We've all met them before, someone who is incredibly attractive, almost unbelievably so. It's like they were Photoshopped by nature. But then they start talking and you realize there is absolutely zero substance to them. Still, you keep talking to them, engaging with them, because it's just so damn pretty. That is exactly what watching Immortals is like.
Yes, this reheated doggie bag of Greek mythology is completely stupid. The story, while involving gods and titans and someone named Theseus has absolutely no anchor in classical mythology whatsoever. We get the story of a warlord named Hyperion (Mickey Rourke's ugly mug mugging as ever) who is mad at the gods and wants to set free the titans so that they will destroy them. Theseus (Henry Cavill who makes boners sprout wherever he appears) is the only man who can stop them so he's on the run with some Oracle (Freida Pinto doing her duty as the movie's one hot chick) to find some bow and stop the war between the gods and the titans. Who knows. Who cares? It's so stupid.
The great thing about the movie is that, just like hot and stupid tabloid fodder Levi Johnson, it's smart enough to know to keep things simple. So many of these special effects laden blockbuster fail in trying to make the plots too complicated. Yes, Transformers, I'm looking at all three of you. You do not buy a ticket to see Immortals to hear a story. You go to see fights and powers and battles and rippling abs that have been glossed over with the brilliant magic of CGI. This movie barely even imagines a reason to get from one tableaux to the next.
While its innards may be simple, the shell is absolutely gorgeous. I'm not usually a huge fan of 3D, but director Tarsem (of The Cell and the classic "Losing My Religion" video) uses it to great effect. His art direction is exotic and fetching, with strange colors and textures and intricate backgrounds all blending together in some sort of opiate beauty. Your eyes are so enamored with the screen that your brain goes completely numb. All you want to do is see what gorgeous thing he has planned next.
Adding to all the beauty is the cast, which includes returned closet case Luke Evans butching it up as Zeus, six-pack brought to life Kellan Lutz as Poseidon, and Stephen Dorff (remember him?) making everyone over the age of 35 feel guilty for not having a handsome lived-in face and completely flat tummy. Apparently shirts were not invented until about 1132 BC, 100 years after the action of the movie takes place, because no one has one, and if they do, they're not quite sure how to wear it.
Comparisons to 300 are apt and inevitable (especially cause the marketing campaign is asking for it) and this does have the stylized beefcake of that movie, though less of the over-the-top gore. Also what it doesn't have is passion. While the performances are serviceable and you buy the character's motivations, nothing has an urgency. That's not necessarily a problem. Wandering around this fever dream of computer pixels used like so much fairy dust, you don't really care about the intellect of it. Just like your stupid companion at the bar, this is a sensual experience—one that you won't put too much stock in, but you won't ever forget seeing.