Thursday, December 8, 2011

6000 Seconds of Silliness for 10 Billion Cents

 Tarsem, please stick with commercials, mate. You're a very decent teller of the thirty second story with a product at its center. Unfortunately, you're all at sea when you have six thousand seconds to fill with something other than product -- at least, we expect something other than product. Is that unreasonable of us?

I must confess that I find anything to do with Greek Mythology terribly silly. It reads OK in books, but when you portray absolutes like gods of this and gods of that on the silver screen, it's dull and stupid. Greek Mythology makes for good, symbolic story fodder, but it's non-intimate essence makes for godawful fucking drama.

The gods in Tarsem's Immortals do what gods usually do: They look down on things from an elevated position of authority and smugness. These bored pseudo-Bohemians throw comments about, bicker amongst themselves, and create rules that suit themselves. We don't care really. They can suck their own dicks. We're as bored as they are.

As he did in The Fall, Tarsem focuses 99% of his energy on the visuals and 1% on characters who wouldn't need such visuals if they were interesting. The entire film takes place on sets against green screens and it looks like it. The skies are impossibly beautiful, the ocean is impossibly perfect, and the rocky escarpments are too polished to be real. As for the people... it's a stretch to call them that.

The story involves a quest for a bow that fires an arrow made of lightning. Mickey Rourke, looking fat and pleased with his paycheck, plays the bad guy.   He sports a scar and kills his help when he feels like it, or when the writers need to wake the audience.  Henry Cavill, who plays Superman in the upcoming "reboot" (fuck, I hate that word!), is Theseus, the hero given the job of locating the bow and arrow by Zeus. Along the way, Theseus beds a pretty virgin (pictured below) with a great, art-directed ass, and has trite ego clashes with Stephen Dorf, who's totally underutilized.

Although the action isn't non-stop, the non-action involves a lot people standing near cliffs spouting utter shit about life, liberty, immortality, and future outcomes they know nothing about. There's not a human being to be found. Ex-Elephant Man John Hurt shows up now and then to fireside chat with Theseus because Theseus has no friends. Like everybody else, Hurt's wise old codger talks a brand of of goop that's stultifying.

When the action comes, it's as bloody as CG can be and confusing to watch. Hundreds of thousands of CG-spawned soldiers attack a hole in a wall and exchange steel blows in a corridor with a low ceiling. The outcome is predictable.

This cost more than a hundred million dollars. Couldn't 5% of that be spent on a decent script?

Pompous and boring: That's what you get for your ten billion cents when you embrace the silliness of Greek Mythology.   


  1. jervaise brooke hamsterDecember 8, 2011 at 6:03 PM

    Phantom, its true i do need my own blog but i just dont know how to set one up, it always seems to complicated, looks like i`m destined to always be an irritating troll instead.

  2. At first glimpse I thought this was a Zack "My dick isn't small" Snyder film, but then I find out Tarsem directed this. That did not sit well with me as I enjoyed the spectacle that was The Fall, and the impressive performance from the lil girl.

    Greek Mythology in video games has done well though, Phantom. God of War series is a blast, and even has tits.

  3. Diary -- No doubt, Tarsem creates pretty stunning visuals, but cinema is more than that, and that's why I'm always disappointed by what he does. Yes, the girl's performance was natural, but I found the storyline as broad and silly as Immortals. I concede that Greek Mythology has been embraced in games, but I still find it boring. I should admit that I don't like movies or TV about psychic investigators with magical powers, either. The powers, for me, are a cheat. I like the original Night Stalker because he only had his wits to count on.

    If you can embrace literal Greek Mythology, that's a good thing. I try to take pleasure from whatever I can. I just haven't taken it from this subject so far.

  4. hey phantom of pulp I'm Francisco from spain and I have recently discovered your blog it looks very good and some of the contents are interesting for me, excuse the off topic but I want to know what's your email, I have some questions for you about an article, I have look on your profile but there isn't any email address...

    greetings from Spain

  5. Anonymous -- try mmkkss at
    Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Ah, so you're a Batman type of guy. I'm personally a Silver Surfer man myself. Actually more Thanos, but if we're talking good guys.... ;)

    I think when someone finally gets a good story out of the incestuous habits that littered Greek Mythology, that'll be the day we see you nodding in approval.

  7. The only product of Tarsem that I truly enjoyed was the video he did for R.E.M's "Losing My Religion". I agree; he does fantastic commercials and wonderful music videos, but films are not his strong suit. I recently saw the trailer for "Mirror, Mirror" and it looks to be disappointing to me.

  8. Hype Williams, McG, Tarsem Singh, etc.

  9. jervaise brooke hamsterDecember 17, 2011 at 12:02 PM

    Merry Christmas my old mate.

  10. Phantom, how can I become an Apostle of Pulp? Is there some kind of hazing to go through? Lol!
    Thank you so much for commenting on my blog, it means so much to me because you write for a living and are so excellent at it! I actually wrote "The First Snow" as my first blog for my new website: and posted it on Wonderland too because I feel my writing hasn't been up to par there lately. So I decided to make another site for subjects I really want to write about, my experiences in life. I've had Bekkie In Wonderland for a long time now over two different accounts and I needed something new, hence my new site. I'm hoping this site will attrack more serious readers, more Followers, comments and will have my best writing on it. I'm hoping to get some jobs and recieve bloggers fees, I could sure use the money. Of course, who can't these days? Tee hee!
    You know I saw the commercials on TV about the Immortals and they looked boring. Commercials usually have the good parts to hook you into watching the show so it wasn't a good sign that they sucked. Greek Mythology is very boring, I just can't find anything to like about it.
    I'm wondering, what do you think of American Horror? I looked forward to Bag Of Bones but I thought it really sucked too! I looked at your TV picks and we have similar tastes...I don't know if that's good or bad? Lmao!
    BTW I offered to help Jervaise with a BlogSpot. I'd be willing to make a simple one and then turn it over to him. What do you think Jervaise?
    Merry Christmas Phantom, I hope yours is wonderful! ♥