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September 25, 2023

Immortals: or It's All Greek To Me

By Bernie Pilarski

Okay, you're the kind to turn a skeptical eye toward the supernatural. You roll your eyes when you hear stories about UFO's. On Friday the 13th, you'll walk under ladders while breaking mirrors and spilling salt with black cats running back and forth in front of you. So it's unlikely that you will believe me when I tell you that it was fated that I should go to the movies this past week without Sand. Just a week ago, I picked up a book by the Trappist Monk Thomas Merton, a real book by a real person. In his book, he talks about Promethean theology, which if you look closely, is about someone called Prometheus, a person from mythological Greece. Now Merton was born in France, lived in England and Italy and New York, ended up in a cloister in a monastery in Kentucky of all places, but nonetheless ends up talking about Prometheus. With all the news coverage of Greek money problems that threaten to undo the Euro and wreak havoc on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Greekness of Merton's subject would be a sufficiently odd enough subject to raise an eyebrow -- but it gets stranger still.

My son-in-law John walks in and wants to know if I want to go to the library. I didn't even know he could read, so being curious about what he would do there, I agreed to go along. While John headed toward the picture books, there was a newly published book available that caught my eye because it was on display on a shelf near the door almost begging to be noticed. It was a new biography of Socrates, surprisingly yet another Greek guy. I opened it up and read a few paragraphs, and like a sailor to a (Greek) siren, I was drawn.

Given those circumstances, how could I not then agree to go to the movies with John to go see Immortals, the latest CGI extravaganza about an epic battle between the mythologically Greek Theseus and King Hyperion? And here is the kicker: the movie opens with a quote from Socrates!

I'll let it up to you to explain it all, however you dare.

In this movie, elements of Greek mythology are rearranged playfully and seemingly randomly. There are lots of real Greek names, and they may even be somewhat suggestive of real Greek mythological personages, but don't use this movie as a guide to authentic mythology. It is more fanfic of the gods, with a great deal of liberties taken to make the story match the fanciful special effects. For reasons that are not abundantly clear or even necessary, Theseus, a Greek peasant, is being groomed secretly by Zeus to take a position of leadership that will enable him to save humanity from the evil and nasty King Hyperion. As we join the story, Hyperion is closing in on the Epirius Bow, a powerful weapon with which he could release the Titans from Tartaros and give him an upper hand in a war with the gods of Olympus. Theseus doesn't want to get involved in all the bruhaha until his mother is killed by Hyperion, he finds the bow, he sleeps with the Sybelline Oracle, and then he loses the bow. That sets up a really, really big battle between Gods and Titans, Theseus and Hyperion, and a force of maybe 300 (could it be?) good guy Hoplites and a bazillion Hyperion bad guys.

But don't worry about a story. Or about acting. Or about anything but lots and lots of really cool, albeit it a bit bloody and gross, battles scenes. I didn't see this movie in 3D, but it was fanciful enough that it might have been fun if some of the splattering blood seemed to be sailing right at me.

Was it bad? Not really. I had the same feeling watching this film that I used to have as a kid when we went to the matinee to see the old stop motion classics like Jason and the Argonauts with its mind-searing skeleton army scene. There was nothing of that kind of Ray Harryhausen flair in this movie, but there was at least the sense of the exotic that can transport you out your own little neighborhood and into the realm of heroes.

There is no need to rush off and see this one at the movies unless you're jonesing for some pop corn. This one will show up on the free movie offerings on your cable in the not too distant future, and you won't miss anything if you wait.

That is, unless like me, your life is being mysteriously manipulated by mythological Greek forces conspiring to draw you into the dark of the movie theater. Or maybe I've just been smokin' the Cracken.

Article © Bernie Pilarski. All rights reserved.
Published on 2011-11-21
1 Reader Comments
Lydia Manx
07:50:26 AM
And here I was thinking you just didn't want to see how much Sand drools over the CGI bodies...oh wait those are just gym rats with dialogue huh? I will wait for cable.
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