The New York of 2095 retains some of its past majesty, such as the Empire State Building, and many other skyscrapers. But the skyline is principally dominated by a huge floating pyramid that has appeared, apparently sent by ancient Egyptian Gods. This is the scenario that director Enki Bilal sets for his film, IMMORTAL, which was among the first to shoot actors playing out their entire roles against a blue screen, then depositing them in a computer-generated environment in post-production. The pyramid has appeared in the skyline so the Gods can rid themselves of Horus (Thomas M. Pollard), who scours Manhattan for a suitable human body to inhabit. As he searches for a mate, Horus's life is irrevocably thrown together with a strange, blue-haired girl who is embarking on a quest that mirrors the hero's own. A sci-fi epic that resembles genre favorites such as THE FIFTH ELEMENT and THE MATRIX, Bilal based the action on his own comic strips, producing an innovative, action-packed movie in the process.
It is New York, one hundred years in the future. A mysterious giant pyramid has materialised out of thin air and floats ominously above the city. Below there have been several mysterious murders — are the two related? Obviously. The culprit seem to be Horus, yes, the Horus from ancient Egyptian mythology. It seems that those whacked-out New Age nuts were right after all and that the Egyptian gods are actually all-powerful aliens and they’ve dropped in for their first visit in several thousand years so that Horus can get his rocks off with a mortal girl . . .
Yup, that’s right: it seems that as always all the gods are really interested in is getting it on with some comely mortal maiden. Except in this case the girl in question is a white-skinned blue-haired mutant, and Horus has to possess a guy named Nikopol who has been in suspended animation for the past few decades to make it all happen. Or something like that.
Sure it is SF, but is also a theanthropic buddy flick, a bizarre love triangle, an immigrant's assimilation tale, a psychosexual mystery, a creation myth, an elegant piece of futurist noir, and a good old-fashioned monster movie, all rolled into one beautifully stylised package; and although Bilal has concentrated on only a few characters and narrative arcs from his comic books 'The Carnival Of Immortals' and 'The Woman Trap', he creates a fantasy metropolis so dazzlingly expansive that the film, far from being the mere sum of its plots, offers a template for a multi-layered universe in which the viewer could become lost forever.
The characterisation is not always as three-dimensional as the computer artwork, the dialogue occasionally dips into cheesiness, and the quality of the digital rendering varies from scene to scene, but nobody could accuse Immortal of being short of ideas, or failing to inspire awe.
Bilal's adaptation of his own comics offers an exquisitely realised digital map of the future. Rarely is dystopian cyberpunk so inventive, so multi-faceted, or so strange.