Immortals: An Epic Tale of Good vs. Evil

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More and more, Hollywood has alienated audiences with its messages of moral equivalence and its clichéd insistence on casting corporate capitalists, the CIA, and Christian hypocrites as the bad guys in thrillers, action movies, and even horror flicks. It seems that the only genres in which fed-up moviegoers can still find old-fashioned faceoffs of good versus evil are some comic book adaptations like Captain America: The First Avenger and sword-and-sandal epics like Gladiator and 300.

That timeless confrontation of light and darkness is the explicit theme of the recent stylish, spectacular 3-D action adventure Immortals, from the unique dreamscape imagination of Tarsem Singh. Singh is a former director of music videos, best-known for his video of the REM song “Losing My Religion” and the nightmarishly surreal Jennifer Lopez film The Cell.

Immortals is set more than a thousand years before Christ in a mythic Greece overseen by Zeus and the other gods from their perch on Mt. Olympus. On earth below, the power-mad butcher King Hyperion, played by Academy Award nominee Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler) leads his dark army on a rampage across the land in search of the Virgin Oracle (Freida Pinto of Oscar winner Slumdog Millionaire). He knows that her disturbing visions can guide him to the secret location of the Bow of Epirus. The Bow has the power to unleash the imprisoned Titans, rivals to the gods; once they are freed, war in heaven will ensue, the gods will be cut down, and King Hyperion will rule heaven and earth. [Warning: mild spoilers ahead]

But the Virgin Oracle recognizes that an heroic young stonemason named Theseus is destined to rise up against Hyperion in an apocalyptic showdown for the future of humanity, and she throws her support behind him. Theseus (played by Henry Cavill, who will also star as Superman in the upcoming movie Man of Steel) doesn’t believe in visions or the gods, but he is fearless, and his mentor, a friendly old man played by Oscar nominee John Hurt of The Elephant Man fame, has instilled in him the notion that “living itself is not as important as living rightly”:

All men’s souls are immortal, but the righteous man’s soul is immortal and divine.

Little does Theseus know that the old man is merely the mortal shell of Zeus, who is confident that if any mortal can stand up to Hyperion, it’s Theseus. The young peasant has a personal motivation as well: he seeks revenge against Hyperion for murdering his mother before his very eyes. He assembles a ragtag band of followers and embraces his destiny.

He may be fearless, but in Hyperion’s horde, Theseus is up against an enemy whose “belief allows them to kill without restraint,” who “honor no rules of engagement,” who represent “a terrible darkness.” Sound familiar? Whether or not the screenwriters or director Tarsem intended it, this description surely resonates with anyone today who is cognizant of the worldwide threat posed by Islamic fundamentalists, who love death more than we love life, who offer only subjugation or death to infidels and apostates, who proudly wear the label “terrorists,” and whose totalitarian vision of the caliphate is a “terrible darkness” indeed.

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  • Asher

    This should be another Block Buster. The 300 inspired people because Brave King Leonidis and the 300 Spartans stood for Freedom and Died for Freedom….It cannot be bought, it has to be fought for, Bravery, skill, and Valor are continually popular and will never be forgotten, it motivates people to Victory!

  • Celestine

    Oh please, "Immortals" is one of the worst movies I've seen in years. Any "good versus evil" message is lost in the terrible production values (the frequently dropped Bow of Epirus looks much like my daughter's take down recurve bow painted black and decorated with sequins; Theseus' chopping wood with what obviously is a rubber ax, and on and on until you want to scream.) I'm not sure who the title "Immortals" refers to because the Olympian gods in their absurd hats are dropping like flies throughout the movie. The plot is nonsense pure and simple. Only my great sense of inertia kept me in the theater to the silly conclusion. People, save your money.

    • http://marktapson.blogspot.com MarkTapson

      I have my issues with the production values too, and the look of it. It's no 300, and definitely no Gladiator. But since this isn't technically a review, I didn't touch on things like that or the acting or the music, etc.. I disagree though, that the message gets lost, and the message is what I'm touting about this movie.

      • Hyperion

        It's the worst movie I have seen in years.

        The plot is stupid and has a lot of holes.

  • flyingtiger

    War is not the answer? "Tell that to the Founding Fathers of Carthage!" R.A. Heinlein.

  • MethanP

    It's nice to see some right makes might again. Remember what Hollywood did to "The Day the Earth Stood Still"? I haven't seen this particular film but I am sick and tired of all the PC comming from Hollywood. How many have seen "Rendition" or "Solaris".
    Hollywood USED to stand for something!

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Hollywood stands for box office receipts and anti-American and anti-Israeli
    propaganda. Given enough time in American government schools the future
    generations will be sure Hitler was and American President and Christians
    were his army who were destroyed by Jewish delicatessen owners that
    sold poisoned bagles and locks. Hollywood will then go on to make more
    movies demanding revenge against the Israeli demoniacs.

    I thought I saw this in the "60's in a poorly translated Italian flick but maybe
    it is updated to reflect today's political realities…………………….William

    • Questions

      A little presumptuous, aren't we? Projecting motive onto someone else always has been a risky venture, but when statements like yours involve this level of stupidity, it's not so much risk as sanity that's in question.

  • Questions

    Hollywood was never as "patriotic" as people like you imagine. In any event, the summer of 2011 produced the most domestic revenues in Hollywood history. And TV and movie combined revenues since 2005 are up by $14 billion. So even on commercial never mind artistic grounds, you're out to lunch.