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IMMORTALS

I have been a fan of the whole, sword and sandal, myth and monster genre of fantasy films, ever since the first time I saw JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS as a child. Sure, over the decades, the entire genre has moved away from the innocence of the Ray Harryhausen type of film, with his original CLASH OF THE TITANS marking the end of an era. In this era of digital wizardry, fantasy films have indeed evolved away from a certain level of visual quaintness to something far more sophisticated and mature. Coming from the producers of 300, IMMORTALS ($40) heaps on the levels of blood and carnage, thus ensuring the maturity of the production and the audience to which this fantasy film is geared. For me, the most fascinating aspect of IMMORTALS is the man in the director’s chair- Tarsem Singh (Dhandwar), whose unique sense of style has made his previous films THE CELL and THE FALL two of the most visually compelling movies of recent memory. Like THE CELL, IMMORTALS offers a more style than substance, with Tarsem Singh painting on a canvas that favors darkness over light.

The plot of IMMORTALS is very loosely adapted from the Greek myths of Theseus and the Minotaur, as well as that of the Titanomachy. As the story goes… before the age of man, the younger Gods waged war against the elder Titans, who were overthrown and imprisoned beneath Mount Tartarus. Angry with the Gods for failing to save his family, the ruthless and savage King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) is on a quest to find a divine weapon known as the Epirus Bow, which is powerful enough to release the Titans from their prison. Laying waste to all sacred shrines and cities that may be the hiding place of the Epirus Bow, King Hyperion and his armies, now seek virgin oracle Phaedra (Freida Pinto) in hopes that she may be able to locate the bow’s resting place. As the inhabitants of a small nearby village flee Hyperion's continue onslaught, the film's hero Theseus (Henry Cavill) finds himself enslaved by overwhelming forces, while his mother falls victim at the hands of the bloodthirsty, butchering king. Swearing vengeance against Hyperion, Theseus breaks free from his bonds and comes to the aid of Phaedra to try and prevent the release of the Titans, and another war against the Gods. The cast of IMMORTALS also features Stephen Dorff, Luke Evans, Isabel Lucas, Kellan Lutz, John Hurt, Joseph Morgan, Peter Stebbings, Daniel Sharman, Anne Day-Jones, Greg Bryk, Corey Sevier, Steve Byers, Robert Maillet, Romano Orzari, Alan Van Sprang, Stephen McHattie, Robert Naylor, Gage Munroe.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has made IMMORTALS available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. IMMORTALS sports a superb 1080p presentation that maximizes the beauty of Brendan Galvin cinematography, as well as Tarsem Singh's screen compositions. Shot digitally with Panavision Genesis cameras, IMMORTALS is an end-to-end digital production that beautifully integrates live action and CGI elements. Despite a prevailing and intentional darkness contained in sections of the film’s cinematography, the image appears wonderfully sharp and demonstrates excellent levels of clarity and dimensionality. Additionally, fine details such as the imperfections in the actors’ skin and the textures on objects are fully realized. Depending on available lighting, colors can appear rich and fully saturated, with warm primaries, or they can appear just a bit more subdued. Flesh tones are always highly appealing and perhaps a bit more attractive than in real life. Blacks are pitch perfect and the whites are pure. Contrast is somewhat stylized, but excellent. The dark pallet of the film’s painterly cinematography purposely obscures some shadow detail. As this is an all-digital production, the elements from which IMMORTALS has been mastered are free from imperfections. Being all-digital, there is no actual film grain, but there is a bit of noise in the image.

IMMORTALS is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. As expected, IMMORTALS delivers a demonstration quality sonic experience; offering an aggressively mixed, fantasy/action movie sound design. Enveloping the viewer in the world of IMMORTALS, the sound design utilizes all of the discrete channels to perfection. There are plenty of big action set pieces filled with sonic barrages, as well as smaller, deftly designed moments. During the action, the sonic maelstrom explodes from all corners; effortlessly panning sounds in all directions across the soundstage in a highly precise manner. In addition, the quieter moments build believable environments that draw the viewer in. Thanks to the lossless encode, fidelity is marvelous; the score is a rich tapestry of musicality, while the sound effects are completely convincing. The bass channel is deep percussive and decidedly ground shaking. Voices are warm sounding, while the dialogue is easy to understand. A French 5.1 Dolby Digital channel track is also encoded onto the disc, as are English and Spanish subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplements. Caravaggio Meets Fight Club: Tarsem's Vision runs twenty minutes in total and this four-part program is broken down into looks at the director’s vision, visual effects, stunts and the score. It's No Myth (five minutes) is a brief look at Greek Mythology. An Alternate Opening, two Alternate Endings and a series of Deleted Scenes are also on display. Immortals: Gods And Heroes offers a digital comic version of the story. A Theatrical Trailer and Bonus Trailers close out the standard supplements. A Digital Copy of the film is also provided.

As I stated above IMMORTALS offers a more style than substance, but Tarsem Singh’s visual style remains compelling. Also, those looking for some blood and carnage will find plenty in IMMORTALS. The Blu-ray presentation is excellent.

 
IMMORTALS 


Immortals [Blu-ray] (2011)

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DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright 2012 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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