. It was ridiculous, of course, but then it is impossible to portray Greek myths on the screen without them appearing ridiculous. As soon as you put muscular men and impossibly pneumatic women in skimpy gold costumes and flimsy togas – no matter how much they may appear to embody Zeus and Athena – they inevitably appear camp and like something from a Carry On movie. Couple that with the production people who gave us the 6-pack rich 300 and you have gratuitous violence as well as gratuitous musculature. If you’re a fan of fab abs and skulls being pulped with big golden hammers you’re going to love Immortals.

If Ray Harryhausen had had access to modern technology this is the kind of film I’m sure he would have made. Once you surrender to the Doug McClure-esque absurdity of the storyline it really does feel like being a kid again. Don’t fight it. Roll with it. This isn’t Shakespeare (or even the person who claimed to be Shakespeare). It’s a hamburger with cheese. It’s naughty but nice. It’ll put a couple of inches on your thighs but so what? It’s coming up to Christmas. You’ll have to diet in the New Year anyway.

Mickey Rourke gives good value as King Hyperion though given his bulk you’d imagine he would have been better placed to play Zeus. His performance is very physical. I think he is quoted as saying he didn’t get “all method” about it. I don’t blame him; there really was no need, though I can’t help but feel wistful about his surprisingly subtle performance all those years ago in Angelheart.

Zeus is played by the surprisingly svelte Luke Evans who looks bizarrely like Action Man, the one with the eagle eyes and grippy fingers but nevertheless convinces the viewer that he is indeed the father of the gods. Henry Cavill, fresh out of The Tudors, seems to have spent a few months down the gym and an equal amount of time on a sunbed but throws himself into the part of Theseus with gusto – which is odd given the luckless life Theseus seems to lead. Mother murdered before his eyes, he gets beaten up, finds a magic bow, gets his end way just once, loses the magic bow and then dies killing the bad guy. In between, of course, he does dispatch a great number of masked warriors with superlative spear work. One can’t help but think he is compensating for lack of opportunities elsewhere.

All in all this is great entertainment provided you don’t take it at all seriously. Director Tarsem Singh gives everything a slightly Indian tint which actually marries quite well with the original Greek blueprint though I was waiting for a Bollywood-style song and dance routine about halfway through.

Mickey Rourke does Bollywood. Now there’s a film I’d love to see.



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19 comments:

Nota Bene said...

So, sorry, are you saying you went all the way to the cinema just for a cheeseburger?

I quite fancy this film too but may have to wait until it's £3.99 at Blockbusters

Steve said...

Nota Bene: why not see it at the cinema and "go large"?

John Gray said...

I am a film snob.. But I must admit to liking a good "popcorn fodder" movie from time to time
I am going to see this one

Steve said...

John: "popcorn fodder" - that sums it up quite nicely though the wife and I did spurn the popcorn for a nice big bag of Revels... which cost us the best part of 3 quid! Rip off or what?!

About Last Weekend said...

Yes in reality, they wouldn't have had a bath in days, no dentals treatment for years and scraggy hair. Or maybe those were just the mere mortals.

Martin Lower said...

I can't remember the last time I went to the cinema. I can't stand the eejits who chat on their mobiles all the way through. Bah....

Steve said...

About Last Weekend: but they would have eaten fresh food - none of this processed shit - and not had to worry about carbon emissions and eco debt.

Martin: I doubt people would stand for that these days. You'd probably get a cap popped in your ass instead.

Rol said...

That's reassuring, since I'm being dragged kicking and screaming to see this on Wednesday.

Steve said...

Rol: it's better than Clash of the Titans. Whether you'll stop kicking and screaming once you're in your cinema seat remains to be seen.

Gorilla Bananas said...

I certainly wouldn't take it seriously as a Carry On film without someone in the Charles Hawtrey role. As his closest lookalike, I expect you to audition if they ever revive the franchise. You'd be totally convincing as Queen Hyppolyta's eunuch.

Steve said...

Gorilla Bananas: you are too kind. Would you like me to put in a word for you regarding the Joan Simms role?

The Sagittarian said...

Aw I like to try and recall Mickey Rourke as he was in 9 and 1/2 weeks...all been downhill for him since then I reckon.
You know, The Stud and I haven't been to the 'flicks' in years on our own...and in those years we have been with the Curtain Climbers to see bad Disney remakes and so on. I think you should write a movie Steve...the answer has been staring us in the face all along.

Owen said...

Saw the preview for this before seeing the French film "Intouchables" today... (now there is a great movie!) Figure I'll give Immortals a miss until it is out on tv... The preview was more than enough to hold me over.

Being Me said...

Steve, I love you but you will never sell me on a movie like this. I just can't get into them. A naughty cheeseburger on the other hand....

Steve said...

Amanda: I'd love to... but Keeley Hawes says she's not up for all the nude scenes.

Owen: actually, to be honest, the preview probably had all the main bits anyway.

Being Me: what about if I throw in some fries?

Mark said...

I went to see Tin Tin recently - possibly my worst cinema experience ever. Dreadful nonsense. This sounds great compared to that.

Steve said...

Mark: you and I really must go to the theatre sometime.

Lavie said...

This movie got an absolutely scathing review in the local newspaper here but I thought it looked pretty cool from the trailers. Not sure if I'd pay to see it though, I think I'll wait for it to air on television.

Steve said...

Lavie: that doesn't surprise me. But I'm sure all the Sinbad films didn't exactly get great reviews either and they're still enjoyable.