Archive for ‘Reviews’

December 21, 2012

NerdGirls Chat for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (A Big Fangirl Squee and Sort-of Review)

So, thatdarongirl and I, Beth Matthews, have been wanting to do this NerdGirls chat thing for a while. Basically the two of us having a long involved discussion about some geek relevant topic which we would then present here for the delectation of you, our fellow geeks. We finally managed to get our act together.

Basically, this is our long and in depth geeking out-conversation about The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Enjoy! Please feel free to argue or make your own points. As you can see from this conversation: discussion is encouraged.

Let us all be geeks together! 🙂

the hobbit

DARON: Hello.

BETH: Hello. My cat just jumped onto my lap. He wants to talk about The Hobbit too, or get petted. Either way…

DARON:  Katie’s cat was typing to me earlier. Lots of nonsense.

BETH:  Cats are not very good film critics. OK, first of all, the big debate: 24fps or 48fps. You saw the movie in 3D at the 48fps. Any thoughts?

DARON:  You know, there’s been a lot of talk of the movie not being “cinematic” due to the frame rate. It’s just not true. I was blown away by the imagery in this movie.

BETH:  I don’t see how it could NOT be “cinematic” with them filming in New Zealand. I was drooling over the landscape shots.

DARON:  Yes! The flying eagles! I have to say that, more than any of the LOTR movies, this movie made me want to BE in middle earth. It’s the tone, a little more playful maybe.

BETH:  hmmm….I think I still lean toward Fellowship for that. So many hobbitses! I want to be a hobbit, I cannot lie.

DARON:  But the feet! So hairy!

BETH:  But the hobbit holes!

DARON:  I do want a hobbit hole.

BETH:  So, Martin Freeman as Bilbo…

DARON:  He is absolutely perfect.

BETH: I think he should get an Oscar nod. His Bilbo is career defining, take it to the next level, brilliant as hell, genius-level work.

DARON:  What did you like about his performance? What was your favorite scene?

BETH: Well, I’m a Martin Freeman fan from way back. I adore him in Love Actually, and then more recently watching him play Watson on Sherlock. He’s just…he’s very natural, and he has this really great physicality. Subtle little twists and ticks, things he does with his head and face. For instance: the “I am a Baggins of Bag End” line, and with this hand gesture and voice you get exactly what that MEANS.

DARON:  Totally agree.

BETH:  I really love the part during the dinner party where Bilbo goes to the other room to get away, but he can hear the dwarves singing. And his face; he wants to be a part of that, he wants to go.

DARON:  I love that you pick up on those details.

BETH:  I used to be an actor, remember? LOL.

DARON:  But it’s so true, it always seemed like a strange decision to me, for a hobbit to go out seeking adventure, but it was obvious in the movie that Bilbo is just an adventurous spirit! Even though he pretends otherwise. I guess it helps to have a wizard giving you a push.

BETH:  Yes, but they also show the push and pull for Bilbo: the sensible Baggins in him vs. the adventurous Took. I liked the Old Took stories. They were a good addition, helped give family background.

DARON:  You know, I was worried that Jackson decided to do three films but now I understand why—he wants to give us all those stories and that detail. Man, I’m a sucker for detail. I LOVE it! Detail NOT at the expense of story, though! AHEM like some other prequels we could name

BETH: I know! I thought that was such a good point in the Scalzi article.

DARON: Yep, anyone reading this should go read the Scalzi review here. NOW.

BETH: And this is the particular bit of that review that we are referring to:

“…[a] fair comparison would be to put The Hobbit up to the first installment over another hotly anticipated first movie in a prequel trilogy, i.e., The Phantom Menace. Compared to that movie, The Hobbit is an absolute joy; it makes sense, it doesn’t crap all over the films which preceded it, storywise, and it doesn’t merely rely on special effects to drag the audience through. Jackson doesn’t reach the heights he hit with Fellowship of the Ring or the other movies in Lord of the Rings, but he doesn’t embarrass himself or have to excuse his choices. And when I left the theater, I was genuinely looking forward to the next installment instead of desperately hoping it would redeem the first movie, which is what I felt with Phantom.” ~John Scalzi

BETH: Anyway, SO pacing…I feel like this one was a little padded. Like some of the stuff that was added in was not as organically incorporated as the additions in LOTR were.

DARON:  Yes, when Radagast just randomly appears it was a little jarring.

