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Pretty Crappy37.5%
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1 review, 34 user ratings

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Immortal (Ad Vitam)
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by David Cornelius

"Wake me when it starts making sense."
2 stars

It doesn’t take long for viewers to realize that “Immortal (Ad Vitam)” is nothing but empty ideas. There are premises, notions, concepts, all of them interesting on their own, at face value. And yet there’s absolutely nothing here to hold any of it together.

The film is based on a popular comic series from French artist Enki Bilal, who also takes on scripting and directing duties here. Bilal has made two films previously - “Tykho Moon” and “Bunker Palace Hotel,” neither of which I have seen - and so, you would assume, would have the basic understanding of how to actually make a movie. Turns out, not so much. “Immortal” is as incoherent a story as you’ll ever find. But it sure is pretty.

The plot, from what I could gather, involves New York in the year 2095. It’s a dystopia that makes the L.A. of “Blade Runner” look like Mayberry: a ruthless eugenics corporation (cleverly called “Eugenics”) rules the world, people are upgraded with synthetic parts, those who aren’t are lowered in class status, and, worst of all, a big-ass pyramid has appeared floating high above the city. The hell?

Turns out that inside the pyramid are a few gods, and the dude-with-bird-head Horus (a CGI being voiced by Thomas M. Pollard) has been sentenced to give up his immortality and, in seven days, die. (No explanation on why.) He’s allowed to go hang out in the city for a week, and so he thaws out the cryogenically frozen Nikopol (Thomas Kretschmann), who was sentenced to the icebox prison decades earlier for his political activism.

Meanwhile, there’s Jill (Linda Hardy), an amnesiac with white skin and blue hair who’s looking quite old for someone only three months old - which nabs the interest of geneticist Elma Turner (the what-is-she-doing-here? Charlotte Rampling), who hopes to unravel Jill’s mysterious past. Oh, and let’s not forget the string of serial killings, and the slimy bureaucrats who keep popping up, and…

Ya know, I give up. Bilal makes little effort to fully develop any single idea, nor does he really bother to cohesively tie any of these points together. When he does break down and give it a try, it comes out a royal mess - the entire middle act takes place in a gunky motel room, where Nikopol, possessed by Horus, keeps trying to have sex with Jill. And when he’s not trying to have sex with Jill, he’s having sex with Jill. And when neither of those things are happening, the three sit around, talking.

Which would be fine, I suppose, if: a) they were talking about anything that made sense, or, at least, was interesting; b) they used this time to further the plot beyond the overly simplistic “Horus must impregnate Jill,” a notion that takes ten times as long to unfold as it should; c) it did not abruptly end with a weak flying-taxi chase stolen right out of “The Fifth Element,” one of seventy better movies from which Bilal openly steals.

That’s a major problem here - while Bilal shows a great eye for nifty visuals, he also shows a complete lack of originality. Everything we see comes on loan from other sources, and the only fresh stuff he adds in on his own is stuff that just doesn’t hold up.

Major problem number two: it’s in English. Which might be OK, assuming that Rampling wasn’t the only cast member who spoke English. It turns out Bilal’s investors insisted on changing the story from Paris to New York, and from French to English, to help international sales. Yet Bilal also insisted on casting European actors who can’t handle the foreign language. (Hardy’s voice has been dubbed over by Barbara Weber-Scaff, although it’s just as dry and dull as Hardy’s stiff body language.) This is horrible acting here, people muddling through monotonous readings of badly written dialogue. For her part, Rampling’s good, though.

The biggest of all major problems: Bilal insists on making Rampling, Hardy, and Kretschmann the only actors in his film. The movie was filmed on a “digital backlot,” along the likes of “Sky Captain” and “Sin City,” allowing Bilal to create a wide CGI landscape. But backgrounds and effects were not enough, and so all other characters are also computer generated, looking like rejects from the “Final Fantasy” movie. Why Bilal chose this, considering that many of the characters are humans not needing the visual enhancement such computer work provides, is a mystery. The result, however, is not: a ridiculous visual mix of real and unreal that not once convinces the viewer. It’s like watching a third-rate Playstation game into which a few actual actors happened to wander by accident. The CGI should have opened up the movie’s world to greater heights; instead, it serves only as a distraction.

