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If There Is One Human Who Could Lead Them Against Hyperion, It Would Be Monday Movies.

Immortals is a ridiculous and silly movie, but Monday Movies enjoyed Tarsem’s last outing and hadn’t read any reviews, and the Mrs. and we figured it would be fun to take in swords and sandals with our friend Leigh, so off we went. (Wednesday Food may enjoy knowing that all three of us enjoyed an Allagash at dinner before the show.) The short review: don’t see it, and feel free to make fun of me for seeing it.

Tarsem, an accomplished music video and commercial director, is known for luscious images and prefilmic effects using grandiose locales instead of CGI wizardry. The Fall, his previous film, was an underrated reverse-Scheherazade in which an injured stunt man spun out a tale in order to get a little girl to bring him the pills he needed to kill himself. The framing device was novel, and allowed for a shaggy-dog story set amid ravishing visuals including swimming elephants and Charles Darwin in a technicolor feather coat.

Immortals has a number of striking sets, but seems to have gone down the CGI rabbit hole. Unfortunately the sets and the CGI are both contrived-looking in ways that don’t entirely match, making it nauseating to keep recalibrating your suspension of disbelief. The sets look a bit like the Getty Center and the CGI is used to great effect in bloody head explosions. There are truly weird bits where a fight is going in slow motion while a recently bisected body is separating in super-slow motion. Mostly, though, the fights just look like a video game where you’re walking sideways across the screen hacking people up.

The story is a not-even-trying pastiche of Greek mythology. Mickey Rourke’s King Hyperion, whose armies are ravaging Hellenus, threatens to release the Titans imprisoned under Mt. Tartarus to help him ravage. Brave Theseus, trained by Zeus in disguise as John Hurt, resembles one of those oafish virginal farmer’s sons in the old jokes (the actor, Henry Cavill, is set to play Superman, which I guess makes sense). In addition to Zeus, there are Athena, Poseidon, probably Apollo, and a few other dim-rent-boy-looking god-types who hang out in Olympus and fret about intervening in mortal affairs. The minotaur and the labyrinth are referenced in visually, but in a manner not at all faithful to the actual myth of Theseus.

Tarsem’s visual intelligence shines most brightly in the scenes where he gets to put people in hats:

Mickey Rourke has a hat

Probably-Apollo has a hat

Athena has a hat

The four oracles have these great basket-y hats that I can’t find pictures of online. Also (spoiler alert), the true oracle can only tell the future if she’s undespoiled, but then she goes and bones Theseus! Bad timing if you ask me, though it all works out in the end.

Mrs. K-sky whispered to me re Mickey Rourke/Hyperion’s hat, “Bunnicula dentata.”

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November 14, 2011 - Posted by | Monday Movies | , ,

6 Comments

  1. We watched Melancholia this weekend. I found it to be very interesting to analyze, etc., but the experience of watching it was literally physically painful for me due to the camera work. At one point, I looked at the time to gauge whether I could stand to stay till the end or if I should cut my losses and bolt the theater before throwing up. It took me about a half hour for my stomach to recover afterward.

    This whole syndrome started after I had to run out of The Blair Witch Project and throw up. A couple years later, I had to do the same for Eternal Sunshine. I took to avoiding seeing movies in the theater for several years after that. Thankfully I appear to have become more resilient.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | November 14, 2011

  2. It’s probably one of the best-looking films of the whole year (yet, I still haven’t seen Tree of Life) and the action is awesome and in-you-face which is something I always like. The story dragged on a bit and I couldn’t help but think that if the writing was a tweaked a little better, this would have definitely been a very solid film. Instead it was just fun and pretty to look at. Good review. Check out mine when you get the chance.

    Comment by CMrok93 | November 14, 2011

  3. ha, the large photos posting s-me is contagious it seems, though i appreciated last time the subtitles provided as it seemed especially for me the tv captions
    i subscribed to the netflix dvd only plan and last week there come charlie brown’s christmas which i haven’t watched yet
    but i watched pretty many lenfilm movies some of which were new for me
    the last time i felt physically nauseous while exposed to some art was when listening to an Adele’s song, the song itself is ok, but repeating it everyday for months several times a day on the car stereo would make any song inducing that feeling

    Comment by read | November 14, 2011

  4. The Fall was pretty good, but I had some suspension of disbelief problems during it

    11/07/11 – Disappearance of Alice Creed – J Blakeson 2009 4/10
    2 kidnappers and there victim;twisty;no Shallow Grave here
    11/08/11 – Love and Other Drugs 3/10
    Why did I watch this? Oh, I remember
    Yuka on Monday – Nakahira 1964 6/10
    boyfriend troubles, cute, dark, cinematic appeal
    11/09/11 – Valhalla Rising – Winding Refn 2009 4/10
    Wait! I must stare awhile into the existential void. Okay, fine now, I’m ready to beat somebody to death.
    11/10/11 – Intimidation – Kurahara 1960 5/10
    competent ‘B”
    11/11/11 – Gohatto – Oshima 1999 6/10
    What exactly was the “Taboo” since homosexuality was accepted? Who cares. Fights, mostly with wooden swords, were choreographed to show character, but not enough.
    11/12/11 – Pigs and Battleships – Imamamura 1959 10/10 a masterpiece
    Yup. Everything, I mean everything I could want…and more. Visually and cinematically beautiful, innovative, interesting, surprising. Twenty characters and 10 plots adequately developed and interwoven. Landscapes and urban nightscenes. Attractive leads. Extremely dark and challenging even offensive cynical plot with uplifting ending. Feminism, colonialism, capitalism. And fucking hilarious.
    11/13/11 – She Was Like a Wild Chrysanthemum – Kinoshita 1955 8/10
    The “last Japanese romance” as one critic says. Kino changed styles for every movie, so the auteurists don’t appreciate him. This one is shot mostly through a ‘iris’ so the movie takes place in an ellipse surrounded by white. He was never interested in Tokyo, this is another rural movie. Place, environment, nature, setting is important to him. But the villages destroy people as much as the cities. So classic, but just excellent at it.

    Comment by bob mcmanus | November 14, 2011

  5. so i tried to watch _A Charlie Brown’s Christmas_ and can’t, seems i prefer just the cartoons, pictures, not animation, the voices feel redundant, if it was without sound, just motion, it could have been watchable yet, for me

    Comment by read | November 14, 2011

  6. That’s disappointing. I kind of loved The Fall.

    Comment by Josh Malbin | November 17, 2011


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