BETH: The scene with Galadriel sticks out as one of those moments for me. I was like “Why is this here?” It felt as if the filmmakers said, “oh, we want Cate Blanchett in the movie; where can we stick her”?

DARON:  Well, I will say about Galadriel: I know they probably stuck her in there so we’d get at least ONE female in the movie.

BETH:  That’s what I figured too.

DARON:  But there’s a great story about Galadriel and Gimli’s gift which I love. Hold on let me find it…

BETH:  The thing with Feanor? Teh GR8Test Elf WHO EVAH lived. (Besides Santa Claus…)

DARON:  Hahaha yes!

BETH: I think I pinned it. Oh, this isn’t it but…

DARON:  LOLOLOL. That hair!

BETH: Synchronized flipping. All dwarf princes have to master it.

DARON:  I was a little disappointed by the three baby-faced dwarves to be honest, but Oakenshield grew on me

(Ed. This bit of the conversation below actually happened AT THE EXACT SAME TIME.)

BETH:  WAIT! I found the Feanor thing…


Here it is!


LOLOL. Photofinish!

DARON:  YES, I love this, that Jackson took the time to build this up. You really don’t get a sense of the gravity of the dwarf/elf bad blood in the LOTR movies. It’s just a lot of “oh that Gimli! Look, he fell off a horse again.” The fact that Galadriel gave Gimli her hair is a BIG DEAL, and I think The Hobbit sets that dynamic up a little bit.

BETH:  Yes I’m expecting Thorin’s hateration on elves to pay out in the third one. With the Arkenstone.

DARON:  ooOoOoOoO The arkenstone. Let’s talk about the scene that all the critics are calling “worth sitting through the rest of the movie”…the game of riddles. Damn Gollum is a nasty little SOB.

BETH:  Yes. Oscar gold for that scene alone, man.

DARON:  Oscar gold for Martin Freeman?

BETHBOTH. Andy Serkis deserves a motherfucking Oscar.

DARON:  AMEN. They should really give a “best scene” Oscar.

BETH:  YES. The thing with Serkis is if the Academy can’t bring themselves to award him a normal one for motion capture work, well, there are “Special Oscars” they can give out. I think for all the stuff he’s done to advance motion capture performance he should get one [ /rant ]

DARON:  Preaching to the choir my friend

BETH: What was your favorite part of the riddle scene? Favorite detail?

DARON:  I was mainly struck by how repulsive Gollum was (or I guess “bad” Gollum was), and how difficult Bilbo’s choice to spare him must have been because when he’s pounding away at that goblin’s head with a rock? Ew.

BETH:  That’s interesting because one of MY favorite parts was how sort of grotesquely endearing Gollum was. I was thinking about how excited and happy he is to have company, to be playing games and riddles and then, you know, he gets to eat too. But that’s one of the things I love about the Gollum character: that horrifying mix of sociopath and lonely, wounded old creature. I was watching the scene and actually thinking about that: about how much Gollum seemed to be enjoying the riddles almost as much as the fact he was going to have a tasty hobbit snack later. I think that’s Peter Jackson being a bad ass director. How many other directors would have that kind of nuance? Would see the layers in Gollum?

DARON:  You’re right. Gollum is so interesting… and creepy. Jackson really has dedicated so much time and thought to these characters, it’s such an achievement.


DARON:  What was your LEAST favorite part of this movie?

BETH:  Hmmm. Oh! I know. Bilbo being used as a handkerchief, and the other gross-out touches that were just unnecessary. Like Radagast and the bird poo. (Ed. See picture. Yeah, that’s bird poo IN HIS HAIR. WHY???!!!) Thumbs down. The gross-out stuff pulled me out of the movie. Which I don’t feel like any of the gross stuff in LOTR did. That’s my biggest problem: gross out stuff is fine, but not when it breaks me out of the movie watching zone.hobbit-unexpected-journey-sylvester-mccoy

DARON:  I had a bit of a problem with that too, although it didn’t really derail me. I wondered whether Jackson was reaching for too young an audience in those particular instances, and those moments were out of place enough to make the tone uneven. What really messed with me was the sudden appearance and disappearance of Radagast. We’re following along with Bilbo and then suddenly we’re in a forest with a crazy wizard. There was a disconnect there for me.

BETH:  Yes, very abrupt.

DARON:  Then I’m getting into what Radagast is doing, and it’s so COOL to have another wizard! We only get the two in the books! And poof he’s out of the picture again. Side note – I have NO idea what the necromancer bit is, I don’t remember that at all.

