Immortals 2011 movie

Immortals – How Come this Titanic Movie didn’t Win in Theaters?

There are gods, and then there are gods’ children, not always enjoying the same privileges, as happens to the protagonist of Immortals, a spectacular 2011 fantasy movie by visionary director Tarsem Singh.

The story’s hero is the handsome and brave Henry Cavill, who would inherit the mantle of Superman a few years later, here instead in the poor, ragged shoes of the undesirable Theseus.

Indeed, everyone in his village knows his strength and skill in battle, but no one wants him to become a soldier because he’s born of his mother’s dishonorable rape.

However, people don’t know Theseus’ father is Zeus himself, the God above all others, who, disguised as an old soldier, nevertheless followed his stepson’s life and personally trained him for battle.

Unfortunately, no amount of training can prevent the cruel Hyperion and his ruthless soldiers from slaughtering the entire village, killing Theseus’ mother right before his eyes.

Sold as a slave, he is put aboard a small boat along with the beautiful handmaids of the oracle Phaedra, who sees in his future that he will be the only person who can prevent the mad plot against the gods.

Indeed, Hyperion wishes to find the ancient magic bow of Epirus, the only weapon that would allow him to release the fury of the Titans, who would obviously unleash their power to take revenge on the gods who defeated and imprisoned them even before the birth of Man.

United in destiny (and then in love), Theseus and Phaedra will join the other slaves commanded by the fearless Stavros, setting out in search of the bow and then heading for the fortress of Tartarus, in whose bowels the Titans’ prison lies and will be the scene of the final confrontation against Hyperion’s endless armies.

The stupid battle against 300

Sometimes, I feel completely detached from the mass audience, as if my brain is missing something, and that’s why I can’t understand it.

For example, I don’t understand how the international public can idolize funny silliness like 300 and then drown a visually and narratively outstanding fantasy like Immortals with groans and criticism.

Immortals came out in 2011, five years after Zack Snyder‘s Furious Spartans held their line, but even though everyone (audiences and critics) immediately compared and contrasted them directly, they are actually two movies so different that they share no characteristics.

Here we are in the realm of pure fantasy, instead of a reconstruction of an authentic Greek battle, albeit based on Frank Miller‘s comic book and obviously without pretensions to realism and historical accuracy.

The elegant staging and color choice of every costume and adornment are absolutely perfect, with Tarsem Singh brushing cinema in a captivating fusion of color and skillful framing of geometric precision.

Still, don’t worry. Even when there’s action to handle, the good Tarsem shows great skill in coordinating the cast and the many stuntmen and stand-ins.

Immortals have everything genre lovers could want: spectacular one-on-one, one-on-many, army-on-army fights, and even superpowers sprinkling when the gods themselves step in.

Besides the high-level action and staging, compared with 300 and the constant presence of screaming ralenty men, this is a dramatic and personal story that never descends into exaggeration.

The acting of the entire cast, indeed, holds back rather than explodes explicitly, telling only part of each character’s hidden traumas and motives on the battlefield.

Because of this, paradoxically, the story becomes more believable and enjoyable despite being a fantasy. But as mentioned, so few people seem to see it that way.

A cast of cinematic titans

It may seem that I have something against Zack Snyder, but I just could not stand his cinematic version of Superman.

The fault was mainly the poor narrative and schizophrenic direction in the action scenes instead of the solid Henry Cavill, an actor I have always admired and, even in the general confusion, he succeeded in giving the character a good charisma.

Even more I appreciated Cavill as the lead in The Witcher series, being greatly disappointed when he left the job because of (once again) poor and stupid production decisions.

Here, another role fits him perfectly: the action hero in a fantasy setting who is fighting forces greater than himself.

Cavill is charming and crude enough to be a hero born from the bottom, albeit blessed by the gods, growing up in misery and estranged from everyone.

Just as good is the cast accompanying him on the adventure, with the faithful and fierce Stephen Dorff as the gold-hearted thief and the gorgeous oracle Freida Pinto to guide him in his choices…and then to his bed, which never bothers.

Of course, I constantly repeat that a hero is only as good as the villain he must face, and in this case, we have a luxurious performance by the great Mickey Rourke, a treacherous and unpredictable opponent.

Though deformed over the years, good old Rourke still has charm and grit to spare, and indeed his performance is so enthralling that at times we find ourselves mesmerized by his insane philosophy and indiscriminate sadism.

Finally, let us not forget the good dear Zeus, father of the gods all, whom we see in a youthful form in the perfect features of the more than convincing Luke Evans and even better on the tired and wise features of the superb John Hurt.

In short, what more can we ask of this 2011 movie, and why did Immortals fail to win the hearts of international audiences? If any of you have the answer, please enlighten me.

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