Tarsem Singh’s film Immortals out next week depicts the mythological Titans threatening to return and take control back from the Olympian Gods – which will also be the plot of the Clash of the Titans sequel in March (Wrath of the Titans). You’d think the Clash people, who knew the Tarsem film was coming before they finalized plans for their sequel, would want to avoid looking redundant.
Well, the world lived with both Dangerous Liaisons and Valmont, I suppose.
I don’t know to what extent, if any, Tarsem’s Immortals will read as a conscious stylistic “response” to 300 (it’s the same producers, so I wouldn't expect it to openly mock 300), but Tarsem would be an interesting man to do such a retort. He grew up in a Muslim family that fled Iran after its Islamic Revolution to live in Bollywood-loving India. He must have mixed feelings about 300’s cool-looking and colorful but almost neocon depiction of the Muslim horde [CORRECTION: Persian horde metaphorically tied to the Muslim threat in Miller's symbology] as irrational, anti-freedom, and literally inhuman (300 creator Frank Miller’s recent graphic novel Holy Terror is explicitly and directly about al Qaeda, by the way).
Tarsem also directed the beautiful The Fall and the underrated The Cell, the latter with J. Lo inside the surreal mind of a serial killer, which was sort of like if Baz Luhrmann directed an X-Files episode. And, of course, he gave us the video for “Losing My Religion” by the late, lamented R.E.M.
And his romanticized look at mythic ancients arrives the same month as the 200th anniversary of the actual historical Luddites, by the way. I for one will not give up on the future – and I’ve heard the film has some almost steampunk-like anachronistic tech elements itself (as did the fun, mannered, and freaky Steampunk Haunted House I went to on the Lower East Side last night).
P.S. For combining the forward-looking and the retrograde, it’s hard to beat the Renaissance, so more about that in a few weeks, in the form of Jacob Burckhardt’s The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy.