Immortel (Ad Vitam) - AVS | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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Gary McCoy's Avatar Gary McCoy 03:49 AM 02-03-2007
I caught a few minutes of this film last month on SciFi channel, and then ordered the DVD from NetFlix. I was very favorably impressed, although this film is not for everyone. The most surprising thing was I had never heard of it, and indeed it appears to have never been in theatrical distribution in the USA, although there is a Region 1 DVD that appears to have been filmed in English. According to the IMDB, the film has been shown in most of the film festivals in Europe in the last couple of years.

This film is a combination of digital animation and live actors, as was Sin City or Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. The plotline is a mad amalgum of Blade Runner, Stargate, and The Fifth Element. As I said before it is a work that SF fans are likely to enjoy, although this is more of a character driven tale (as in a graphic novel) than an action picture.

The filmmaker is Enki Bilal and this is an adaptation of two of his graphic novels from The Nikopol Trilogy, published in the adult fantasy magazine Heavy Metal (or Metal Hurlant as it was then called) in the 1980's. Bilal is Serbian and the production was made in France, but in English from what I could tell.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
It is 2095AD and the starship The Boat of a Million Years floats above a New York City that is still somewhat recognizable, and still dangerous. The Egyptian gods within the starship (a spitting image of the Great Pyramid of Giza) have condemned one of their number, the god Horus (he of the bird head) to death. Horus has seven days to live and in that time he must procreate or his spirit will be lost. He chooses to inhabit the body of an infamous anti-government terrorist and unfortunately has no time for romance, substituting rape. The object of his lust is an alien woman who is metamorphizing into a human, but who has blue hair and white skin and is stunningly beautifull.

Therein hangs the tale and you must watch and listen carefully to follow - I did rewind in a few spots. The images onscreen share the utter clarity of digital animation, and the production values are high. This NYC shares many of the characteristics of the seedy cityscape in Blade Runner, but in it's own style which surprisingly makes use of more pastels than one would expect - but well done and even stylish. The Region 1 DVD is anamorphic in 1.85:1. The soundtrack offers both Dolby Digital 6.1EX and DTS 6.1ES and is also stunning. For some reason the Spanish subtitles start when you select the English audio track, but I was able to turn them off without any trouble.

A strong reccomendation to buy for SF fans. Everybody else should probably rent first and see if it is to your taste.


Airboss's Avatar Airboss 04:29 AM 02-03-2007
RobertWood has been praising this film for some time now, due to his recommendation I watched it and, as you, I found it to be an excellent movie.
Josh Z's Avatar Josh Z 05:45 PM 02-03-2007
Ugh. I wouldn't recommend this movie to someone even if I hated their guts.
oink's Avatar oink 05:56 PM 02-03-2007
Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post

Ugh. I wouldn't recommend this movie to someone even if I hated their guts.

Although I don't agree with your conclusions, reading your take on Immortal is almost as much fun as Ultraviolet.

You have a wicked pen, my friend.
Ron Temple's Avatar Ron Temple 01:40 AM 02-05-2007
I think oink and I started a thread on this about a year and a half ago. I loved it. Gary's mini-review was much better than mine. Of course, Josh shot cyanide bullets at all the glowing praise. Really this movie makes a lot more sense if you're high as a kite (which I was when I saw it the first time), but I liked the whole gestalt...loved the blue haired chick and Horus is my hero.
oink's Avatar oink 03:22 PM 02-05-2007

Maybe we Sci-Fi Freaks are more forgiving...
FredProgGH's Avatar FredProgGH 03:26 PM 02-05-2007
jcavner's Avatar jcavner 03:47 PM 02-05-2007
rented it. thought that it was pretty stunning visually, but the movie itself seemed to lack a lil something for me. that being said, i have seen much much worse.
Ron Temple's Avatar Ron Temple 01:42 AM 09-07-2008
This is for oink...I rented this guy again tonight...wife's out of town. Sometimes you reconsider recommendations or just don't enjoy a movie like this if you're not in the right frame of mind. Got to say, this film really holds up. It's got tons of elements of odd, lightning fast shifts in plot, but it's brilliant. It's a sci-fi masterpiece and I need to buy this film. Upscaled on my Sony in DTS was a treat, though the animation is slightly dated and was at the time. It's art as well as entertainment. However, your brain better be ready to move quickly or you're going to experience "WTF syndrome"
oink's Avatar oink 10:27 PM 09-07-2008
The CGI is nowhere near Lucasfilm, but that wasn't what makes this film shine anyhow.
It is the imagination, which stands out most in my mind.
Sutter Cane's Avatar Sutter Cane 06:21 AM 09-08-2008
A friend lent us this DVD and we liked it for what it was. Obviously the animation isn't meant to be photo-real, but it was an interesting enough world that we just went with it.
tamahome02000's Avatar tamahome02000 08:50 AM 10-02-2008
Just rented it. Very impressive visuals and design, except I didn't like the near human computer generated characters. I'm told there's a trilogy of graphic novels too that are more in depth. I didn't notice any es/ex mode being triggered for the audio. I'll have to check again tonight.

