Immortal Ad Vitam
2005
This surreal sci-fi flick posits a dystopian future where genetically engineered beings coexist with eugenically altered humans and ancient deities. Sentenced to be put to death in a week, the god Horus searches for a woman to carry his child.

Scott Hardie: “It ruled.”

This year I made a necessary adjustment in my rating of movies, because gorgeous and visually exhilarating films that otherwise had little or no merit, such as the Matrix sequels, were winding up some of my most praised titles every year, a trend that stayed true to my personal priorities as a film-lover at the expense of my reviews having any value to anyone else. I couldn’t help but think of this seemingly insignificant switch when I watched this French-Hungarian sci-fi graphic novel brought to startling life on film, because it contains some of the most complex, gorgeous, and original imagery of the year, but houses them in a stale, half-baked plot that doesn’t stir the imagination anywhere near as well as they do. Filmed with the same technique as “Sin City” and “Sky Captain,” in which the actors are real but literally everything around them is pure CGI, this movie is a creative feast for the eyes, set in a dystopian 2095 New York where blue-haired mutants live among ancient Egyptian gods returned to the Earth they claim they created. Possibly inadvertently, it inspires thoughts about the place of man in the fictions he creates to entertain himself and demystify the universe, but the plot is too murky and confusing to be much fun, and the tone of the film is muted when it should be as vibrant and lively as its visuals. If you’re the kind of viewer who appreciates sequences of exquisite beauty just for their aesthetic value, you should see this film, but to general audiences I just can’t recommend it.

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