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"Immortals": Extravagantly Violent Epic is Glutted With Videogame Action, Imagery 

Wednesday, Nov 16 2011
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The last thing you see in Immortals is a pair of eyes, popped wide open, filling the screen. That's exactly how director Tarsem Singh wants an audience to receive this, his latest glut of imagery. King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) has set out to conquer the Hellenic world, and in doing so, he makes a mortal enemy of Theseus (Henry Cavill), who then quests, in the company of virgin oracle Phaedra (Freida Pinto), to stop Hyperion. The posters read "From the Producers of 300" and, like Zack Snyder's film, Immortals has little on its mind but conveying the buzz of martial glory. Singh's specialty is the establishing Wow Shot: Gods stand back and watch warring mortals from a Maxfield Parrish Olympus, while Theseus fights his way across a world seemingly production-designed by French master Jean-Leon Gerome, all in 3-D. Singh also has a knack for genuine eroticism, briefly displayed. The neo-classicist visuals are matched to PlayStation action choreography that tops Snyder's; this is among the most extravagantly violent movies in memory, including Hyperion's gloomy, arbitrary sadism and Helios, fighting for Theseus and the mortals, pulping heads like Gallagher in a melon patch. Given something as simple as Theseus's rousing pre-battle speech, maximalist Singh is helpless, but when he gets whole armies in on the act, you've got something to behold.

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Nick Pinkerton

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