BETH:  The Necromancer was very peripheral in The Hobbit as I recall. It’s also weirding me out why they don’t just use the name “Sauron.” I know Tolkein didn’t use that name in The Hobbit, but jeeze Jackson, you’ve already proven you don’t hold Tolkein as gospel so make the whole necromancer thing less confusing. Please.

DARON:  Yes please. I’m sure we’ll get some questions answered next movie, but that in particular makes me nervous. Last thoughts? Daron needs sleepy sleep!

BETH:  Let’s do Thorin.

DARON:  Hahahaha…

BETH:  Wow. Hello, Freudian slip. I meant, let’s DISCUSS Thorin.

DARON:  HAHAHA. The man has some super nice Dwarven locks

BETH:  Yes, very pretty.

DARON:  Is he Aragorn-lite? Maybe a little.

BETH:  That’s almost EXACTLY how I described him to my mom. Diet Aragorn.

DARON:  Well, he’s a warrior king, and a classic hero so I guess they’re all the same

BETH: That’s what I wanted to talk about with Thorin. Because I feel like Viggo Mortenson…he just IS Aragorn.

DARON:  Yes, he totally inhabits it.

BETH:  And the two of them are kind of on the same point of their kingly trajectories. But I see Richard Armitage working for it more. Viggo just…is. So, I like that we have hunky Thorin, BUT he just can’t stack up to Viggo.

DARON:  There may be a different dynamic there, Aragorn isn’t widely known to be king and doesn’t really want it.

BETH: Good point.

DARON:  We like a reluctant hero

BETH:  But, I mean, Armitage was sort of playing reluctance or doubt, like “Am i doing a good job?”thorin

DARON:  Hmm. I didn’t really look for too much nuance from him, I’ll have to watch him more closely on second viewing.


DARON:  Him and his oakenshield…

BETH: Oh yeah baby. I’ll rub his wood.


BETH: Sorry. Had to go there.

DARON:  Ah! I must add how much I ADORE the closing credits song.

BETH:  Yes! The music OMG! That is the one thing I felt was totally on par with anything from the original trilogy.

DARON:  I’ve been listening to it on repeat. Another great soundtrack. I’ve loved every credits song but this one is just so perfect.

BETH:  I love the guy’s voice.

DARON:  Me too! OK, I have to go, falling asleep…

BETH: Sleep tight! Dream of hobbits! And oakenshields…

DARON:  Mmmm…Thorin…

BETH:  Oakenshield…HehHehHeh…

And that’s our review/long-winded-really-detailed chat…

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in theaters NOW! Buy your ticket today! Do we like exclamation points?! You betcha!

June 15, 2012

Review: Redshirts by John Scalzi

Ok, first of all, if the title of this alone doesn’t have you squeeing with glee then I’m pretty sure you should just hand over your geek credentials right now. Still, I might give you a pass, but if you read the blurb for this book and don’t start jumping up and down in fan-girlish elation then, I’m sorry, you’re not human. You’re certainly not a geek.

To prove my point, here is said blurb:

Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, and Andrew is thrilled all the more to be assigned to the ship’s Xenobiology laboratory.

Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to pick up on the fact that (1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces, (2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations, and (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.

Not surprisingly, a great deal of energy below decks is expended on avoiding, at all costs, being assigned to an Away Mission. Then Andrew stumbles on information that completely transforms his and his colleagues’ understanding of what the starship Intrepid really is…and offers them a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives.

Ok, for those of you don’t know (and really, what are you doing on this website if you don’t even know what a Redshirt is?) Redshirts are the crewmen on Star Trek who beam down to the planet with Kirk and Spock and the other main characters and then the redshirts end up getting eaten by a giant Were-Duck Space monster or melting to ooze because of some random Space Plague. Redshirts are the cannon fodder who die to let the audience know the situation is serious.

Basically, this book is Star Trek told from the Redshirts’ perspective, and they’re not taking it lying down anymore. But that’s oversimplifying. This book is just…dense. Layered. It’s Galaxy Quest with a heart. There’s dry humor and satire and meta-wink-wink-nudge-nudge stuff and really moving love stories and sadness and action and it just FUCKING ROCKS. I’m sorry, I’m not being articulate. I just finished this half and hour ago and I’m riding the high that really good fiction gives to any serious reader. This is absolutely one of the best books I’ve read in years. I read it one sitting; I just finished reading it half an hour ago and I already want to read it again. Here, to help convince you, have a sampling of some of my favorite bits:

“I really want to know what you’re smoking,” Finn said. “Because whatever the hell it is, I’m betting I can make a hell of a profit on it.”


