Immortals (Preview)

A panel and exclusive world premiere of the first trailer for Immortals screened this past weekend at Wondercon in San Francisco, CA.  Director Tarsem Singh, Producer Mark Canton, actors Henry Cavill, Luke Evans, and Isabel Lucas were introduced to the eager attendees and immediately the movie preview was played on the big screens.

First we see a bottom-up view of an eagle screeching and soaring against a clear blue sky. Following the eagle in to a city, we suddenly see raids and the fighting of sandals and swords in the ever popular slow motion action style. The imagery is bathed in high contrast, bringing out the brassiness of armor and emphasizing shadows. We then see Theseus (played by Henry Cavill, also the new Superman) witnessing in horror as the ruthless King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) slices the neck of Theseus’ Mother, killing her in front of his very eyes.  The preview alludes to the fact that the Greek Gods are not allowed to directly intervene in human affairs (very much the rule in Greek mythology) but they choose Theseus to fight against King Hyperion’s tyrannous rein. Phaedra (Freida Pinto), looking especially beautiful, tells Theseus that the Gods chose wisely.

Immortals full written description from Coming Soon:

Visionary director Tarsem Singh (“The Cell,” “The Fall”) and producers Gianni Nunnari (“300”), Mark Canton (“300”) and Ryan Kavanaugh (“The Fighter”) unleash an epic tale of treachery, vengeance and destiny in “Immortals,” a stylish and spectacular 3D adventure. As a power-mad king razes ancient Greece in search of a legendary weapon, a heroic young villager rises up against him in a thrilling quest as timeless as it is powerful.

The brutal and bloodthirsty King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) and his murderous Heraklion army are rampaging across Greece in search of the long lost Bow of Epirus. With the invincible Bow, the king will be able to overthrow the Gods of Olympus and become the undisputed master of his world. With ruthless efficiency, Hyperion and his legions destroy everything in their wake, and it seems nothing will stop the evil king’s mission.

As village after village is obliterated, a stonemason named Theseus (Henry Cavill) vows to avenge the death of his mother in one of Hyperion’s raids. When Theseus meets the Sybelline Oracle, Phaedra (Freida Pinto), her disturbing visions of the young man’s future convince her that he is the key to stopping the destruction. With her help, Theseus assembles a small band of followers and embraces his destiny in a final desperate battle for the future of humanity.

The majority of questions to the panel switched between Singh and actor Henry Cavill, Cavill being especially popular with the female audience (at moments the screaming was almost deafening). The most pertinent questions about the movie however were directed at Singh, one of those questions being about the accuracy of Greek mythos in the film. Singh explained that there was some artistic license taken when working the story. He emphasized that when considering those changes, he also considers “How many people are you pissing of?” then tries to strike a happy medium while still “injecting” his “DNA” into the work.

Perhaps the most pointed element of the film Singh noted is the young appearance of the Greek Gods: “If you have to be immortal, what do you want to look like?” In this case Singh made the decision that the Gods look youthful but remain wise. However, to keep them relatable, both Singh and several actors noted that just like in Greek mythos, the Gods are not without their flaws.

All actors agreed that their roles were very physically demanding and Singh described the fighting in the film as “very physical” and compared it to the fighting scenes in Old Boy and Fight Club.

Even if the viewer did not know that the producers of Immortals also produced 300, it is almost a guarantee that viewing the Immortals preview will make you immediately think of (or perhaps even mistake it for) 300. The visual style is strikingly similar and because of the “sandals and swords” content Singh might not get as much credit as he should (The Cell, anyone?).

While some might find it exciting that Immortals seems reminiscent of 300, others may wonder “Haven’t we seen this already?” However, between the preview and the description tidbits given from the panel, perhaps Immortals won’t be just a visual carbon copy of a movie that has already been made. Given Singh’s previous visually stunning work, I’m sure we’re bound to see imagery that will help set it a part.

Do I think the story is going to be groundbreaking and win Academy Awards for it’s screenplay? No. We’ve seen a plethora of adaptions and variations of Greek mythos before. Do I get the impression that Immortals will at least be entertaining? As Producer Mark Canton enthusiastically put it, the film is a “Popcorn bad ass movie”. I’m inclined to believe that Immortals will be exactly that.

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