Saturday, November 12, 2011

Immortals 3D

Immortals / Immortals. US © 2011 War of the Gods, LLC. P: Mark Canton, Ryan Cavanaugh, Gianni Nunnari. D: Tarsem Singh. DP: Brendan Galvin. PD: Tom Foden. AD: Michele Laliberte. Art dept: big. Cost: Eiko Ishioka. Makeup dept: big. Special FX team: big. Visual FX team: really massive. Stunt team: large. M: Trevor Morris. S: Paul Timothy Carden, David Evans, Mandell Winter. Sound dept: big. ED: Wyatt Jones, Stuart Levy. Casting: Andrea Kenyon, Joseph Middleton, Randi Wells. Cast: Henry Cavill (Theseus), Mickey Rourke (King Hyperion), Stephen Dorff (Stavros), Freida Pinto (Phaedra), Luke Evans (Zeus), John Hurt (Old Man), Joseph Morgan (Lysander), Anne Day-Jones (Aethra), Greg Bryk (The Monk), Alan Van Sprang (Dareios), Peter Stebbings (Helios), Daniel Sharman (Aries), Isabel Lucas (Athena), Kellan Lutz (Poseidon), Steve Byers (Heracles), Stephen McHattie (Cassander). 110 min. Released in Finland by Nordisk Film with Finnish / Swedish subtitles. 2K DCP viewed in XpanD 3D at Tennispalatsi 3, Helsinki, 12 Nov 2011 (weekend of Finnish premiere).

Technical specs (IMDb): Camera: Panavision Genesis HD Camera - Original format: HDCAM - Cinematographic process: Digital Intermediate (2K) (master format), HDCAM SR (1080p/24) (source format) - Printed film format: D-Cinema (also 3-D version) - Aspect ratio: 1.85:1.

Official synopsis: "Visionary director Tarsem Singh 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 3-D action adventure. As a power-mad king razes ancient Greece and threatens to destroy mankind, 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 army are rampaging across Greece, demolishing everything in their wake with ruthless efficiency. Village after village falls to Hyperion's legions and each victory takes him one step closer to his goal: unleashing the power of the sleeping Titans to vanquish both the Gods of Olympus and all of humankind."

"It seems nothing will stop the evil king’s mission to become the undisputed master of the world, until a stonemason named Theseus (Henry Cavill) vows to avenge the death of his mother in one of Hyperion’s raids. When Theseus meets the Sibylline 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."

Tarsem is an image-driven film-maker, a modern artist who keeps developing the tableau style and the Symbolist approach to the cinema which flourished before WWI, Maurice Tourneur and Yevgeni Bauer among its most talented artists. Influenced by Sergei Paradjanov, Tarsem's cinema has also affinities with the work of Yuri Ilyenko and certain visual aspects of Andrei Tarkovsky. The Cell and The Fall were movies strong with vision and slight with narrative. Immortals has a strong narrative with superficial connections with Greek mythology, but actually it is an original story, and it is only confusing to think about the mythic Theseus here. I feel that the story is only apparently strong and powerful tableaux are still the true raison d'être. The gods at Mount Olympos, the appearance of the virgin oracles in their red robes, certain psychedelic visions, and the tsunami caused by Poseidon are memorable Tarsem tableaux.

Immortals is among other things an explicit movie about brutal, sadistic violence, a splatter movie. I have become bored with splatter ever since I saw the Eugène-Louis Doyen brain surgery movies from a hundred years ago in Bologna's Il Cinema Ritrovato in 2004. I think it is worthwhile to have that experience, but it is not something I look forward to any more. Splatter is something I've seen already.

The 3D here is boldly anti-realistic, psychedelic, and vertiginous. There is nothing wrong with the 3D technically but I often removed my glasses to enjoy a brighter image with full colours, including Tarsem's signature reds. Five years ago The Fall was based on a 4K transfer so successfully that such a digital critic as myself did not find anything to complain. This 2K presentation looked shabbier, perhaps also because of the 3D.

No comments: