Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Quick Review: IMMORTALS


NEW Feature: Quick review


It's official, I'm over films made entirely with the green screen process. Seriously, the core of IMMORTALS rang hollow throughout, including the abysmal acting, because people do things or act in vacuum. The actors can't get "into" the films they appear in because there's nothing around them. While watching IMMORTALS I had the distinctive feeling I got while watching SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW starring Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow: a film can rely so much on an actor's charisma and CGI to keep it going. A film needs a semblance of actually being somewhere even for a fantasy. And I sorta liked parts of SKY CAPTAIN but the green screen process zapped it from any energy. It's no wonder the director of SKY CAPTAIN never made any films again. Fast forward 7 years and Hollywood is still churning up films made in the same way. Bleech. No more. I'm over them.

CGI army. Boring.

Watching a film made entirely in green screen makes it unnecessarily claustrophobic: I feel trapped in a production designer's portfolio. IMMORTALS' looks have been lauded but after a few minutes I was bored. Slavish attention to details does not equate to realism or greatness.

There's a specific scene where the film sorta died for me: when Theseus kills the baddies with that magic arrow thingy (I'm too lazy for the specifics). The scenes AFTER the bad guys are killed, we see a couple of shots of the actors faces, all  breathing heavily. The actors' faces are blank, expressionless. The film sorta stopped dead in its tracks then and there. If your going to give massive close-ups of actors and basically end up showing how wooden they are, the whole effect crumbles. The funny thing with that scene is Theseus and the three are half a mile away but the direction makes it seem that they're able to see their reaction.

This is the kind of acting you get when shooting entirely with green screen

The BIG problem with this film is, compared to PEPLUM films of the Golden Age, how they turn everyone into superheroes. Mount Olympus is basically the JUSTICE LEAGUE OF ANTIQUITY. Zeus lands hard on the ground making it rise, a la MATRIX, etc.

Sorry but when I think of Greek gods, I don't think of superheroes or MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS. Why does EVERYONE have to be a freaking superhero?!?! We seem to live in really dark times when Mythical Gods or even real historical characters can only be seen as being worthwhile if they can kick ass (see ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER). I swear, we are this close in seeing a film which shows God teaching Jesus how to Kung Fu. Well, that might be sorta funny.

The gods from Mount Olympus were the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers

The direction is remarkably simplistic. Subtle this film ain't. The use of tsunamis and crumbling mountain evoke all the wrong feelings because the director clearly tries to evoke actual world disasters like the tsunami disasters in Japan and in the Indian ocean and 9/11 for the crumbling mountain to pump up the action and the allegory in the story but in a world of Greek mythology it doesn't work.

Mickey Rourke, John Hurt and Luke Evans are some of the actors that actually gave some sort of weight to their characters. Henry Cavill is set to play the next SUPERMAN. Sorry but Henry still has to prove he's a capable actor and not just good looks. Luke Evans acted rings around Henry in this film and Luke's appearance is almost a cameo.

Trivia: the film is 105 minutes long and the end credit is a staggering 8 minutes long, making the actual film only 97 minutes long and yet it felt much longer.

In closing, next time they shoot a new PEP film, please film it outside where the sun shines. Thanks.

Rating: 4 out of 10

make gif
Actual gif animation of fx from IMMORTALS. Pretty lazy copy/paste: They just added the tunnel opening to the image without changing much of it.


S.R.Orsulak said...

I agree with you 100%. These so called movies or are they cartoons really STINK. I'll take any of the old PEPS over these any day. What is wrong with the movie industry of today. What's wrong with filming a movie outside? I would think that the setup would in the long run would be cheaper. I want spectacle and sense of reality not this mess.

Steven Lester said...

I really liked the king character of Micky Rourke, as I said once before. I also said he was the only character that had a soul or even a past of substance, implied because one never found out about it. The stupidest thing I saw, among so many things, was after the hero guy had climbed up on the top of the hallway door to rally the frightened troops, a position fully 25 feet above the ground, and then jumps off it to lead the men to their slaughter, because as it was, the stunt man almost fell. At that height in real full metal armor, the guy would have popped out a knee or broken a leg, no matter how powerful his thighs were. That ended the film for me.