Immortal (Immortel (Ad Vitam)) (2004)

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Released 15-Mar-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio
Featurette-Making Of-Making Of CGI
Theatrical Trailer
Teaser Trailer-2
Featurette-Making Of
Gallery-Photo
Trailer-The Brush Off, Stiff, Ondskan, Exils, Young Adam
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 98:41 (Case: 102)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Enki Bilal
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Linda Hardy
Thomas Kretschmann
Charlotte Rampling
Frédéric Pierrot
Thomas M. Pollard
Yann Collette
Derrick Brenner
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Ralph Rainger
Goran Vejvoda


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     Immortal is loosely based on a series of three comic strips - La Foire aux Immortels, La Femme piège and Froid-Équateur. Collectively these stories have became known as The Nikopol Trilogy. This trilogy was the creation of Enki Bilal, who also wrote the screenplay and directed this film version. Not having read the trilogy, I can't really comment on the relationship between the original stories and the film. But from all reports, it is a loose adaptation with much of the third part in the trilogy apparently left out of this film version.

    The vast majority of the world in Immortal is created from CGI. The mix of real life actors and CGI characters isn't totally successful and tends to degrade the overall look of the film. While the film's CGI depiction of a decaying New York City is predominantly awesome, occasionally the film looks similar to a nineteen nineties computer game, due mainly to the inadequate authenticity of some of these CGI characters.

    Immortal's plot retains a certain level of ambiguity and also requires considerable concentration to follow the obscure detail in the story. This may be one of the reasons why Immortal has never really achieved the high cult status that you might expect from this type of science fiction film. However, Immortal still has many wonderful moments and is certainly worth seeing for the two years of hard work taken in bringing The Nikopol Trilogy to the big screen.

    In the year 2095, a mysterious pyramid floats above a constantly grey and overcast New York City. Inside the pyramid, the gods of ancient Egypt lay in deep sleep, except for Bustet and Anubis who have pronounced a sentence of death upon Horus - the god of the heavens. He has been given this penalty due to some form of rebellion, the details of which are not apparent in the film. Before this death sentence is carried out, Horus (Thomas M. Pollard) is given just seven days to again experience the earth that he helped create and subsequently locate a female worthy of receiving the seed of a god. To achieve this, Horus must also find a suitable male human body to possess, to enable him to perform this sexual act. His attempts to find a suitable male vessel are initially fruitless and only leaves behind a string of dead bodies. This is mistaken by the police and nervous politicians to be the macabre work of a serial killer.

    Jill Bioskop (Linda Hardy) is a young and beautiful woman with pale skin and blue hair. She is arrested by agents working for Eugenics and delivered to the respected Eugenics doctor Emma Turner (Charlotte Rampling). Dr Turner has not seen anything like Jill in all her days in medicine. The organs in Jill's body are totally unique and are also located in different areas of the body from other people. However, Dr Turner is not the only one interested in Jill's body, as Horus has decided that Jill will be the perfect female to bear his offspring. (More about the phenomenon of Jill's bodily evolution is revealed later in the film).

    Nikopol (Thomas Kretschmann) is a resistance fighter, fighting against the practices of Eugenics. He has spent nearly thirty years incarcerated in a cryogenic sleep for committing crimes against the secretive organisation. Nikopol is dramatically and illegally released from his deep sleep by an unseen entity, but loses the lower part of his right leg in the act. He is soon rescued by Horus who has chosen Nikopol to be the vessel he requires to copulate with Jill. Horus creates a new leg for Nikopol from a heavy piece of railway track. The weight of the steel makes mobility impossible for Nikopol. Unless he accepts Horus' requirement of bodily possession, Nikopol will have to carry this heavy burden for the rest of his life.

   The untimely release of Nikopol and the carnage left by the "serial killer" has New York's corrupt politicians on edge. Senator Allgood (Joe Sheridan) and his devious but sexy assistant, Lily Liang (Corinne Jaber) call on the help of a mutant hunter to track down and eliminate Nikopol, thus restoring their chances of re-election. They are totally un-aware of the force that now controls and protects his very existence.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer for Immortal is very impressive.

