Can a Cranky Guy and Gal Survive ‘Immortals’?
Bruce Fretts: Bret Watson is suffering from Post-Turkey Stress Disorder after seeing Jack and Jill, so I recruited cranky historical novelist Nancy Bilyeau to help review Immortals, the new clash-of-the titans flick starring Mickey Rourke. These movies are all Greek to me, so the question is, Nancy: Hit or myth?
Nancy: It’s no myth! There was nothing but scraps of mythology in Immortals. But it was No. 1 at the box office. Was it a hit with you?
Bruce: I don’t have a great frame of reference since I don’t generally go for these movies—I may be the only guy who didn’t see 300—but I kinda enjoyed Immortals. It wasn’t exactly good, but it was so over-the-top and strange that I was never bored. Except during the endless establishing shots by director Tarsem Singh: It was like they hired a landscape painter to draw a comic book.
Nancy: I have to confess I did not hate it. So kill me, Bret Watson! It was extremely stupid and incoherent while looking very, very beautiful.
Bruce: Sounds like some of the women I’ve dated.
Nancy: By the way, this movie is really violent, and I know I buried my head in your manly chest a few times in terror. I apologize to your wonderful girlfriend.
Bruce: Not to worry—you didn’t bury your head in my chest as often as Bret did during Jack and Jill.
Nancy: The real story of Theseus is a fascinating one—full of adventure and seduction and surprises. That mythology is not in Immortals.
Bruce: Wasn’t he conceived as part of a three-way? If they had depicted that, I would’ve sprung for the extra money to see it in 3D.
Nancy: Yes, Theseus is the son of a Greek king and a woman who had sex with her husband on her wedding night and also Poseidon, Zeus’ brother and ruler of the seas.
Bruce: But in this movie, he’s a bastard whose mother is slain by Mickey Rourke’s Hyperion. I really enjoyed Rourke’s performance—aside from all the spitting—but I wish he were taking on more serious roles after The Wrestler. Even John Travolta did a few good films after Pulp Fiction before diving headlong into a sea of crap.
Nancy: I think Rourke’s plastic surgery extended to his stomach. It was weirdly ripply without being the Men’s Health abs of the younger guys.
Bruce: He looks like he got his six-pack from drinking actual six packs. That workout routine hasn’t worked for me.
Nancy: There is no Hyperion warlord like this in real Greek mythology. The screenwriters had hundreds of amazing source material stories, but instead they just came up with same old same old.
Bruce: What was up with the magic bow everyone’s after in the movie? Is that in Greek mythology or was that just a macguffin, as HItchcock would’ve called it, added by the screenwriters?
Nancy: There is nothing remotely like the Empirius Bow in Greek mythology. The only one is Cupid’s bow—struck with one of his arrows, you fall in love.
Bruce: I’m familiar with that one.
Nancy: That explains you and Bret.
Bruce: I thought Hyperion was a publishing company, not a warlord. Of course, it can be kinda hard to tell the difference these days. Do we ever know why Zeus (Luke Evans) chooses Theseus (Henry Cavill), a mortal, to help defeat Hyperion and his evil cow-people? Also, if Zeus is a god, why can’t he grow a thicker mustache?
Nancy: I know, the mustache was very Boogie Nights 1979. Zeus just liked Theseus for no reason. Poor Henry Cavill. In the video interviews to promote this movie, he shows more expression and animation than in his actual acting.
Bruce: You’re a fan of his from The Tudors, right? He didn’t do much for me, but as a straight guy, I guess I’m not his target demo.
Nancy: Cavill was wonderful in The Tudors. He showed a lot of range as Henry VIII’s best friend, Charles Brandon. In this, he made me miss Sam Worthington in Clash of the Titans, which he was clearly modeled on. And at the time I didn’t think Sam was that great!
Bruce: And next Cavill is playing the Man of Steel—apparently he’s not afraid of the Superman curse. He seems like a talented British actor who wants to become a generic Hollywood action star. He’s the male Kate Beckinsale.
Nancy: Yes! So, Bruce, I know you go to these movies for the chicks. What did you think of the women?
Bruce: Cavill had the biggest boobs in the movie. Freida Pinto does a nude scene as the virgin oracle Theseus deflowers, but I’m convinced she used a body double, based on the Kardashian-esque ass shot. Unlike her namesake car, Pinto’s not that big and round in the back.