“On a good day I can bang out a first draft of an episode in six hours. Is it good? It ain’t Shakespeare, but then, Shakespeare wrote Titus Andronicus, so you tell me.”


“What we’ve been told…is that as the flagship of the Dub U, the Intrepid takes on a larger share of sensitive diplomatic, military and research missions than any other ship in the fleet. Because of that, there is commensurate increase of risk, and this a statistically larger chance crew lives will be lost. It’s part of the risk of such a high-profile posting.”

“In other words, crew deaths are a feature, not a bug.”


Really, if you have even a little bit of the SF geek in your soul, if you enjoy meta-fiction and ruminations about the nature of story and characters, if you enjoy stories about underdogs and friendship and soldiering on in the face of impossible odds then pick this one up. You won’t regret it.

Buy this book. Now. John Scalzi deserves some of your money for being so fucking brilliant, AND so talented it makes me gnash my teeth in the best kind of writerly envy.

Here are some buy links:


Barnes and Noble

By hook or crook, guile or strength or whatever READ THIS BOOK!

May 15, 2012

Trailer Roundup: Upcoming New Shows

The dust has settled and now that it seems the networks have finalized their 2012-2013 lineups, we’re getting a first glimpse of what’s in store for us genre fans this year. Let’s take a look-see:


Fifteen years after a massive electrical blackout has effectively reeled civilization back to the dark ages, our heroine is living a quiet post-apocalyptic life when BAM! a militia shows up and murders her father – who as it turns out just MIGHT have known something about the blackout. This brutal encounter sets her and two unlikely companions off on a daring coming-of-age journey to find answers about the past in the hopes of reclaiming the future… and so on.

Obviously created to tap in to the popularity of series like The Walking Dead”, the popular hysteria of “Doomsday Preppers” and that “Left Behind” nonsense, NBC execs seem to be banking on the idea that audiences will be fascinated enough by the apocalypse this year (2012 hello) to spend a few of what precious hours they have left on this earth watching this precious television program. After watching this promo it appears to be simply all the action bits from “The Walking Dead”, minus the gore (for the sensitive folks), with a sprinkling of quick-edit kung-fu. Verdict: I like my characters developed, I’ll be sticking with “The Walking Dead”.

The series stars Billy Burke, Tracy Spiridakos, Anna Lise Phillips, Zak Orth, Graham Rogers, J.D. Pardo, Giancarlo Esposito, David Lyons, Maria Howell, Tim Guinee and Andrea Roth.
Premiere Monday, September 10, Airs Mondays at 10P.


Zero Hour
The trailer opens on Hank and Laila – A seemingly happy couple who exchange happy couple banter on a boardwalk in the town they just moved to. As the publisher of a paranormal enthusiast magazine, Modern Skeptic, Hank Galliston has spent his career following clues, debunking myths and solving conspiracies. But when Laila is abducted from her antique clock shop (BTW, this is a job?), Hank gets pulled into one of the most compelling mysteries in human history, stretching around the world and back centuries. Oh, and it involves alien Nazi babies.

I have to admit I was thrown by the intrusive narration and the sheer whininess of Hank’s character even in the few short scenes where he actually has something to say. Verdict: Intrigued, but cautious. Hank seems like a pansy.

The series stars stars Anthony Edwards, Carmen Ejogo, Scott Michael Foster, Addison Timlin, Jacinda Barrett and Michael Nyqvist.

The Neighbors
City-dweller Marty Weaver buys the new home of his dreams out in the ‘burbs, only to discover, to his wife’s horror that the neighbors are aliens masquerading as suburbanites. The plot of “The Neighbors” is nice and simple a la “Coneheads”, “ALF” or “Third Rock from the Sun”, and while the series will likely go exactly where these titles have gone before, there should still be plenty of laughs left to mine.

The series stars Lenny Venito, Simon Templeman, Jami Gertz, Toks Olagundoye, Tim Jo, Isabella Cramp, Clara Mamet, Ian Patrick and Max Charles.


May 13, 2012

…Annnnd We’re Back!

