Promoting itself as a sort of sequel to “300,” this shallow, sword-and-sandals spectacular is appealing primarily to young males, eager for the violent, graphic slaughter of its predecessor. Problem is: it is incoherent carnage.
Set in 1228 B.C., the mythological tale of treachery and vengeance chronicles a time when the Greek gods of Olympus defeated the Titans, trapping them in a giant box where they’re organized in rows, joined at the mouth by rods. But when greedy King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) of the Heracleans releases them, they’re ready to once again make war on the gods and retrieve the fabled Bow of Epirus which bestows supreme power.
Even though his mother slept with both Poseidon and Aegeus on the night he was conceived, the buff-bodied young stonemason Theseus (Henry Cavill) hasn’t yet figured out that his father is a god. But he’s determined to get revenge on Hyperion for slitting his mortal mother’s throat – and he does – with the help of his impudent friend Stavros (Stephen Dorff) , a Sibylline Oracle named Phaedra (Freida Pinto from “Slumdog Millionaire”) and, obviously, Zeus (Zach Braff).
Born in India and educated in Pasadena, director Tarsem Singh Dhandwar (“The Cell,” “The Fall”) is far more interested in creating garishly arresting, computer-generated visuals than story-telling although, admittedly, Greek-American screenwriting siblings Charley and Vias Parlapanides, whose ponderous dialogue is laughably stilted, haven’t given Tarsem much to work with. And the post-production 3-D conversion is far too dark.
So how brutal is the sadistic, R-rated, adrenaline-pumping action? Well, every man in the audience visibly cringed when Hyperion took a huge sledgehammer to one unfortunate’s crotch, presumably preventing him from ever reproducing, while his cohorts and enemies are sliced and diced into souvlaki-sized pieces.
FYI: after losing the plum James Bond role to Daniel Craig, the handsome 28 year-old British actor Henry Cavill will be playing “Superman” in Zack Snyder’s “Man of Steel” in the not-too-distant future.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Immortals” is a ferocious 4, featuring ultimately forgettable gods of gore.