Dec 29
RIGHTEOUSNESS: THE VIRTUE BEING CAPSULIZED IN IMMORTALS by Isabel Sebullen  |  Posted in Articles  |  on Thu, Dec 29, 2011

All men’s souls are immortal, but the souls of the righteous are immortal and divine.”–Socrates

Director Tarsem Singh, creator of Immortals (2011), tries to tell movie viewers that being righteous is a virtue that should be exercised by men if they want to prevent disaster. Immortality comes from being righteous, although people may claim immortality by having power and money. In the movie Immortals, there is only one man who thinks that the gods are unfair when they fail to save his family from illness. This feeling of unfairness made him decide to destroy the gods as well.

Immortals tells of the story of Theseus, a half-god, half-mortal son of Poseidon, (king of the sea, and brother of Zeus) who lives with his mother. Theseus was considered a bastard because his mother conceived him after being raped, thus the status prevents him from enjoying privileges enjoyed by children born under normal circumstances. He is prevented to evacuate the village with the other inhabitants by a soldier named Lysander simply because he is a bastard.. Being taught by an old man all combat tactics, Theseus defeats him so Lysander is discharged from service by his commanding officer, and to get even, he offers his services to Hyperion. The king accepts him, though with reservations.

Theseus, being the protagonist in the story, gets a lot of action as Hyperion, the king of Crete, declares war on Olympus because the gods did not answer his prayers to save his family from illness. He starts searching for the Epirus Bow, a very powerful weapon created by Ares. This bow is the only weapon that can release the Titans from Mount Tartarus. The release of the Titans will lead to the war between them and the gods of Olympus. Hyperion seeks the Epirus Bow and destroys even holy places. He kidnaps even the virgin priestess Phaedra to help him.

Theseus discovers that Hyperion and his army attacked the village and witness the murder of his mother by King Hyperion. Hyperion later sends him to work as a slave in the mines. While in prison, Phaedra meets Theseus and finds him as the person who can destroy Hyperion. They escape Hyperion, together with the slave Stavross, then attack a boat filled with Hyperion’s solders, but they are no match to the number of soldiers. They are rescued by Poseidon, when he causes tidal wave which killed Hyperion’s men. On their way out, Phaedra has the same vision, noticing a shrouded body. She determines that this means Theseus needs to return to his village and bury his mother.

While burying his mother, he accidentally finds the Epirus Bow. His companions are attacked by Hyperion’s soldier, while he is attacked by the Minotaur. Theseus finally defeats the Minotaur and rescues his allies using the Epirus Bow, before he collapses, being poisoned by the Minotaur during their duel. Phaedra takes him back to his house and cures him, and they make love, which causes her to lose her premonitory powers.

They return to Phaedra’s temple, only to discover that it is surrounded by Hyperion’s soldiers. Hyperion is able to capture the group and steal the Epirus Bow. The event forces Ares and Athena to intervene. Athena is able to provide horses for the group, while Ares slays the advancing soldiers. Zeus appears from the sky, and is ready to kill the pair of gods for their treachery, but he spares Athena her life. Ares, however, does not back down, and claims that he had to do what he did to save Theseus. The enraged Zeus uses a burning whip to punish Ares. Zeus warns the group that no god will help them again, lest they suffer Ares’ fate, and pleads to Theseus to vindicate him. The heroes use Athena’s horses to ride to Mount Tartarus, which is under attack by Hyperion’s forces. Hyperion releases the Titans using the Epirus Bow, and they are confronted by the gods, while Theseus and his allies join forces with the Athenian army.

Theseus fights Hyperion inside the temple. He is stabbed multiple times, but is able to kill Hyperion by stabbing him in the neck before dying. Meanwhile, the gods are overpowered by the Titans, who kill Stavros, Apollo, Athena and Heracles. Before Zeus returns to Mount Olympus with his dead daughter, he collapses the temple upon the Titans, killing them as well as most of Hyperion’s forces, while the rest are crushed by the collapsing temple. Two beams are seen ascending to Olympus; Zeus carrying Athena and Poseidon. Theseus also ascends to the skies as a beam.

Like the movie 300, Director Tarsem Singh made a hero out of Theseus and he is welcomed into Mount Olympus by the gods for his sacrifice, and is awarded with a son from his night with Phaedra. The boy inherits his mother’s premo-nitions and is told by the old man not to fear them, though his visions show that in the future, there will be a war between the gods and the Titans, with Theseus leading the gods in battle on Mount Olympus. The old man tells him that his time for war and glory will come.

The movie’s location and fight scenes improve due to computer generated images. This visuals making the cliffs so real and also the place looks like its original structure. The scenes give viewers a glimpse of Greece before civilization comes in. The costumes resemble the period, and men garbed in their attires make us forget that this era in the movie is far, far from the present and Olympus and the gods and goddesses are merely products of the imagination.
I found some lapses in the movie. Dialogues are blurred and sequences are not tied up together due to lapses in editing. The scenes are too bloody, beheading and skewering are just normal activities, and Theseus is unbelievably strong he can be superman, and not the demi-god son of Poseidon.

After watching the movie, I discussed it with my 13-year-old godson, and he told me, the movie reminds him of 300, another creation of director Tarsem Singh wherein the hero, although not that powerful, was able to destroy the evil lurking in the village. His being righteous made him successful in the battle.

The movie got different reviews and reactions from critics citing Immortals as a ridiculous movie, wrapped with superfluous scenes with the used of modern technology to lure moviegoers to watch the film. It is made out of an inferior script, and its salvage value is its commercial success. Critics have to think over and over again why such an imperfect movie made a lot of money? As one of the viewers, I do not look at the imperfections but the importance of the message the movie is telling us. Director Tarsem Singh’s movies do not fail to give his hero’s message: righteousness, in the face of aridity and evil in this world, will prevail.

In spite of the imperfection of the movie Immortals, I still admire director Tarsem Singh for putting in a message of righteousness. Being righteous nowadays is a virtue only a handful of people possess. Worst is that people cannot see the difference between right and wrong. As long as an action benefits them, even an evil action is right for them. I have seen so many educated and well-off men doing evil things and cannot separate what is right from wrong. As long as an action fulfills what their hearts desire, it is just right to amass wealth and use power to attain glory and immortality. The recent disaster that happened in Mindanao and Negros Oriental is man-made. But the victims may look at the disaster as God’s punishment –without thinking that God has nothing to do with it. It is the action of the greedy to denude the forest that prevents flood and the mining activities that destroy nature. It is right for them to cut trees in the forest that sap water to prevent floods just to earn a lot of money. But what is lamentable, it is always the poor people who suffer from their greediness. Like what Hyperion feels in the movie Immortals, it is unfair for the God to let his family dies of sickness, but isn’t it more unfair for the poor to die from flood due to the greediness of others?

People reap what they sow, but how about reaping the evil that others sow? Life is unfair sometimes, but it does not make us stop from doing what is right. My friend Henry de Guzman whom I have treated as a younger brother often tells me: “Ma’am, we are not perfect, but we are righteous people, we do not sell our souls for money, we do not cheat , we earn our money by honestly working for it.”

Indeed few will appreciate people who stand up to what is right. Others may look at us with askance, calling us fools, but we rather die being righteous.

Indeed, “all souls are immortals, but the souls of the righteous are immortal and divine.” Let us listen well to the wisdom of Socrates so that at the end, when everything perish, our souls will become immortal and divine.

Here’s wishing you all a Merry, Merry Christmas.


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