So after an unplanned, too-long hiatus, #nerdgirls is back for your reading pleasure. With a couple of announcements:

1.  Help us welcome our newest Nerdgirl – Beth Matthews! Beth is the extremely talented fantasy/romance author of the books The Beauty’s Beast, Heir to the Underworld, the upcoming Beauty and the Bouncer — and she’s a Grade-A nerd. She also knows more than Lucas himself about Star Wars, feel free to talk shop with her. Check out her writer-ly blog at: We’re thrilled to have her join the #nerdgirls crew!

2.  And now I’d like to formally invite you to join us for the Summer of Nerdery! All summer long we’ll be updating you on news, games, shows, movies and events relevant to your interests. Excitement!

First stop in the Summer of Nerdery: The Avengers. The universe has spun into a perfect singularity of Marvel, Joss Whedon and Chris Hemsworth’s biceps and by now as a proper nerd you should have seen it at least twice. Beth Matthews gives us her review:


(How cool is it that Agent Coolson gets his own poster? I mean, seriously awesome, right?!)

So, I’ve been looking forward to this pretty much since the first Iron Man movie came out and they had Nick Fury as the tag after the end credits. I’m a huge geek and I love, LOVE the shared universe that Marvel has created with their various superheroes in their movies. Now, some of the standalone films haven’t necessarily knocked it out of the park (Captain America, the Hulk films), but then some of them kicked serious ass (Iron Man, Thor).

And, I must say, that The Avengers definitely did the latter. Avengers kicked ass, took names and…did something else really awesome…(that is weird description, isn’t it? Why would you write down someone’s name after you kicked their ass? Because you wanted to make sure you checked them off the Ass-Kicking List? Because you want to schedule a follow-up appointment to kick their ass again?) ANYWAY…

And you know why this movie managed to kick ass where other movies in the franchise have done less so?

Because this movie was about the characters!!!

Yes, they were running around doing amazing action stuff and saving the world and all that. But Whedon is a pro, and he knew that if we didn’t care about the people then all the special effects in the world wouldn’t save his movie. (This is where Captain America fell down for me. If they had used sock puppets in the middle of all that action stuff I might have cared more than I did. No characters, no emotion in that freaking movie anywhere).

read more »

December 26, 2011

CC2KOnline: A World of Adventure Lies with Tintin and the Secret of the Unicorn

TLDR: If you’re looking for a family film this week (and you didn’t catch it over the holiday weekend), Tintin is a good bet. Verrry close to being Indiana Jones, Junior. My fourth review for CC2KOnline (another great nerd culture site – check it out!). –Daron

2011 can boast another brilliant children’s movie. The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn is a delight, a roaring adventure full of the excitement of exotic travel, sea faring and sword play. That said the film certainly has the deck stacked in its favor. Hergé’s Adventures of Tintin is beloved the world over, not to mention the pedigrees of the movie’s director Steven Spielberg and it’s producer Peter Jackson. Tintin also has some solid talent in its writers Steven Moffat (Doctor Who, Sherlock), Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Spaced, director of Scott Pilgrim) and Joe Cornish (Attack the Block). It may be a surprising list of writers credits for a Spielberg animated family film such as this one (without zombies, aliens or alien time-travellers), but Moffat, Wright and Cornish have crafted a lightening-paced story true to its roots in action and adventure comics, realized expertly by Spielberg and Jackson.

Tintin’s adventure begins somewhat unassumingly when he gets a good deal on a model ship in an open air market. It’s a replica of the great sailing ship the Unicorn, and immediately we discover that it’s more than it seems. Two men approach Tintin (Jamie Bell), including the sinister Ivan Sakharine (Daniel Craig), trying to persuade him to sell but Tintin wont have it. During a fight between Tintin’s (smarter than your average) dog Snowy and a neighbor’s cat, the ship’s mast is broken and a small roll of parchment slips out. This is what Sakharine has been looking for. We follow intrepid, and seemingly extremely well paid young journalist, Tintin as he teases out the clues surrounding that parchment, meeting a motley cast of characters along the way. Including down on his luck Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis) and one unfortunate man whose only raison d’être is to warn Tintin that he is, in fact, in danger in every scene he pops up in. Other than this one strange character, the supporting crew is surprisingly entertaining and well drawn. Scenes with the two bumbling policemen, Thompson and Thompson (Simon Pegg and Nick Frost), feature downright inspired physical comedy never mind that we’re watching pixels and not people.

