There are times watching rentals that I think, swept away by a really good film, “wow, I’ve got to buy a copy of this movie!” well, this certainly wasn’t one of them. A dismal case of style over substance, in many ways this film personifies much that is wrong with many films these days- over-the-top design, ridiculous excess of cgi, and hopelessly vacuous plot. It really is an awful, heartless effort with a telling apparent lack of thought given to it throughout. Immortals had me forgiving the recent remake of Clash of The Titans all its own many faults.
There are so many things wrong with this film. Hyperion’s army of hundreds of thousands of cgi warriors that’s so OTT its almost funny- I mean, I’d be surprised if there were that many people alive in the whole of Greece back then, and can only wonder at the logistics of feeding/watering so many people in the middle of a desert; it’s a prime example of style over content, of trying to impress with largesse and spectacle, and only strengthening the stupidity of it all. I won’t go on about the casting, except to say that Mickey O Rourke is so wasted here and so uninterested as he channels Marlon Brando’s Apocalypse Now performance that its evidently just a chore, a money project. Or how utterly uncharismatic the superhuman Gods are, with all the gravitas of a paperweight or weekday afternoon tv soaps.
No, if I’m going to waste twenty minutes of my life on this blog writing regards this film, I’m going to direct my wrath at the miserable excuse of a script that this film is handicapped by. How on Earth does anyone dumb down great complex Greek myth to a level somewhere well below that of a children’s comicbook? How do you take a mythic character like Zeus and turn him into a mindless, uncharismatic superhero without a cause? Even in Harryhausen’s Jason And The Argonauts the Gods had purpose, defined character, a narrative pull on the film. Here they stand in Olympus gazing vacantly at humanity below, occasionally leaping into sudden superhero action for no apparent reason other than bailing out our luckless and witless hero, Theseus and thus pissing off grumpy Zeus who proclaims humanity has to save itself prior to leaping down and doing it Himself anyway.
Oh, Theseus- what an abject and pointless hero we have here. He seems to fail utterly at everything he does. You have to feel sorry for Henry Cavill, even The Tudors was more complex and rewarding than the part he gets to play here as the mighty hero of myth turns into a bastard farmboy whose mom gets killed which sends him on, well, some kind of vengence-trip that gets detoured into a quest for a magic bow. John Hurt plays a mysterous old man/Ben Kenobi figure who nudges Theseus into the plot, such as it is, before disappearing completely. I’m not even sure what the story is about. If Theseus is the saviour of humanity, he goes a pretty strange way about it; he only finds the magic bow to lose it soon after, and other than managing to kill some muscle-bound bloke in a metal bull helmet (the film’s oddly mundane take on the Minotaur of legend), he fails at everything else; defeating the Titans is something Zeus zaps down to do for Himself with his A-Team of hapless Gods, making Theseus utterly redundant. Having failed to stop Hyperion unleashing the said Titans, Theseus finally manages to defeat Hyperion in a protracted tussle only to get himself buried by masonry and killed. In effect, the hero is accidentally murdered by Zeus! Its almost funny when you think about it. Everytime Theseus seems to get into any trouble some half-naked God in a golden skirt races down to save him and in the end Zeus kills him anyway. What’s the point of it all?