"IMMORTALS — ★1/2 — Henry Cavill, Mickey Rourke, Luke Evans, Isabel Lucas, Kellen Lutz; R (violence, nudity); in general release
We will never know what it's like to live forever, but we can at least get a taste of what eternity feels like with "Immortals." The last time something this big and bloated moved this slowly there was an the Ice Age.
It's surprising the movie is so bad. It comes from Mark Canton and Gianni Nunnari, producers of the spirited "300," and was directed by the visionary Tarsem Singh. The difference is that both "300," based on the work of Frank Miller, and Singh's past movies, such as the magnificent "The Fall," had strong stories. This script has all the depth of a manhole cover.
Theseus (Henry Cavill) must rally the troops to stop the evil King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) from wiping out most of Greece (not unlike that country's current financial woes) with help from a handful of gods: Zeus (Luke Evans), Athena (Isabel Lucas) and Poseidon (Kellan Lutz). There are some plot elements about a magic bow and arrow and a group of oracles who look like Justin Bieber backup dancers, but this is a one-note story that never resonates either on a personal or heroic level.
There might have been some leeway given the weak plot if the casting, direction and costuming weren't so ludicrous. Rourke, who looks more like a homeless man than a menacing king, and Stephen Dorff bring too much of a contemporary feel to the roles to make them believable as ancient characters.
Cavill has the brawn to pull off the near-naked fight scenes where he swings a sword like a ceiling fan. The problem is when he has to deliver the hackneyed dialogue. There's a scene where he tries to rally a handful of soldiers that has elements of almost every "give-'em-hell" speech ever written. All he needed to do was declare the soldiers were a band of brothers and it would have been a total rehash.
Singh showed a knack for visual brilliance with "The Cell" and "The Fall." This film slops over from brilliance to silliness, especially in the Mount Olympus scenes where the gods prance around with contraptions on their heads that look like TV antennas.
It all adds up to a bland, boring film for which the end is welcomed.
"Immortals" is rated R for violence and nudity; running time: 110 minutes.
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