That is to say, the use of 3-D in Tintin is the best I’ve seen yet. The 3-D is so successful in part because it is understated. So many movies use 3-D as a gimmick, something akin to smell-o-vision in the way it’s used to draw moviegoers in like a carnival barker. In Tintin, 3-D is used simply to give the animated characters another layer of depth, making Tintin’s world that much more vibrant. Spielberg gleefully plays with the medium, creating expansive action set pieces that only occasionally descend into the ridiculous. One exceedingly long action sequence sends Tintin, Snowy and Haddock racing down a mountain on a motorbike in an exotic locale, staying one step ahead of a racing flood from a broken dam. It’s a spectacular scene, but one that sags from being a little bit overlong. On the other hand, the retelling of Captain Haddock’s seafaring ancestor’s final bloody battle is completely riveting and is full of the wonder and joy of imaginary play, and I found myself wanting to see more.

The Adventures of Tintin is really a work of love on the part of its director Steven Spielberg and producer Peter Jackson. And it is chock full of the old simpler-times goodness about which certain adults love to reminisce (He does research at the library! He’s into model shipbuilding!). And it is wonderful to see a male role-model who not only does his homework, but who can handle himself in a fistfight. In that way the character of Tintin has a wonderful boy scout charm. No doubt he knows how to tie a mean half-hitch.

I have to admit that I’m unfamiliar with Hergé’s original Tintin. Beyond having to translate a few panels in high school French class I haven’t had much more exposure than that. Which will, I believe, put me firmly in the majority of American audience members for this film. But even though I watched Tintin as a ‘newbie’, the character, the story, and the action is exceedingly familiar: The Adventures of Tintin is exactly what a young Indiana Jones adventure should be. Secrets discovered, goofy and elaborate action set pieces, characters standing appropriately in awe of history and legend, explosive punches; these are all par for the course in both franchises. Although it would be difficult to see Henry Jones Jr. as played by River Phoenix in Last Crusade musing aloud to his plucky dog companion. The line separating the two seems to be drawn at the normative intelligence of animals (or maybe, in Tintin’s case, the ability of an alcoholic’s burp to power an engine). Spielberg himself reportedly said that he saw Tintin as an Indiana Jones for kids. If that is true, then Spielberg has very much succeeded to that end and adults who harbour nostalgia for all things Indiana Jones will be satisfied enough that this is the prequel we wish we had when we were younger. While today’s younger crowd will be thrilled by the epic swordfighting and Snowy’s adorable yips and grumbles. With such quality children’s entertainment like The Muppets, Hugo and now The Adventures of Tintin, how can any parent subject their child to another Chipmunks movie?

November 12, 2011

CC2KOnline: The Gods Find Fun With Immortals

Check it out! My first review for CC2K Online is posted.

[Via CC2K Online.]

There were two things I was excited about going into this movie, the cast (including Superman-to-be Henry Cavill, John Hurt and Mickey Rourke) and director Tarsem Singh, whose The Fall was I thought the most sadly overlooked movie of the late ‘00s. Tarsem, who has a spectacular and singular visual sense, has a knack for creating the most nightmarish and beautiful, surreal visions (see his previous: The Cell and The Fall, respectively). While The Fall was shot completely without CGI (I challenge you to watch that movie and not say disbelieving, “no, really?”), the vast canvas that computer generated imagery can provide seems a better fit for the scale of Tarsem’s vision. In Immortals he brings us both nightmare and dream; a grand imagining of the battlefield of ancient Grecian gods and heroes.

Immortals loosely follows the classic tale of Theseus, who we know as the founder of Athens and slayer of the minotaur. The gravelly voice of John Hurt lays out the story so far: The titans, portrayed in this movie as creepy, quick-moving beast-people, were imprisoned in a golden cage in the heart of Mount Tartarus waiting to be released by an arrow from the Epirus Bow so they can do some damage to the Gods who put them there. Evil King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke), driven by an unslakable thirst for bloody revenge, is searching for the Bow although it seems just an excuse for him to gleefully torture and murder anyone unlucky enough to cross his path. The Bow’s location can only be discovered by the beautiful seer Phaedra (Freida Pinto), who recognizes in Theseus (Henry Cavill) the favor of the Gods and the hero of Athens. Bound by an ancient and ridiculous law, the Gods cannot intervene in human affairs as long as the titans remain imprisoned. It is up to Theseus, Phaedra and their companion-by-chance Stavros (Stephen Dorff) to find the Bow, protect their people and save the Gods.

read more »