Immortals [Blu-Ray] Tarsem Singh

Immortals [Blu-Ray] Tarsem Singh
Gorgeous, shallow, muddled and overwrought, this is everything you should expect from a film by Tarsem (The Cell, The Fall). If you want the highest concept eye-candy masquerading as artful genre work, he's the man to hire. For a poorly conceived studio picture with a tight shooting schedule (as mentioned frequently in the supplemental features), the marriage of Tarsem's stunning visual acumen to a fast and loose take on the tale of Theseus is pretty close to a best case scenario. Immortals easily trumps similarly positioned, higher profile myth revival Clash of the Titans with far more fluid editing, more comfortably campy performances and most of all, the aforementioned frequently jaw-dropping artistic design of everything, from the cinematography to the backgrounds, special effects, elaborately ornate costumes and battle choreography. The story is the weakest link, repurposing elements of classic myth not to shed light on another facet of the discussion of the value of physical versus memetic immortality, but because it felt cool on an intuitive level to Tarsem and set his reservoir of creative imagery to a roiling boil. Meeting partway between pseudo-realism, like having the minotaur just be a beast of a man wearing a bull helmet, and full-on fantastical god combat, with statuesque men and women in ridiculous outfits performing amazing acts culminating in one of the most wowing orgies of mixed-speed violence ever filmed, there's little tonal consistency in Tarsem's vision. The acting ranges from flat (Isabel Lucas and Freida Pinto as Athena and Phadedra) to overdramatic (Henvry Cavill's noble Theseus) to over the top villainy courtesy of Mickey Rourke, but it's hard to fault a cast whose performances are most often reduced to talking set pieces. Tarsem seems almost savant-like in his ability to perform at near-genius level in just one element of filmmaking, while appearing nearly clueless in all others. Further evidence of his specific focus can be found in the special features. "It's No Myth" stops at positioning the retelling of stories today through mediums such as cinema as the further evolution of mythology, instead of getting into what this iteration intended to add to that rich history. "Caravaggio Meets Fight Club: Tarsem's Vision" is both a ludicrous statement and what they're calling the behind-the-scenes production features on this disc. Any thoughts on the story of a mad king castrating his way across the land, seeking a magic bow to free the Titans and challenge the Olympian gods while a virgin oracle and a warrior peasant try to stop him are marginalized in favour of tech talk, discussions of visual tone, depictions of effects work, Tarsem's hands-off approach to directing the score and the elaborately conceived and stunningly shot action choreography. Additionally, there are two rather poor alternate endings, an extremely long and overly expository alternate opening and a handful of deleted scenes ― all filler, save one minotaur money-shot. And, in a bid to frustrate viewers, a decently drawn comic entitled Gods & Heroes is included, but lacks a zoom function. Who wants to sit right against a television screen to read word bubbles? Issues aside, Immortals is enjoyable if you know that aesthetic is all you're hoping to get out of it. Some people like to switch their brains off and watch Transformers, some like to fool themselves into thinking they're doing any different with empty exercises in cool like Drive. I prefer to indulge in vacuous eye-gasms, Tarsem-style. (Alliance)