BLU-RAY REVIEW: Immortals 3D
Tarsem's latest delivers Greek mythology like you've never seen it...
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Tarsem Singh continues to bring to life creative stories with gorgeous visuals the likes of which can only be seen in another Tarsem movie. The director first hit mainstream Hollywood in 2000 when Jennifer Lopez stared in the fantasy crime suspense film The Cell. Then, in 2006, Tarsem brought to life The Fall, a gorgeous tale which Tarsem wrote, directed and produced (and which bombed at the box office and home video). Now, the director's latest - Immortals - has hit home video and introduced even more movie-goers to his unique take on movie making.
Immortals is loosely - very loosely - based on a number of Greek myths combined into a single tale and adapted to fit a modern audience. While it's central protagonist, Theseus, resembles the Greek character of old, Hyperion, the film's protagonist, is a completely unique and original creation slightly inspired by a Greek Titan who may have shared similar traits and tactics. As the main characters of the film, these two and the way they've been created and adapted to the screen helps viewers understand how the film as a whole has been adapted for the screen.
Gone is the in-depth character development and dramatic exposition, replaced now with weaker character studies and a Greek myth retold in a hardly recognizable method. Of course, if I wanted to know about Greek mythology, I'd take a class. Thankfully, I go to the movie to be entertained and Immortals goes above and beyond in forcing me to applaud its visual supremacy and amazing effects.
While the film's story - which follows Theseus on his path to becoming an immortal - is somewhat lacking, the aesthetics of Immortals are all together stunning. Tarsem is a master of using special effects to achieve a look that's both recognizable and, all at once, completely unique to the filmmaker. Fans of The Cell and The Fall will instantly recognize Immortals as a Tarsem film - dramatic slow motion scenes of brutality, lavish settings filled with majestic scenery, and costumes which twist modern technology and ancient visuals together into something completely unique. Fans of ancient stories retold in modern movies will either love or hate the story, but there's no denying the film's beauty.
The 1080p video brings the broad settings, impressive costumes, and bloody action into fans' homes perfectly. The 2D presentation is actually more impressive than the 3D as the film was originally shot in 2D and transferred to 3D. As such, the 3D transfer loses some color and sharpness in exchange for its cool but ultimately questionable 3D additions. These provide plenty of interaction which will impress fans who want to watch a 3D movie at home, but the average fan will find the 2D version just as rewarding (if not more so).
The film's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track delivers plenty to get excited about and will no doubt keep fans with a quality home theater entertained and engaged as well. Every channel booms with the movie's many noises: the heroic fray of battle, the firing of arrows, the clashing of blades, the lamentation of the enslaved, the suffering of the tortured and more all come to life beautifully.
As for special features, the 3-disc set includes the film on blu-ray 3D, blu-ray, and digital copy. I'm a bit disappointed a fourth DVD disc wasn't included to provide buyers the opportunity to own the film in every media format, though that's a slight complaint. Other special features include the short 6-minute "It's No Myth," which is simply a chat with a few mythology scholars about - you guessed it! - Greek mythology; "Caravaggio Meets Fight Club - Tarsem's Vision," a 20-minute, four-part making-of featurette that covers the film's special effects, stunts, and score. Other bonus material includes an alternate opening and two alternate endings. Eight additional deleted scenes are also included as is the film's theatrical trailer and a number of "Sneak Peeks" at other films. Something I really enjoyed as well was the Immortals: Gods and Heroes digital comic, which is entertaining and expands on the story and mythology some. The word balloons are small, but it's well worth a look for those who like the film or myth in general.
Of course, there are still some moviegoers who missed Immortals in theaters and won't pick it up on DVD or Blu-ray. As such, the name Tarsem won't mean much to them. However, that will change later this year when the movie Mirror, Mirror hits theaters. Starring Julia Roberts, Sean Bean, and a host of other talent, there's no doubt fans of every genres are getting a taste of Tarsem. Hopefully, they'll look back at the filmmaker's previous work and see how truly impressive his creativity is...
If you're a fan of gorgeous special effects, brilliant costumes, and dynamic battle scenes, Immortals is the answer to prayers. While the story may seem slight or discombobulated and the character development struggles at times, the film's redeeming grace is truly what can be seen. Immortals is one of my personal favorites this year and I highly encourage everyone to give it a try.
- Jess C. Horsley