2011-11-11

Immortals – Diappointment With God[s]

by Yo Snyder

I didn’t want to see Immortals because it looked like 300 or Clash of the Titans,
but rather because I wanted to see the future Man of Steel, Henry
Cavill, in a heroic action role to get an idea of how he might fit in
his upcoming, iconic role. Well, not only was I pleased with what I saw
of him, but I was also pleased to find that this was a movie that
exceeded Clash of the Titans (not hard to do), had the same artistic aesthetic as 300
but  a little more refined (like the difference between a graphic novel
and a painting), and some surprisingly awesome action. In short, it was
a fun time at the movies as long as you aren’t expecting anything of
Oscar caliber (which, if you are, is J. Edgar is out there).

Overall
the story of Theseus is fairly simple revenge tale. King Hyperion wants
revenge on the gods for letting him down, Theseus wants revenge on
Hyperion for killing his mother. The rage in both characters is what
drives the story forward, but fortunately both leads give nuanced enough
performances that it doesn’t feel shallow. Rourke gives King Hyperion
some gravitas with his ruthlessness that’s driven by rage, sorrow, and
disappointment. Cavill portrays a hero who wants revenge, yes, but also
doesn’t want to lose himself in the pursuit of it because it’s not just
about revenge; it’s about justice. It’s truly the light and the dark
drawn from the same source but colliding together, and their final
confrontation is as satisfying as it is brutal. Most of the other
characters are serviceable, but the other stand-out is Luke Evans as
Zeus; a god who is obviously conflicted but wants to do the right thing
and help humanity stand against evil.

Speaking of the gods, much
of this movie is driven by them; or rather one’s belief and disbelief in
them. Up, up and away!Both Theseus and Hyperion share a common trait; they feel that
the gods, if they are real, are capricious, unreliable and certainly
didn’t ever do much to help them in their time of need. So many
discussions center around this disappoint with the gods that I started
to wonder why humanity is so quick to get angry at the divine. Even in
our modern society, we still have people who trump reason over the myths
of God, saying we should rely on ourselves and not childhood tales of
faith. One of the common roots of this belief comes from some sort of
disappointment. At some time God didn’t live up our expectations of what
he is supposed to do for us. Our pain, our hurt, our disappointment is
his fault and because of that we’ll choose to believe either he isn’t
real or doesn’t care.

You know Job and his friends struggled with
this as well, and ultimately what they discovered is that it’s true;
God rarely lives up to our expectations. However, our expectations
usually aren’t all that great to begin with; they’re limited, they’re
self-focuses, they don’t see the bigger picture, and they derive more
from our trust in ourselves than in the fact that God is mighty,
righteous, loving, fair, just and good in ways far beyond our
comprehension. I’m not saying it’s always easy or that we’ll always
understand; but is it even possible for the finite to truly understand
and evaluate the Infinite? We are quick to consider all the ways God
disappoints us and doesn’t live up to our expectations, but perhaps we
should stop and consider whether or not we are living up to his
expectations or if we are disappointing him. Theseus eventually learns
to view things from this different perspective while Hyperion never
does. One of them is destroyed and one of them prevails; I’ll let you
take a guess as to which is which.

While these deeper themes are
never developed as well as they could be, they are portrayed in an
impressive visual style. Again, it’s like seeing a painting from a
classic period like the Renaissance or the Baroque period in motion.
This visual design is accompanied by some fantastic sound design that
lets you feel every punch, ever blow, and every impact. It gives the
action sequence some needed oomph as the visuals are so gorgeous it’s
the sound that helps relay the gritty brutality of what’s taking place.
And be warned; this painting is brutal and it’s painted in blood.
Blood sprays and spurts in slow motion during several key action
sequences, however whether it’s because of the overall artistic design
or the obvious CG-ness of it, the bloodletting never feels gory, perse.
Still, it’s something to keep in mind when considering whether you’re
going to see this movie and with whom. Also, there is an entirely
pointless “love” scene that displays plenty of skin; again, something to
consider. Finally, I don’t think the 3D is worth it (anyone surprised
by that). Again, the art design and visuals are so gorgeous that I
really didn’t like the dimming effect the 3D conversion had on them. I
wanted to see more clarity and brightness, and you won’t get that in 3D
and there’s very little added effect from the extra dimension, so it’s
not a good trade-off.

Immortals was more a curiosity than
anything else for me; I was curious to see the future Superman. However,
I was pleasantly surprised to find a fairly enjoyable movie here as
well. It’s certainly better than Clash of the Titans (I know, that’s not saying much) and at least on equal footing with 300
(although that film had a more lyrical quality to the dialogue whereas
in this movie more often than not it’s rather clumsy). Cavill makes for a
fine leading man, Rourke is an imposing villain, and climax of the
movie which involves a fierce battle between titans and gods plays
almost like God of War the movie. With the few mentioned caveats (it’s
bloody and people do get naked for no reason at one point), Immortals is a fun mythology-filled action film that just may get you thinking about your own disappointments with God[s].

Score: 5/7