    The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, which is 16x9 enhanced. The correct aspect ratio for Immortal is 1.85:1.

    The transfer offers a consistently high degree of sharpness and clarity, with no evidence of any grain throughout the film. Blacks were outstanding and exhibited no signs of any low-level-noise. Shadow detail was also excellent.

    Colours were generally quite soft and muted, which is consistent with the colour palette used for the film. Colours were beautifully balanced on the disc and no adverse issues were evident.

    There were no MPEG artefacts on this DVD. Film-to video artefacts were very well controlled and didn't present as an issue. Film artefacts were not noticed.

    English subtitles are the only language available on this DVD. They are easy to read, in bold yellow.

    This is a single sided, dual layer disc. I could not locate the layer change either through viewing the disc or with the use of software.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio transfer is also quite impressive.

    There are two audio tracks available on the DVD, English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s) and English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s), both of which are of excellent quality.

    The quality and consistency of the dialogue throughout the film was excellent.

    No adverse issues with audio sync were apparent throughout the film.

    The original music score by Goran Vejvoda is light and mystical, which suited the mood of the film very well. Some non-original, contemporary  music is also incorporated into the soundtrack, including an acoustic version of The Moody Blues song Nights In White Satin.

    The surround channels were constantly active, mainly with music and ambient sound, which added significantly to the atmosphere of the film. On a smaller scale, some directional sound movement was apparent. A couple of examples of this are a car smashing through a building at 69:49 and cars flying overhead at 81:47.

    The subwoofer worked hard over the course of the film, beginning with the opening credits and staying constantly active from that point on. A couple of examples are the rumble of an engine at 2:02 and an explosion at 63:09.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The selection of extras on this disc are relevant and interesting.

Menu

    Surprisingly, the menu for Immortal is very basic and has no animation. There is however a generous sample of music from the film and the menu is 16x9 enhanced.

Featurette - Making Of CGI  (10:53)

    This short piece is concentrated on technical discussion with relevant crew members about the CGI aspects of the production. Character development, building and background development and lighting are just a few of the areas that are covered. Behind-the-scenes footage is incorporated with final film footage to emphasize the points of interest. (French language with English subtitles).

Featurette - Making Of Documentary  (36:09)

    A good companion to the above featurette, this documentary features interviews with cast and crew members. The discussions this time revolve around all aspects of the production including storyboards, mixing CGI characters with real actors and make up. Again, considerable behind-the-scenes footage is combined with final film footage. (French & English language with English subtitles).

Immortal Trailers

Stills Gallery

    A collection of twenty-six full screen images from the film.

Madman Propaganda

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The R1 version of Immortal has a few differences to this local, all region version.

    The R1 version features the addition of a dts 5.1 audio track. It contains the same trailers and Making Of Documentary as the local version, but seems to miss the stills gallery and CGI featurette.

    Unless you're a diehard fan of the film, I wouldn't bother tracking down the R1 version simply for the dts track. There isn't enough significance in the overall sound design to warrant the extra effort. I believe the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track does the job nicely - but the choice is yours.

Summary

    Enki Bilal's film version of his original The Nikopol Trilogy is not entirely the complete package that was hoped for. His vision of a dirty and dark New York City in 2095 is compelling and many scenes are very well orchestrated, with incredibly rich detail. But all this tends to be let down somewhat by the occasional unconvincing CGI effect that makes you feel like you should be holding a joystick rather than a remote control.

    The video and audio transfers are impressive.

    The selection of extras are interesting and should please fans of the film.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
Monday, July 24, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDJVC XV-N412, using Component output
DisplayHitachi 106cm Plasma Display 42PD5000MA (1024x1024). Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationPanasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS
SpeakersFronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
R1 Correction - Anonymous