I had no idea why I bought this at my regular DVD store. Perhaps it was because Nil said it was a French film. (Oddly enough, I am now into French films. Probably has something to do with my French classes and the constant reminders I get about my boyfriend not being Asian.) Anyway, Nil did warn me that this film was going to be a strange watch. “Even the comic is strange.” Well, he used the word “weird” to be more precise.
Yes, Immortel is based on Enki Bilal’s comic book “La foire aux immortels” and is one of the first few films to be shot in front of a blue- or green screens. Other films to have had that privilege would include “Sin City”, “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow” and “Casshern”. Despite it French-made, the dialogue is almost entirely in English with several scenes in Egyptian and French.
The year is 2095 and the place? New York city. (Why not Paris?*) Humans and aliens walk the streets of the city and it would appear that arming yourself with prosthetic faces and limbs are the in-thing now despite anti-eugenics hollers and chants. By eugenics here, I don’t mean Darwin’s theory of selective breeding (as per Wikipedia) but more towards the enhancement of human beings with ‘stuff’ – a fake face, lungs made in China, steel legs, spiky nail-like appendages called fingers and so forth. Politicians are having a rough time with these anti-eugenic guys and the sudden appearance of a pyramid above the city, not to mention a range of other things.
The story kick starts right in the pyramid. God of Sky Horus (voiced by Thomas M. Pollard) has been banished to mortality after instigating an uprising against the other Egyptian gods. I suspect it is Anubis since Horus, pompous and arrogant, has a strong dislike against the God of Death – we see him getting extremely upset when humans desire to meet Anubis more than him. Now, Horus has seven days to play in the world which he helped created and true to his nature of being god-like and all, he does so – in his own fashion. The God has a plan and carries it out with the unwilling help of Nikopol (Thomas Kretschmann), an escaped prisoner and former of the anti-eugenics rebels who had been frozen thirty years earlier. Together they search the city for a blue haired maiden named Jill (former Miss France Linda Hardey) who has the power to procreate with gods. How unusual that is, I’m not sure myself. What is unusual is that she looks like an adult woman on the outside but on the inside, her organs are but three months old.
*It would appear that the film had diverted a bit from the comic which was based in Paris and where Horus worked with Nikopol to rid the city of its corrupted leaders.
The beginning is easy to understand. It is clear that the Sky God’s intention is one thing and one thing alone – to reproduce and create a replica of himself before his death comes a-calling. Unfortunately it is towards the end that everything gets fuzzy. (Pay no attention to the sometimes witty dialogue. It just didn’t help with the flow of the story.)
You see Nikopol developing feelings for the woman he helped rape. You see Jill feeling utterly torn between loyalty to a strange character called John and Nikopol. You see less and less of Horus and his pompous attitude (which might I add is endearing for a god). Then there is the introduction of Dayaks (some shark-like creatures who bite off people’s faces just for taste), several corrupted officials and a death squad.
If I hadn’t known better, I would have sworn that this was a typical Hollywood film with dubbed English audio. (Yes, with the exception of one character, all the audio is the film was dubbed from French to English.)
There is little to absolutely no mention of Jill’s past. No one knows who John is or how in the world he came to disappear in the middle of the “intrusion area” in Central Park. Hell, no one even knows what happened to the nosy bugger Senator who attempted to talk to the Egyptian gods only to end up dead, his body dumped in the “intrusion area”. Those blue pills? No idea. Red one? All I know is that it turned Jill into a human and wiped out whatever memories she had of Nikopol, Horus and John plus a few other things. Bah humbug.
This film IS weird.
The only part I found amusing and very cute was the end when Nikopol is released (he was arrested and sent back to prison) and goes searching for Jill who now resides in Paris and quotes poetry for fun. Oh, and she has a cheeky little bundle of joy who conjures up bright blue falcons for fun.
Now if you’re looking for something ‘different’ – and from ‘different’, I mean your “I-wouldn’t-pick-this-as-my-first-choice-movie-or-second-or-third…” sort of thing – this is perhaps the film to watch. Otherwise, I would say go see it just so you can laugh at how funny the animation looks, gasp at the amount of bloody spilled everywhere and frown at the craziness of it all.