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.