Trailer Tuesday: Immortals
It's been so long coming that I almost forgot about this year's big treat (hopefully) for mythology fans, Immortals. Previously known as War of the Gods, you can think of Immortals as this year's Clash of the Titans-meets-300, but with a much artier British pedigree.
Picking and choosing from Greek mythology, the exact plot of Immortals is a bit confused at this stage. However, it's clear from the trailer that King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke), who may be Titan god of the same name, is the film's villain - an aggressor rampaging through Greece with his Heraklion army in search of a legendary artifact that will help him defeat the Olympian Gods - Zeus (Luke Evans), Poseidon (Kellan Lutz) Athena (Isabel Lucas) Apollo (Corey Sevier), etc.
Some plot synopses insist that Hyperion is simply after power, over all humanity and the gods themselves. Others suggest that the mad king is out to free the Titans, the generation of gods before the Olympians - who were defeated in battle with their descendants and imprisoned in the deepest part of the Underworld. Either way, the Olympians are forbidden to take sides in the battle on Earth, and instead offer secret assistance to stonemason Theseus (future Superman Henry Cavill) who wants vengeance after his mother is slaughtered by the Heraklion soldiers (Told you it all sounded very Clash of the Titans-ish).
Armed with the Epirus Bow, and assisted by a small band of warriors, slaves, thieves and priestesses - including Stephen Dorff and Freida Pinto - Theseus sets out to rally the people of Greece, and even apparently finds time to kill the monstrous Minotaur in Crete's labyrinth.
There's no question that Immortals looks super cheesy, what with its rousing pre-battle speeches and shiny gold-clad gods bringing the smackdown. However, there's also no denying the project will be stuffed with dazzling visuals. Like Julie Tamor, Immortals director Tarsem Singh is known for his stylised, frequently surreal visuals. And he has said in interviews that with Immortals he is filtering an action movie through the aesthetic of Renaissance paintings. Nowhere is that more clear in the trailer than during the split-second glimpse of the sky battle, apparently, between the Titans and Olympians, which looks like it belongs on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
For the record Tarsem is best known for 2000's The Cell, the psychological thriller that saw Jennifer Lopez literally trapped in the mind of a serial killer.
Immortals could be laughably ridiculous, or offer an amazing use of a highly artificial aesthetic. Personally I'm expecting the film to sit somewhere inbetween, with audience response dependent on how accepting they were of 300's all-round over-the-top approach, which has since been used in several imitating movies.
Having been adapted post-production for 3D, Immortals opens in North America on 11 November. It is currently unclear when the movie will release in South Africa, although I believe US box office will be the major factor influencing that decision.