OK, here’s the bad news: I watched “Immortals” (2011, running time 110 minutes). The good news? I was only half watching it, so that’s only 55 minutes of my life that I will never, ever get back, right?
I mean, I watched the trailers, and they looked cheesy, all right. But they in no way prepared me for the sheer depth of cheese. In an interview with British film rag Empire, director Tarsem Singh described the look he was going for thusly:
“It’s a really hardcore action film done in Renaissance painting style. I want to see how that goes; it’s turned into something really cool … I’m going for a very contemporary look so I’m kind of going with, you know, Renaissance time with electricity.”
I can somewhat see the Renaissance style in the backgrounds, but in what paintings does the sort of idealized version of the complete Renaissance man wear golden underpants? I mean, where are the tassels? “Immortals” just — well, it mystifies me. I mean, what happened, Tarsem? “The Fall” was awesome! What’s even more mystifying is Eiko Ishioka’s work as costume designer for the film. How exactly does someone like Ishioka, who has been praised as “Japan’s leading art director and graphic designer,” come up with something like Mickey Rourke’s costume? He looks like a goddamned Pokemon or, worse, this squid herder (man, I hate fucking squid herders).
Make no mistake. I will not place blame for this $75 million piece of shit on Ishioka; no, that distinction is Singh’s alone. I imagine the conversation in which he commanded her, “I want you to make Mickey Rourke look like a goddamned Pokemon, even if it fucking kills you!”
“I want you to make Mickey Rourke look like a goddamned Pokemon, even if it fucking kills you!”
And, sadly, it did kill her! The movie released Nov. 11, 2011, and Eiko Ishioka — Academy Award and Cannes Film Festival Award winner and Art Directors Club Hall of Fame member — died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 73 on Jan. 21, 2012. This wouldn’t have been the first time that working on a complete piece of shit movie killed an otherwise outstanding artist. Look at Raul Julia. His work on “Street Fighter” combined with receiving lower billing than Jean-Claude Van Damme for same killed him in 1994. Then there’s Stanley Kubrick. Directing “Eyes Wide Shut” and working with Tom Cruise (Nicole’s all right, though) killed him dead, and that film was his baby. At some unknown point, American entertainment rag Radar Online quoted R. Lee Ermey as saying:
“Stanley called me about two weeks before he died. We had a long conversation about ‘Eyes Wide Shut.’ He told me it was a piece of shit and that he was disgusted with it and that the critics were going to have him for lunch [especially that fat fuck Pete Hammond]. He said Cruise and Kidman had their way with him — exactly the words he used.”
Ermey’s statement would later be refuted by Kubrick’s friend and fellow filmmaker, Todd Field. But, let’s be honest here. If it comes down to it, who are you going to believe, Gunnery Sergeant Hartman? Or this guy?
Let me close this rant on a positive note.
Dear Tarsem Singh,
Titans are supposed to be large and strong, not small and cagey and — scampery. Hence, words like “titanic.” Just thought I’d throw that out there.