Mar 052012
 

Continuing the recent revival of large-scale action/fantasy movies (including the likes of recent remakes such as Conan the Barbarian and Clash of the Titans), as well as adequately filling the gap before the upcoming release of Clash sequel Wrath of the Titans, Immortals has not only just been released on 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray Triple Play, and DVD, but is everything you’d expect, and want, from a decent fantasy film.

Obviously Immortals was never going to be a serious awards contender, but the film; which follows a peasant warrior named Theseus (Henry Cavill, The Tudors) as he tries to stop the evil King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler) from not only slaughtering practically everyone in their ancient land, but finding a mythical bow and using it to unleash the wrath of the titans (yes the very same pesky titans we hear so much about) on all humanity; has all the action, scale, and pompous grandeur you’d expect from such a film.

Yet while the scale, and highly stylized world, may suit the film, and look fairly impressive, there are far too many lengthy shots of nothing but landscapes that look stunning in 3D (while Immortals wasn’t filmed natively in 3D, and underwent a similar post-conversion process to another memorably awful-looking, rushed, fantasy film, it was clearly shot with 3D visuals in mind, and as a result the 3D actually looks really good), but would undoubtedly prove rather dull in 2D.

Still, most people watch fantasy films such as this for the action, and in that respect Immortals doesn’t disappoint; it’s filled with plenty of little scraps that contain all the hacking, slashing, and wonderful sword and spear-play that anyone could want (made all the more impressive thanks to some great choreography, and the wonders of the third dimension), and a huge final battle that’s every bit as climactic as you could want; as it includes not only all the fun, excitement, and violence you crave from a fantasy hack-n-slash, but thanks to some decent characterization, ramped up tension, and small fights taking place within the huge battle, it manages to make it personal as well.

In terms of acting quality there’s little to praise or condemn with Immortals, since the cast is undeniably solid; with the likes of Henry Cavill, Mickey Rourke, Stephen Dorff (Blade), Freida Pinto (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), and Alien’s John Hurt all having undeniable talent, yet never having to stretch and show it at all here; as everything is cliched, easy, and generally as wooden or OTT as you’d expect from the genre (calling upon both extremes depending on the occasion).

Immortals does have its fair share of problems then, but as they’re generally problems which stem from the resurrection of a fairly tired genre (reiterating a plot we’ve seen countless times, using cliched dialogue, and dwelling too heavily on the stylized backdrops), it’s a film well worth watching; a fun, easy-to-watch, enjoyable movie with plenty of action, a couple of gripping characters you really want to watch, and a fantastic finale (not to mention some stunning 3D visuals), that makes Immortals everything Clash of the Titans should have been.

Picture:

Given that fantasy movies rely so heavily on their visual flair, it’s a good job that Immortals’ 3D video quality is so good; it comes to Blu-ray with great colour reproduction, a solid level of fine detail, excellent textures, and although they don’t quite reach the same impeccable standards as the 2D Blu-ray, they are accompanied by that extra dimension, which adds a lot to the enjoyment of the film, and despite being realized via post-production, actually looks rather good; providing solid depth, and an added sense of scale throughout.

It’s true the 3D isn’t entirely necessary to enjoy Immortals, but it’s also true that it’s a fun medium to watch this movie in, despite the fact that the 3D conversion process has left the entire image a bit too dark (making it a film which really has to be watched in a pitch-black room, lest even the tiniest hint of glare ruin all visible details and shadowing), drowned out some of the details, and left the colours with a little less pop than their 2D counterparts; that’s not to say that the image doesn’t look solid, as colours, textures, detail, etc., are all solid, but do take a noticeable dip from the 2D version.

Audio:

Coming to Blu-ray via a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix, the soundtrack for Immortals is simply stunning, as its constant use of ambient effects keep every speaker busy and help to fully immerse any listener in the thick of the action; which is where the Immortals soundtrack really shines, bringing not only the impressive clarity, solid directional effects, and pans that can be heard throughout the mix, but floor-rattling bass, pinpoint effects, and the all-round carnage you might expect; leaving little to complain about, with dialogue sounding excellent, and every little sound being well-positioned, well-leveled, and, above all, crisp and clear.

Extras:

Fans of the film will also be treated to a decent selection of special features, including not only a theatrical trailer and a short selection of deleted scenes, but a couple of alternate endings (worth a look), a poorly thought out alternate opening, a comic about a number of Greek myths (which doesn’t work simply because the text bubbles are far too small to read comfortably), an impressive and well crafted making of (split into four sections and a must for any Immortals fan), and a short feature with a number of scholars discussing some of the more common Greek myths, which all make for a fairly well rounded selection that should please any Immortals fan.

The Bottom Line:

If you liked Clash of the Titans you’ll love Immortals, it’s the best venture into the fantasy hack-n-slash/Greek mythology genre for years, and it’s clearly everything Clash of the Titans should have been (right down to the acceptable 3D conversion); it’s got plenty of action, an interestingly stylized world, excellent actors, and both characters and a story that you can actually get behind and care about; making it well worth a watch.

The 3D Blu-ray also fails to disappoint, as even though the 3D video quality may have taken a slight dip from the 2D release, it’s still by far the best way to view the film (you almost wouldn’t know it’d been converted, and some of the shots still look brilliant, even if they’re too dark to fully enjoy), the audio is stunning, and the bonus content is plentiful enough to satisfy any fan.

So in the end, it may be cliched, suffer from a slight dip in picture quality, and offer little that you haven’t seen before, but if you’re a fan of this type of fantasy movie, Immortals will not disappoint; it’s filled with all the grandeur, all the spectacle, and all the fun, you’d imagine, and it’s not just a great way to fill the fantasy gap before the release of Wrath of the Titans, it’s one fantasy fans can safely blind-buy, because Immortals is the film you always wished Clash of the Titans was going to be.

Matt Wheeldon.

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