Immortals vs. 300

Immortals seems a bit like the weedy little brother of Zack Snyder’s popular swords and sandals (and abs) epic. The biggest statement the trailer made was “From the producers of 300.” Almost as if those same producers felt they’d screwed the pooch on this one and needed to cash in on the good name of their previous effort. Did you see Immortals? Do you even know anyone who did? No, me neither. So I decided to check it out.

And you know what? It’s really not that bad. In fact, it does a lot of things better than 300. For example, Immortals has Zeus. It also has Athena, Ares, Poseidon and Apollo. A whole bunch of bonafide Greek gods. And what does 300 have? One freakishly tall black dude with way too many facial piercings and a god complex. Not even close. I don’t want to give too much away here, but the gods in Immortals fight too, unlike Xerxes who just swans around on the ancient equivalent of those mobile stairs they have at airports.

But wait, you say, 300 has a small force of three hundred heroic Spartan warriors who make a stand against the seemingly infinite Persian army. And in a really small space to ensure maximum carnage. And yes, that’s true, but Immortals has pretty much the same setup, only the massive army in this case also has Mickey Rourke. And Mickey Rourke has a magic bow.

Hold on though, 300 has Gerard Butler. And he shouts a lot, in a thinly disguised Scottish accent. He’s all like; “This. Is. SPARTA!” Yeah, ok fine, a Scottish accent hasn’t sounded that commanding since Mel Gibson in Braveheart, and he’s not even Scottish. But Immortals has Superman, and he also makes a lot of loud speeches to get the troops going. Ok, so his angry monologue before the big ruckus at the end is about as inspiring as Stephen Dorff’s name on the cover of the DVD, but he tries. You have to remember he wasn’t Superman yet, no, when this film was made he was just some English guy from some English period drama (funny how most of Hollywood’s great leading men start out that way these days…)

What else was great about 300? There was a prophecy right? Yeah, that’s right, those old crusty guys with the herpes all over their faces, they told King Leonidas the future. Well, Immortals has a prophet as well, and I’m willing to bet you’d much rather get naked with this one. Because it’s Freida Pinto. And she doesn’t have any form of facial herpes. She just has a bunch of other sexy ladies who follow her around. And she gets her robe off. Ok, it’s not full-frontal, but there’s some definite side-boob.

Didn’t 300 also have that ugly hunchback traitor dude? The guy who fucks over Leonidas and tells Xerxes about the secret mountain path? If I’m honest, I didn’t really enjoy that guy. But if you liked him, there’s no cause for alarm there either because Immortals also has a traitor, by the name of Lysander. He’s not deformed though, so maybe that’s disappointing. Oh wait, but Mickey Rourke (did I mention Immortals has Mickey Rourke?) fucks his face up so he has to wear a mask. So he kind of gets deformed. Damn, is there anything 300 has that Immortals doesn’t?

Let’s see now, 300 has a wall of dead bodies, a whole bunch of arrows, tons of slow motion death, some old men who don’t like war and a lot of ugly looking soldiers with missing teeth and shit. Ok… Immortals has a wall of water big enough to wash away Xerxes’ entire army, it has divine arrows that magically appear when you draw the bowstring, it has slow motion death committed by angry gods, it has this one old guy who really hates war, and it has the titans, who are pretty ugly but probably have all of their teeth. It’s almost like they tried to make the exact same movie, but only with everything ever-so-slightly bigger and better. Oh shit, I almost forgot, 300 has that narrator guy, yeah, that guy from Van Helsing with the funny voice… I bet Immortals can’t top that. Oh wait, no, I was wrong. Immortals has a narrator guy too. And it’s John Hurt. And he puts on a funny voice which is even funnier than the other guy’s funny voice because he’s pretty old.

How did this not work?!

There’s only one reason I can think of: NOT ENOUGH ABS.

What does everyone remember about 300? That one detail that springs into your memory as soon as anyone mentions that numerical title? Abdominal muscles. No other film in history has that many abs. 300 has more abs than all of the gay porn ever made. And the straight porn for that matter. It has more abs on display than all the windows of every GNC in the world combined. The film is famous for its abs. There’s even a workout called ‘The 300 Workout’ which is supposed to result in you having the exact same abs as Gerard Butler. Then all you need is the beard and the Scottish accent and maybe your ex will love you again. Sorry, that was mean.

In these ridiculous times we inhabit, everyone knows there’s one simple formula that always holds true:

Abs = Success

There is no other possible explanation for the career of Taylor Lautner. Or Paul Walker. Just admit it, you may have loved the gloriously choreographed battle scenes, the multitudes of creepy Persian soldiers and the invincible morale of the Spartans, but what you really loved about 300 was the abs. And it’s a bit weird really, you hate Matthew McConaughey because your girlfriend says she likes his abs. But the abs in 300 are somehow different, because they’re attached to real men, men who are killing each other brutally with no regard whatsoever for their own safety. These men aren’t the kind of men who might use their rippling abs to seduce your girlfriend. Or your mum. No. These are the kind of men who you could see yourself joining. These are men you could fight alongside, as you conquer the countries of other men with inferior abs. And take their women. Not by seduction. By like, slavery and stuff, even though that’s not really cool anymore, but it was back then. It was totally allowed. I mean, look at Xerxes, he’s surrounded by women all the time. When he’s not being carried around by about two hundred near-naked men… Anyway, my point is Spartan abs are acceptable. Because they’re functional abs used only for the purpose of war. Or at least that’s what you keep telling yourself.

And that is why Immortals failed to capitalise on the resounding success of 300. It’s not because it’s not a good film (although it’s not amazing). It’s because it doesn’t have enough abs. Admittedly, it does have Henry Cavill future-Superman-abs, which definitely rival Gerard Butler abs in my opinion. But the only other abs really on display are Stephen Dorff abs. No disrespect to Dorff, he obviously worked hard for this film, on his abs at least. It’s just that they look kind of weird and unnatural when juxtaposed against the rest of his pre-pubescent body… and they definitely don’t hold a candle to Michael Fassbender abs. “But the gods are all topless” you say, “if anyone should have great abs, it should be a bunch of Greek gods right?” Yeah, not so much. They’re a bit disappointing really. Especially the abs of Zeus, kind of underwhelming. And Mickey Rourke? He’s that guy who misunderstood and brought a keg to the party when they asked for a six pack.

So in the battle of 300 vs. Immortals, it seems that Immortals just isn’t homoerotic enough for the movie-going public. Of course, if you’re a discerning viewer (I’m really not, but good for you if you are) you might well prefer Immortals based on things like acting, and occasional stuff happening that involves more dialogue than spears. So I guess what I’m saying is if you liked 300 for any reason other than the large servings of abs, you’ll probably enjoy Immortals just as much.

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