And with a script this sloppy and uninteresting, distractions are not what we need. I give “Immortal” extra credit for looking so good in random spots, and for having a few scenes near the beginning that show some solid promise. But that’s all it gets from me, other than disdain. “Immortal” is a movie that might have become a cult favorite, had anyone bothered to make it interesting. As it stands, it’s nothing more than a collection of imagery both compelling and laughable, with nothing around to hold them together.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=12483&reviewer=392
originally posted: 06/19/05 01:41:03
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User Comments

6/18/12 observer original but poorly executed, how do these people get funding then make a hash of it 2 stars
12/27/11 Kerry I couldn't make it past the 1st 20mins... Stupid CGI. 1 stars
11/30/09 tonay kinda sexy, very confusing. i imagine reading the series first would have helped 3 stars
11/14/09 Samual Spage I watched about 15 minutes andI was not empresed 2 stars
10/12/09 TD Miller Lots of potential, but had poor writing. Very interesting visuals though. 2 stars
10/11/09 Johny Basic idea was good. But the movie looked like an intro to videogame by Westwood Studios. 2 stars
4/23/09 Kermonk He invented ideas, others who came after him we 'inspired' 4 stars
4/23/09 PJ Heh, so because you didn't understand it - it must be crap? 4 stars
12/31/08 mr.mike Anyone else remember "Zardoz"? 3 stars
10/05/08 Max A thin, sloppy collage of bad ideas 1 stars
9/27/08 Dondura Miller very confusing, was the baby the blue bird? 4 stars
6/14/08 Erikite the Golden Nanite Swallower A very much of a film you haven't gustated yet in your solar rotations, even moreso. 4 stars
6/14/08 Brian Fun to watch, though the plot and dialouge were rather weak 3 stars
11/16/07 Jay WoW !! This David Guy really is a moron How About Paying attn. to the movies you watch, 4 stars
6/16/07 Carrie Lovely. And not at all hard to follow. 4 stars
11/09/06 Jason Awesome grpahics and there was a plot! 5 stars
9/29/06 wade this was very good, just sit back and enjoy and it will simply come together 5 stars
5/22/06 VulcanRaven Poetic 5 stars
5/10/06 ray it makes no sense, plot sucks, ehough said. 1 stars
5/04/06 Missi-Rose Its a movie thats so bizarre & tacky its mutated into a brilliant visual experience. 5 stars
4/17/06 Noah Why the heck did I watch it? 1 stars
3/07/06 Sombat Failure of a movie as it relies too much on knowing the graphic novels.Pretty though. 2 stars
1/24/06 Steve R. vusiuals was nice just wish they had a better story 2 stars
11/29/05 John Thomaidis a flilm with deep meaning..totally different from the craps we are used to 5 stars
9/19/05 frank pretentious and yet simplistic. script is terrible and the storyline is all over the place. 2 stars
8/31/05 Kherry McKay More here than meets the eye. Characters resonate. Plot is mythological, non-left-brain. 5 stars
8/28/05 gertinator remeber it's originally a comic and then it's beautiful... knowing egyptian mythology helps 4 stars
8/19/05 Susan Pinkney great flick what a discovery 4 stars
8/18/05 John Tzanellis You need to understand it first in order to review it. Movies is not about hollywood only. 5 stars
8/14/05 Nasim Ahmad watched it late at night when I couldn't sleep. Different and interesting, worth a watch 4 stars
8/12/05 Indrid Cold The frequently interesting visuals elevated it slightly above unwatchable. 2 stars
7/30/05 jesse some nice images, terrible plot 1 stars
7/25/05 Eric Chapa Preposterous. Two hours of my life I will never get back. 2 stars
7/08/05 naoe yamane it's a great movie. It's complex and takes a while to understand what's going on. 5 stars
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  21-Jun-2005 (R)
  DVD: 21-Jun-2005



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