Sunday, March 11, 2012

Immortals (2011)

Movies that I usually watch without any prior expectations tend to please me. This is one of them.

I wasn't able to glean much by the trailer, apart from swords-and-sandals (and sometimes bright yellow ones), and fighting, and slow-mo, and chroma-key. With the exception of the bright yellow, it looked like 300.

[I've even seen comments that said this is 300 with people that wear bras on their heads. Teehee.]

Despite loving 300, I know that marketing people are very devious nowadays, and I went in thinking that all of the awesome scenes in the movie is only the length of that movie trailer.

Thankfully, I'm mistaken.

The storyline for the movie is based on the legend/myth (can't tell the difference) of Theseus. Theseus was the demi-god that went into the labyrinth to battle the Minotaur, and found his way out using the ball of thread/twine he had used to mark his path on his way in. The cool part of the movie is that the story depicts the characters slightly differently than what we know them from (the Minotaur is actually a huge guy with a bull helmet, and not a man born with the head of a bull), showing us that myth is based on second-hand accounts (or at least, on exaggeration).

Violence? Check. Super-duper awesome fight scenes? Check. Slow-mo? Hell-to-the-yeah check! Visually it's like 300, with absolutely gorgeous and fantastic shots (don't think I can call CG renderings cinematography) of cliffs, dams, fortresses, you name it. If it's a building, it will be set across a vast landscape, so that you can see that how bloody grand ancient Greece is. It's slightly ridiculous, though, how quickly we move from one plot location to another, as these really huge terrains should take at least a few weeks to cross, and these people seem to reach them in a matter of hours. Anyway, at least it keeps the plot moving.

Speaking of story, it doesn't really have any. And some parts don't make sense: It's ridiculous how the Oracle will choose to sleep with Theseus, and by way, lose her powers of foretelling, at such a pivotal time when foretelling will most certainly come in handy. Actually, 'ridiculous' doesn't quite describe the situation; 'effing stupid' is more like it.

[Fun Fact: Henry Cavill will be playing Superman in Zack Snyder's Man of Steel, while Matt Bomer almost played Superman but lost out to Brandon Routh. Just as well, Superman Returns was atrocious.]

The main reason why this movie was because of the end-scene, showing Theseus doing battle with the Titans, along with the other Olympian Gods, viewed through the eyes of Theseus's son.

In the sky. With clouds and stuff. It looked like a magnificent Renaissance painting, except that it moved. And in slow-mo too, of course.

My first impression of this is that, despite Mount Tartarus collapsing on majority of the Titans, some had escaped, and since Theseus was elevated to God-status (to save him), the war is still ongoing, and Theseus, now an Olympian, is fighting the good fight against the Titans.

I finally read online that Theseus's son had actually inherited his mother's foresight, making this final scene your typical sequel set-up. This detracts from my enjoyment of the end a bit (I am very, very, very disappointed), but it's still a very, very glorious scene.

Immortals is miles, miles better than the atrocious Clash of the Titans remake, which incidentally has a sequel coming out this March, aptly titled Wrath of the Titans (underline is my own doing). From the trailer, looks the storyline will be exceedingly similar to Immortals, except that it has Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes, goodness knows why. 6.5/10.

The Adventures of Tin Tin: Secret of the Unicorn (2011)

I hadn't intended on seeing this movie, but since my office selected it for Movie Night, I figured I might as well go. 'Cuz it's free.

And I'm really glad I did.

Tin Tin starts of with our eponymous lead buying a model ship from a vendor. Almost immediately, his house is broken into, and, in the full spirit of "one thing leads to another", Tin Tin gains a comrade in Captain Haddock, and both set out to find the Unicorn, a sunken ship lost in history, said to contain great treasures. It's a treasure/scavenger hunt kinda movie, with exotic locations and mind-boggling riddles, as Tin Tin and Haddock rushes from one place to another to stop the villainous Lord Sakharin from further sulling the Haddock name and finding the lost shipwreck said to contain great treasure.

As you may already know/partially-guessed/realized, one of my favourite things in the world is wordplay (which is probably why I love Terry Pratchett so much), and wordplay is fairly abundant in this movie. I mean, "sour-faced man with the sweet name"? "Monsieur Suegar Adeitif"? GENIUS!

[For that last one, I was the one of the extremely few in the entire theatre who laughed. Think the others must've thought I laughed because of the Milanese Nightingale's accent.]

From the incompetent but unintentionally-twin bobbies (Thomson and Thompson) to the prolonged (but effective) scene in the desert where an unconscious Tin Tin almost slides into the still-spinning propeller, from Captain Haddock's extremely strong alcoholic breath to the final showdown between Haddock and Sakharin that mirrored that of their ancestors, Tin Tin fantastically proved me wrong. Despite my earlier (but unfounded) misgivings that Tin Tin was a children's movie, and my rushing through traffic to the theatre (and missing the first 5 minutes of the film), I had a rollicking good time at the movies that night. I couldn't help but be immersed in the adventure.

8/10. You'd think they'd overhyped it because it was a Spielberg-Jackson joint-venture; it's not. I would've given it a second go, if my first time wasn't that late into its theatre run. It really is that highly enjoyable.