Josh Z's Avatar Josh Z 09:05 AM 10-02-2008
I suggest this thread be merged with the "Your Favorite POS Movie" thread.
oink's Avatar oink 07:40 PM 10-02-2008

It isn't that bad for a B-Movie, Josh.

ATTENTION: For those that don't know, Josh now has a regular column going in Home Theater Mag called Zyber Space.
And its a good one.
tamahome02000's Avatar tamahome02000 09:10 PM 10-02-2008
Yeah, I wouldn't call it a POS.

The audio doesn't trigger any dolby digital ex or dts es for me, though.
swifty7's Avatar swifty7 10:11 PM 10-02-2008
Immortel is one of those movies that I try very hard to like but just can't. One of the reasons is the mix of live action and CGI. I wish Luc Besson or Ridley Scott directed it.
Gary McCoy's Avatar Gary McCoy 12:47 AM 10-03-2008
I don't have to try to like it. I recognize the weaknesses but I still enjoy it. One frequently has to tolerate such flaws when enjoying SF "B" movies. In spite of it's defects, this one has a precious thread of originality, a genuine new SF plot that incorporates bits of other stories without being overly derivative of any. This is rare today, especially in this age of the SciFi channel "cheapy ripoff flick", which they release with boring regularity several times a year. There are at least six new SciFi channel original movies each year which are worse than this film - I end up fast-forwarding them on my DVR.

I watch nearly everything labelled SF. When I find a film with re-watchability I frequently buy it. Immortel (ad vitam) is in my NetFlix queue for a second viewing. If it holds up to such, I'll buy it. Remember how very long this film was in production due to the relatively low budget, compared to Hollywood. Had more funding been available, this film would have been recognized for what it was - the very first large scale "blue screen" production with full digital backdrops. But both Sin Cityand Sky Captain had theatrical runs in the USA before this film made it to our shores - even though they started production years afterwards.

Josh must have eaten something that didn't agree with him the day he viewed this one.
Josh Z's Avatar Josh Z 09:18 AM 10-03-2008
This isn't a B-movie. On the alphabet scale, it's about a U-movie. There are technically movies that are worse, but not many.
Airboss's Avatar Airboss 10:20 AM 10-03-2008
Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post

I suggest this thread be merged with the "Your Favorite POS Movie" thread.

Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post

This isn't a B-movie. On the alphabet scale, it's about a U-movie. There are technically movies that are worse, but not many.

This movie is not that bad, Hollywood has made several "Blockbuster" movies this year which are much worst (Indian Jones comes to mind).

It's not the best movie ever made but keep in mind, it was made in 2003 and it's still better than alot of the movies released this year!

To each his own; I enjoyed it.
Ron Temple's Avatar Ron Temple 12:27 PM 10-03-2008
All good comments...except for Josh's . Perception of originality, art or chessiness is a moving target. When I watched this last month it had been 3 years since I rented it. Long enough that everything seemed fresh. Lack of budget is very apparent, but it sure doesn't lack ambition and it shows. I read a ton of SF, have since I was a kid and obviously have pretty set ideas about what makes an entertaining and quality story. Immortal has all the elements and was executed well.

BTW - DTS 5.1 option is buried in the features menu. I don't think it has ES or EX. Pretty decent soundtrack.
thedeskE's Avatar thedeskE 03:23 PM 02-28-2009
Revisiting this. Puts me back in the day with Métal Hurlant and all the great art from the first 2 years. Bilal was clearly right in the middle of this fantastic material from the mid 70s.

I don't expect another taste with Heavy Metal next year. With Fincher, Snyder and Verbinski attached, it looks to be something very different.

Way late in a thread
mproper's Avatar mproper 03:32 PM 02-28-2009
Good timing though, as I had never heard of this but saw a preview for it on Day of the Dead that I watched last night, so added it to my queue.

I'm a sucker for visuals, so as long as they are ok, I'll be happy.
thedeskE's Avatar thedeskE 03:40 PM 02-28-2009
Originally Posted by mproper View Post

Good timing though, as I had never heard of this but saw a preview for it on Day of the Dead that I watched last night, so added it to my queue.

I'm a sucker for visuals, so as long as they are ok, I'll be happy.

My first view was a few months ago on SAT, but I was primed for the material in 77
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