Immortals 3D Blu-ray Review
The disc presents a theatrically correct widescreen 1.85:1 1080p 3D transfer and is Region Free.
Yet another convert that suffers from every problem associated with the conversion process, meaning that the image has little dimensionality and, in the worst case, looks quite dull. As with all converts the most significant problem is the lack of solidity to objects and people, this is especially true of faces, an image that is so ingrained into our psyche that we immediately spot when something is wrong – and in the case of the faces in Immortals the conversion process tries to give some volume, i.e. the nose protrudes from the face, but it looks false and thus any illusion is lost. Separation between characters is visible, in that two shots have limited distance between them and this can be augmented by framing the sets to help with distance, but again it isn’t very much. The 3D is at its best with the many CG animated landscape shots, looking over the cliffs with the sea sweeping into the distance, overlooking the great wall to the massive army beyond or atop Mount Olympus looking down on the world, but these become ‘3D’ moments and to an extent bring you out of the picture instead of immersing you in the film. There is precious real depth into the frame and very limited negative parallax, i.e. there is very little coming out of the screen at you. For the most part the framing isn’t conducive to excel at 3D imaging and the conversion process does nothing to push the 3D budget to anything like what native filming can achieve. Indeed, as I will describe below, much of the 2D image's vibrancy is lost due to the necessary brightness required for the 3D to work. It is not a total loss, when the image is bright and framed well there is a little dimensionality, but the film, to me, doesn’t benefit from being in the third dimension, thus the converted picture fails to significantly improve upon what the 2D image delivers.
The rest of the picture is extremely good, but the conversion process has had an impact compared to what would be a reference score for the 2D image. Colours are bold and vivid, the whole picture has been digitally graded to heighten the warmer hues, therefore it is very ‘golden’ and this shows up very well – but here’s the rub it doesn't quite have that sheen and definition that the 2D version has meaning that it is slightly duller in comparison.
Detail, on the other hand, is just as sharp, with every pore, hair, clothing weave, sand grain and leather crease being clear and precise. Edges are held well into the distance with the many CG backdrops looking quite astonishing in their clarity. Swords and spears look sharp while furs and feathers are definitely by soft.
Brightness and contrast are heightened to bring out the 3D, this means that blacks do, at times, tend towards a dark grey, this is especially true in the crypt where shadow detail is completely lost in a thick grey murky mess, compounded by the 3D glasses that hides everything. Brighter scenes fair much better and there is never any hint of clipping. The 2D disc fairs far better in this regard with subliminal blacks and shadow detail.
Digitally there were no compression problems, neither was there any edge enhancement or banding/posterization issues. Using passive technology I saw no cross talk and only had the faintest aliasing to content with. On the whole the 3D picture is rather a disappointment, lacking in depth and reducing the quality of an otherwise reference 2D picture and coming off the back of Hugo it just looks bad; I’m going with a 6.
Just the one track to choose from: English dts-HD Master Audio 5.1. Subtly is certainly not a word to describe this track. Bassy. That’s the word to describe this track. Actually, very bassy or ‘wow bass’ might be better. Trouble is the bass isn’t all that well refined, oh its bombastic and powerful, indeed there were many times when it literally vibrated the furniture, but much like Poseidon’s tidal wave (which was an astonishing amount of bass in a truly excessive effect) it prefers to flood the room rather than be controlled in the mix. And because there is so much attention given to the bass, LF effects come thick and fast, in every battle, or at any excuse, the mix does become a little bottom heavy, meaning voices and, at times, the score, get drowned out by that ‘finishing blow’. Bass hounds will have a whale of a time with it; however with a little bit more refinement or control, the bass could have been something really special rather than the solid wall it plays out. Other then that the mix is very good, with plenty of separation and stereo effects coming thick and fast. The surrounds pipe up to provide plenty of ambient effects from the usual wind/rain/crowd and battle effects which help to place you in the centre of the action. Dialogue is clear and precise, excepting when the sub drowns it out, though this is rare, sounds very natural and given a little directionality when needed. The score makes use of all the speakers and adds to the overall surround experience. There is much to praise in the mix and it does extremely well but, like the old dts tracks on DVD’s, it seems as if the bass has been bumped up to artificially improve the sound and in lossless audio that comes through a little too ‘thick’ for my liking. A good solid 8 though.
- It’s no myth (05.29, HD) – A brief overview of the Greek myths and the various interpretations that have been made from them. The latter half concerns itself with the cast and crew (rather too vehemently) defending their version with regard to younger casting and abandonment of the actual stories for their own ideas.
- Carravaggio Meets Fight Club (20.29, HD) – A brief making of documentary that is split into four parts titled Tarsem's Vision, Visual Effects, Stunts and Creating the Score. Covers the basics of a making of documentary with plenty of cast and crew interviews and behind the scenes filming with the usual back slapping and fawning over the casting and director. It’s light and fluffy and way too short to go into any significant detail.
- Deleted Scenes (07.21, HD) – Eight scenes removed from the final edit, most are only a few seconds and add very little hence their exclusion; can be played individually or all together – titles are: Lysander defects to the Heraklions, Hellenics arrive at Mount Tartarus, Zeus confronts Poseidon, The Minotaur tracks our hero, The young Gods discuss the Epirus Bow, Mondragon and Beastmaster report to Hyperion, Helios reports to Cassander and Hyperion curses the Gods.
- Alternative Opening Scene: Young Theseus (11.33, HD) – Slightly differing opening which would have explained Theseus’ background a little better.
- Alternative Endings: This is our last embrace (08.37, HD) – slightly protracted ending which sees Theseus die in the arms of Phaedra.
- Alternative Endings: Theseus Kills Hyperion (04.05, HD) – Not that he doesn’t in the theatrical version, but here it’s a different way, he still dies in the arms of Phaedra.
Theatrical Trailer (02.25, HD) – Looks great doesn't it.
Immortals Gods and Heroes Comic Book (05.15, HD) – Comic book spin off of the film, plays as a slide show, but will need pausing between pages as it's very quick, you’ll also need a big screen as the writing is a tad small.
DVD & Digital Copy
Tarsem Singh’s The Fall is a glorious film; multilayered, character driven and, in essence, a fantastical story exceptionally well told. Immortals, his latest follow up, is everything opposite – one dimensional, action driven with a dull story badly told. For a film about Greek Myths, there is precious little ‘myth’ about it and despite references to mythical names and places, the story they are embroiled in is nothing but generic action motivated by revenge. To stand out from the crowd in the ‘sword and sandal’ genre, Immortals needed to have something special – well it certainly stands out, but for all the wrong reasons; fundamentally it is a poor film with little to no emotional hook, and whilst the action, at first, has a terrific style, it soon becomes overblown and monotonous. A hugely disappointing film from a visionary director who should be at the top of his game.
As a Region free 3D Blu-ray set Universal has produced a reasonable package; the converted 3D picture suffers accordingly with regard to dimensionality, but also suffers from being somewhat muted in both colour and black level making a poor conversion worse, and while the sound is certainly loud and bassy there is little finesse making it very bottom heavy. However, the 2D Blu-ray, also included, has a far better picture, though the same sound track; while the extras package, though somewhat lacking covers all the bases, is available on both Blu-rays (though obviously all in 2D). If nothing else the set is at least future proof.
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