Thursday, November 17, 2011

6 Reasons Why Mickey Rourke Makes Immortals Almost Worth Watching

Don’t let my enthusiasm deceive you: Immortals is not a good movie. Like Tarsem’s first big budget film The Cell, it’s very pretty. Visually groovy. High fashion fabulous and even an audio treat. 
But it’s also ridiculous.
Emily! You say. How can a blockbuster epic about Greek mythology not be great? There are gods! And they’re HOT!

There are Titans!

...who scurry like cave dwellers in The Descent and wear more body makeup than the cast of Apocalypto. They’ve been hanging out in a golden box buried deep inside a giant, but really easily penetrable wall. But you know what opens a golden box buried deep inside a giant, but really easily penetrable wall? A sparkling bow that shoots lustrous arrows, of course!

I KNOW! I also can’t wait to see how this subject matter gets tackled in XXX This Ain’t Immortals, coming soon to an online retailer near you. Hopefully it’s an urn-full sexier than the hilariously irresponsible and even more hilariously not sexy oracle seduction scene in the actual movie.

But why harp on the negative when we’ve got something awesome, something truly worthy of the gods’ golden showers? I am, of course referring to Mickey Rourke’s King Hyperion, the deliciously cruel and decadently dressed villain whose prime motivation is ‘the gods SUCK! Let’s unleash the titans!’

This is a great character motivation to have because it means we get to hear Mickey Rourke say ‘unleash the titans.’ A. Lot.
But that’s just the tip of Mt. Olympus. Here’s six more reasons why Rourke rocks:
1. Hat That
The man sports a bevy of headwear during his exploits, but most notably is this black helmet accented by claws (or teeth, or claw teeth) that frame Rourke’s unforgettable mug. Sure, it blocks most peripheral vision, but come on! It also looks like this:

2. Dude smokes folks in a cow
True, it’s not quite as grand as Gary Oldman’s elephant oven, but still...dude smokes folks in a cow.

3. Dieting is for eunuchs
Remember how Elaine was ALWAYS eating on Seinfeld? It was just a thing, and yet it worked. Hyperion has a lot of ‘things’--kickass hats, minions dressed like GWAR--so he didn’t even need another one, but you can’t throw a spear without catching the king feasting on something. I almost wonder if Rouke just refused to leave the craft service table until fresh pomegranates were flown in. Then Tarsem found a compromise, wherein Rourke would start filming, but once the pomegranates arrived, Tarsem HAD to hand them over ASAP. He didn’t have to STOP SHOOTING, just toss the fruit to Rour--er, Hyperion in the middle of a scene and that’s that. We’ll just make it a thing.

4. He’s a ball buster


5. Share That Style
Not only does Hyperion sport a range of facewear (including a glizty gold cover that screams Street Fighter’s Vega Goes to Vegas) but he’s so fashion savvy that he MAKES masks the official uniform of his ENTIRE ARMY. From a strategic point of view, it’s not overly smart (vision in battle, anyone?) but for us in the audience, it’s super that a character cares so much. About our entertainment, not his men’s chance of running into walls or surviving.

6. Best. Line. Ever.
“Let me enlighten you,” Hyperion tells a monk prisoner.
How does Mickey Rourke 'enlighten' a monk you ask? 

By setting said dude on fire. Fire ignited by holy water. 

Bad. Ass.
Mind you, I’m not recommending Immortals, and certainly not for the added surcharge of 3D (which is tragically lacking from someone as visually innovative as The Fall’s Tarsem). While the battle scenes offer plenty of head poppings, anything not involving bodies filleted by divine chains or Mickey Rourke’s scowling is duller than a bad history lesson. None of the young leads bring anything other than great abs or pretty hair to the table, and that more than includes the amusingly miscast Stephen Dorff. 

The only glimmer of quality comes from John Hurt, who seemed to have been cast as Burgess Meredith from Clash of the Titans, then everyone forgot he was actually in the movie and thought about just planting him near the craft service table to play with Rourke’s pomegranates and hats until a nearby best boy pointed out that John Hurt does some KILLER narration so why not have him, um, narrate a film that in no way needed narration? See, Immortals opens with an empty quote about the souls of righteous men, but that’s WRITTEN. So we had to actually READ it. Just in case the audience can’t, you know, read, why not have John Hurt read that importantly empty quote out loud at the end of the film?

You know, here I wanted to write a quickie post about Immortals and now I’ve reached the very moment of the film that made me care about what I didn’t see onscreen. The final image--not really a spoiler, as I won’t describe the plot and the trailer already showed it off--is surreal and wonderful. It takes us to a new level of visual imagination that demonstrates Tarsem’s eye is still sharply unique, something that should have been integrated with the story (a la The Fall) throughout the film to produce something we care about AND think is cool-looking. It's a shame the story--a mess of lazy mythology that isn't good enough to take itself as seriously as it does--just flounders, moving from one point to the next because the beats call for it (the deadfish romance is a prime example). Perhaps one day, Tarsem can find a script to match the extraordinary imagery he'll put onscreen.

Especially when it comes to hats.


  1. This reminds me of the Jet Li film Hero, which was very pretty to look at, but was VERY boring!
    Maybe all this movie needed was a teamup of Bruce Le and Lee Majors to help it un-flounder!...
    ...Yes, that's a real movie...Yes, I'll be reviewing it in a couple of days (along with 'the greatest movie since Gangland')...Yes, I deliperately mispelled Bruce Lee's name, when I wrote Le, I meant LE (well, Ly actually, but close enough)
    I am haunted by weird movies!

  2. I think having Bruce Lee Majors fighting in the corner of all of Immortals dialogue-heavy scenes would have made this film an A++.

    And heck yeah 7 Mummies! aaaaahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahah (cough cough) ahahahahahahahahahhahahahaha

  3. Oh, and there's a terrible blogger called Chris Hewson who still hasn't gotten a Halloween review for Hard Rock Zombies up 17 days after the 31st! What a terrible procrastinator!

  4. Reading one of your posts is like sitting down to watch my favorite sitcom!
    And this review was the Thanksgiving episode.
    Thank you :)

  5. This is excellent! Sometimes Mickey Rourke is all you need.

  6. Right? So long as a movie gives me SOMETHING.

  7. Don't think i'll ever watch this one, but that is indeed an impressive hat.

  8. This movie was completely off my radar... then I saw the TV ad for it at the EXACT same moment I was hit with an big shiny urge to watch a marathon of Xena, Warrior Princess... so I thought, 'Whoah! That looks like just the kind of stupid I'm hungering for!'
    Luckily I couldn't find my car keys and got sucked into an old episode of Hawaii Five-O... otherwise I would have gone and once again been friggin' ANNOYED by this Tarsem guy who I had no idea made 'Immortals' till now but who I'll eternally steer clear of because of how much I despised 'The Cell'.
    So thanks for warning me... though I'm still tempted by the Rourkeness of it... and that golden bunny hat.

  9. I'm totally flashing back to the Malibu Stacy episode of The Simpsons:

    Lisa:It's the same sexist doll you hate, she's just wearing a cheap 25 cent hat!
    Smithers: But she's got a new hat!
    Crowd: Yay!

    It seriously IS a great hat!

    Have you seen The Fall? It's (thus far) the one time I've seen Tarsem's visuals matched with a compelling story. I'd say of all the directors working today, he's the one I want to see end up in intervention to work with better scripts. I enjoyed the visuals of The Cell--and Immortals, plus hats!--but gah, there's nothing behind either one. Don't avoid The Fall though. It might surprise you (and I *think* it has some hats).