Nancy: So while I am trying to figure out if Mickey Rourke has had plastic surgery on his stomach, you are trying to figure out if Freida Pinto’s butt is real. Bruce, I think we are made for each other. Freida said in an interview that she was uncomfortable with her love scene with Cavill. She got off easy, though. The sex scenes in 300 were so much more graphic.
Bruce: Were there more or less than 300 boobs? Adding it to my Netflix queue…
Nancy: There are boobs, yes. But there are also a lot of men standing there in thongs screaming how much they want to kill Persians.
Bruce: Reminds me of a dinner party at our friend Frank Ciulla’s house.
Nancy: This movie was much more excited about violence than sex. How about the castration with a giant mallet?
Bruce: That was painful. Surely there must be less cruel ways to create a eunuch.
Nancy: There is actually a way to do it. But I don’t think you want your followers to read this here. It’s almost as unpleasant as Jack and Jill.
Bruce: The violence was pretty extreme and homoerotic. Lots of men being impaled by swords, arrows and other objects. But the crowd at the Times Square multiplex where we saw it ate it up, based on their lusty cheers. Not to mix my ancient metaphors, but the Roman Coliseum is alive and well at the E-Walk on 42nd Street.
Nancy: They loved it! I like unleashing hell in movies—probably more than any other woman you know—but I wonder if the violence should make a wee tiny bit of sense. Yes, this was a movie about the male organ. Mickey Rourke talks about his “seed” a lot (ew) and then there is castration and crotch impalement.
Bruce: The cheering was a little disturbing at times, especially when some guy laughed at the sight of the three women who surround Pinto’s oracle all beaten up. The movie’s tagline seems to be “Witness Hell,” but the audience might’ve been scarier than anything we saw in the movie, including that wild hellhound who steals the bow at one point. Shouldn’t they have protected the bow better? This is why we can’t have nice things, Theseus.
Nancy: Theseus did not take good care of the bow. He really didn’t do anything that well. In the myths, he used his brain and his brawn to kill to Minotaur.
Bruce: The Minotaur kinda came out of nowhere. It sounds like all we’re doing is complaining, yet we both liked the movie to some extent. Why is that? I enjoyed it because at least it was better than Jack and Jill. What’s your excuse?
Nancy: I liked it because it was so beautiful and haunting. And this director is interesting. He obviously doesn’t care what anyone else wants—he is going to create what he feels like creating. We could use more of that in movies.
Bruce: Tarsem is doing Mirror, Mirror, a kid-friendly version of Snow White next, with Julia Roberts, Armie Hammer and your beloved Sean Bean as the king. I’m guessing you’ve already bought advanced tickets on Fandango?
Nancy: Oh, that sounds great!
Bruce: I had you at Sean Bean, didn’t I?
Nancy: I love Sean Bean so much and boy, do I take heat for it. All my male friends get so mad at me and they keep talking about how he doesn’t wash his hair.
Bruce: If you like guys who don’t wash their hair, you must love Mickey Rouke. I don’t think he’s shampooed since Wild Orchid. And speaking of Mr. Bean—no, not Rowan Atkinson—Immortals is nowhere near as good as Game of Thrones.
Nancy: Oh, of course it isn’t anywhere in the vicinity of GOT. But that is George RR Martin’s world. Wait, can you imagine if we got this director to work with GRRM? That is something I would wait all night in line to see!
Bruce: I think you just had a nerdgasm.
Nancy: Yes, Bruce, I fear I did. Sorry about that.
Bruce No need to apologize–at least you’re easier to satisfy than Bret. So did you like this movie more or less than Clash of the Titans? I preferred Immortals. The only thing it was missing was the Kraaken.
Nancy: I liked Titans a little more. It followed the mythology (somewhat) and I actually cared whether Perseus lived or died—and in this movie I did not care what happened to Theseus. Also, I have the hots for Liam Neeson.
Bruce: Neeson does make a more manly Zeus, if that’s not an oxymoron. And the titans are this movie’s version of the Kraaken—horrible creatures who get released when Hyperion frees them from their mountain prison. When that happens, no one is safe. Kind of like when Lindsay Lohan was sprung from jail.
Nancy: The titans were a lot like the bad guys in Lord of the Rings, which this movie borrowed from, too.
Bruce: I fell asleep during the first Lord of the Rings movie and never saw the rest. See, I told you this is not my genre.
Nancy: I’ve seen them all, read the books, listened to them on tape. Geez, Bruce, who is the dude here?
Bruce: Were there boobs in Lord of the Rings?
Bruce: I rest my case.
What did you think of Immortals? Post a comment, and a Cranky Guy and Gal will respond!