Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Thomas Kretschmann, Frédéric Pierrot, Thomas M. Pollard, Charlotte Rampling, Yann Collette
Director: Enki Bilal
Genres: Indie & Art House, Science Fiction & Fantasy
New York City, year 2095. A floating pyramid has emerged in the skies above Manhattan, inhabited by ancient Egyptian Gods. They have cast judgement down upon Horus (a falcon headed god), one of their own. With only seven d... more »
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(3.5 STARS) French Sci-Fi Film from a Visual Genius
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 06/22/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Let me tell you about the director first. Enki Bilal, born in Yugoslavia, moved to France when he was 10, and has become one of the most influential comic book artist in France since around 1980. His works include 'Nikopol Trilogy,' and this French film 'Immortal' (his third entry as film director) is based on the first two books of the series.
I said this because the merit of 'Immortal' lies all in its visual imaginations. The film's story with many characters is very confusing, revealing its origin. The film is visually interesting for it was shot against the background of green-colored screen, on which the buildings or the landscapes of the city is digitally painted. The method is similar to that of 'Sky Captain', but the effects are quite different as I explain later.
[THE STORY] is complicated, and the film refuses to explain some part of it. 'Immortal' is set in the year of 2095, NEw York City, where cars are flying between the skyscrapers, but one strange thing is floating on the air -- that's a pyramid, out of which a naked man with a bird's head emerges. His name is Horus, a convicted deity who is given seven days to do something on Earth, borrowing the body of a convicted human Nikopol.
The nature of the crime of Nikopol (played by Thomas Kretschmann, 'The Pianist') is only vaguely suggested, but anyway Horus possesses his body, and controls him as he wishes. Then, his purpose will be clear when Nikopol/Horus approaches to a mysterious woman Jill (former Miss France Linda Hardy), whose skin is all white and whose blood is blue.
Kretschmann, Hardy, and Charlotte Rampling (as Jill's doctor) appear as live-action actors while most of the other characters are created with CGIs by a French studio. The CGI-created characters look like those you have seen in the film version of 'Final Fantasy' and in this sense 'Immortal' is more ambitious than 'Sky Captain.' Interesting thing is one of the CGI characters (Rampling's estranged husband) is played by uncredited Jean-Louis Trintignant (voice only) who had appeared Enki Bilal's first film 'Bunker Palace Hôtel.'
[VISUALS] I like the visual imagination of 'Immortal,' but many fans would point out, quite rightly, that the future world of 'Immortal,' impressive as it is on its own way, are not as original as it looks. You remember classic 'Blade Runner' 'The Fifth Element' and one Japanese genius Otomo. To be fair, as I wrote before, Enki Bilal's original comics predate them (the first Nikopol comic was published in 1980), but still complaints are understandable.
But if the film is flawed (and I think it is), that is because of the visual itself, I mean, the CGI parts. To be honest, the CGI-drawn characters (of a greedy senator, a detective, a big company executive, etc.) are all poorly done, and their bodily or facial movements are unnatural and awkward. I am really afraid that they are giving serious damages to the whole film.
But as you will see, the talent of Enki Bilal is undeniable, and his vision is presented effectively with the other-worldly but retrospective descritions of the city of New York in 2095, which is beautifully drawn with blue and grey (red is seldom seen). Far from perfect, but the picture is worth seeing."
Outstanding visual experience
wiredweird | Earth, or somewhere nearby | 07/23/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Bilal is best known as a comic artist. I've liked his work visually: he tends towards a restrained and idiosyncratic palette of colors, but uses strong color where it makes a point. He makes each character stand out, and counts more on visual impact than physical credibility for bringing his worlds to life. I've always found uncertain narrative development in Bilal's stories, but with visuals that keep me going to the end.
That's what this movie was like: visually powerful, but baffling as a story. Ancient Egyptian gods come to Earth, in a massive pyramid poised over a major city. The city takes surprisingly little notice, until an exiled god seeks a human host body, then seeks a human female. OK, it's enough to carry the movie, but nothing spectacular. It's all the characters that make it work as an experience for the eyes, with their distortions, exaggerations, and unique visual style.
That style is carried in an alternation of live action sequences (with CG effects, of course), and animation on a par with Final Fantasy. The alternation wasn't quite seamless, but wasn't quite blatant enough to act as a narrative tool - I hope his future films make better use of each medium's strengths. The general styling stuck close to the subdued colors of Bilal's comics, even a restrained blue for the skin tones of the Jill, the female lead. Color dominates only in the final scene, richly enforcing the "new day dawning" theme.
"Immortal" is a remarkable crossover for a well-known comic artist, apparently adapted from his "Nikopol Trilogy" of DC comics. It's an exciting effort, and enough to keep me eager for more.
Oh When The Gods Go Marching In!
Maximiliano F Yofre | Buenos Aires, Argentina | 04/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a teenager I was very fond of comics, later my passion declined but I still pick up some classics as Harold Foster's "Prince Valiant", Hugo Pratt's "Corto Maltes" or the Argentinean Hector Oesterheld "El Eternauta" and enjoy them. So I'm not immune to this kind of products.
Some years ago I've seen part of Enki Bilal's "Nikopol trilogy" and was seduced by it's depurate drawing, soft colors and strange characters.
Still I bought this DVD without realizing it was based on that story. Just thinking it was a sci-fi flick.
I was gratefully surprised when recognized Bilal's iconography transported unchanged to the big screen.
The mix of live actors with animated characters gives the movie an enjoyable "special taste". I recon I'm not very exigent as to the quality of CG animation and techno-boost fireworks. I simply enjoy the visuals as they are.
The story is no simple, but usually movies derivate from comic books aren't.
In year 2095 a strange pyramid is stationed over NYC. From there Horus (an Egyptian god) emerges in search of a human body to possess. Unfortunately the unwilling host of this godly presence, if incompatible, is doom to death.
After some failures Horus is finally able to find his "receptor". At that moment the second divine quest starts. Possessed Nikopol is forced to find and seduce mysterious Jill Bioskop.
From here on cops, monsters, tycoons, politicians, aliens, cyborgs and the rest romp frantically chasing each other in earnest!
Charlotte Rampling as Dr. Turner is accurate and as gorgeous as she was at "Zardoz" (1974). Linda Hardy (Miss France 1992) is giving her firsts steps as actress as blue blooded, blue haired Jill while young veteran Thomas Kretschmann ("The Downfall", "The Pianist" and "U-571") gives a full stamina characterization of rebellious Nikopol.
Bilal's drawings and imagery are a visual pleasure that deserve to be seen
I give this movie big thumb up!
Reviewed by Max Yofre."
What a waste!
P. Gomes | New York, NY | 05/19/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The movie is awsome and everything written in the other reviews is correct. Just one BIG screw up:
The original movie is in french. The original graphic novel was written in french. As showed in the special features the filmakers spent months to lipsinc the entire movie with the lines in french.
So why in heaven would they REMOVE THE ORIGINAL SOUND IN FRENCH FROM THE DVD??? What the hell did they have in mind??? There's plenty of space for both english and french sound!
BIG mistake! They didn't even put subtitles in the begining of the movie when the gods are speaking to each other in a weird language (neither french or english). What they say is VERY important for the entire plot. In the french version they included subtitles in this part...
Summary: Great movie, awful release..."