Immortals on Blu-ray
It's too bad this movie looks and sounds so great, because those are its best aspects. And even there, it could be better.
Immortals is your standard Greek mythology pic, in the grand tradition of such films as 300 and Ray Harryhausen's Clash of the Titans and Jason and the Argonauts. Well, you can put the remake of Clash in there, too.
But we digress…
King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) is one bad, bad man, a fact we get to witness repeatedly as he butchers his way through life. He's searching for the legendary Epirus Bow, a really nifty weapon legend has it was wielded by the Gods when they defeated the Titans (will they clash? You'll see!) and imprisoned them deep in Mt. Tartarus.
That's the setting. Our hero is Theseus (Henry Cavill), a bastard son whose mother and he are at the lowest rung of society. Their village learns that Hyperion's army is closing in on them, at which time the upper crust of society – well, nearly everyone but Theseus and his mum – high tail it to supposed safety at their fortress, which just happens to be at Mt. Tartarus.
After Hyperion arrives and starts killing everyone, Theseus puts up an incredible, one man fight against the evil army, but there are just too many of them. He's captured and forced to watch Hyperion commit a true atrocity on someone close to him, basically for spite.
Then Theseus is hauled away as a slave, while Hyperion and his happy gang head for Tartarus. Fortunately, the script knows he needs to come back, lead his people in battle, kill Hyperion and undoubtedly live happily ever after once the closing credits have run.
How he does this, of course, makes up the rest of the movie and we won't spoil the little that's there by outlining more than we have already.
If you're a gentle soul you might want to give this one a pass 'cause it's pretty graphic at times, while those made of sterner stuff will be able to revel in extremely realistic gore.
Immortals is okay, and Rourke is fantastic as Hyperion, a man who lives to be feared. Cavill has a tough time holding his own next to Rourke (most actors would!), but he does fine and we look forward to seeing how he performs in the blue and red suit in the next Superman movie.
And there really is a lot to like here, despite the thin script. The look of the movie is fantastic, from the costumes to the virtual sets and the special effects.
Except for the darn yellow tinge. The whole movie, perhaps in an attempt to capture the success of 300, is shot through some yellowish filter that not only gives it a look of unreality (the last thing you want in what's basically a fantasy where you want people to suspend their disbelief), it gets in the way of one's enjoyment of the otherwise-fantastic look. It's too bad, because otherwise the picture quality on this 1080p/24 Blu-ray is absolutely top notch.
Thanks to the film's aspect ratio of 1.85:1, there are thin bands of black above and below the HD screen, but most of the real estate is taken up by the picture. Detail is terrific, textures come through very realistically (whether costumes, wounds or scars), and the sets look wonderful. If it weren't so yellow it would be an absolute treat for the eyes.
There's no filtering the audio, however, and that's great. It features a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack that's powerful, deep and punchy, really shaking the room if you crank it up. We cranked and are glad we did.
There's plenty of great surround channel use, deep rumblings and clangs of metal, so your audio system will get a nice workout.
You get a reasonable selection of extras, too, including behind the scenes stuff and deleted scenes. There's an alternate opening and a couple of alternate endings, a bit with some scholars talking about the ancient inspiration behind the movie, and a four part featurette on the film's creation. Eight other deleted scenes are included as well.
"Immortals: Gods and Heroes" is a graphic novel that fills in some back story, though it's hard to read the lettering.
Immortals, from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Jim Bray's columns are available from the TechnoFile Syndicate.