Sunday, April 11, 2010

Clash of the Titans

I was going to start on the Gesta Francorum today but I went to the movies yesterday and changed my mind. In 1981, when the first Clash of the Titans came out, I was one of the few people take saw it and I enjoyed it. So, I was looking forward to the updated version with 'special effects' since the kraken in the first one was clearly a guy in a rubber suit and he looked like the creature from the black lagoon.
If a movie is called a 'remake' of an earlier movie, then should it not be very similar to the first one? This 'remake' was not only loosely based on Greek myth but also loosely based on the 1981 film. Okay, there was a guy called Perseus, he killed Medusa, flew on Pegasus and saved Andromeda. That is where the similarity ends to myth or movie.
The movie was clearly about the special effects and violence. My 13 year old son loved it. My daughter and I, who both have some familiarity with Greek myth, sat there gnashing our teeth. This is a list of the things that annoyed me (with spoilers):
  • Perseus marries Andromeda, that is why he saves her.
  • Andromeda is chained to a rock not suspended over the harbor. It is a huge part of the imagery about her, she is chained nude to a rock.
  • Perseus does not run off with Io, who is literally a cow
  • Perseus is conceived when Zeus appears to his mother in a shower of gold, she was not raped as punishment for her husbands' impiety. She did not have a husband.
  • His mother survived being thrown into the sea
  • Perseus did not hate Zeus, the gods helped him all along to kill Medusa.
  • Hades did not hate Zeus and attempt to overthrow the government.
  • There are no Jinn in Greek myth. They are Arabic. And I am certain they are not zombies.
  • Perseus was pursued by Thetis and no one else
  • Zeus did not create humans, Prometheus did.
  • The only Olympian to have created something like the Kraken was Poseiden and his monster was called Cretus.
I would like to say on that last point that I did not mind the Kraken being the sea beast sent out to kill Andromeda. The best part of the film is when Liam Neeson says "Release the Kraken".
Now that I have mentioned Liam Neeson, I have to say that I have never seen a more Biblical Zeus. He looked like Moses and acted like the Judeo Christian God. It was nauseating how he kept saying that he 'loved humans' and did not want to punish them for their impiety. Perseus, who insisted that he was not a son of Zeus, kept insisting he was a simple fisherman. Jesus was a fisher of souls.
In the end, out comes the Kraken, deadly scorpions, a deadly disfigured monster and because, every movie has to have zombies or vampires, the undead Jinn. With all that divine anger and death, it seemed so very Old Testament and nothing like the Iliad. Anyway, I thought it sucked. Shame on the producers of this 'remake'; I do not think they ever saw the film they were basing this on.


Tracy said...

Can't say I'm tempted to watch it!

Zeus as a Judeochristian God - oh dear! So how do they explain all of those seductions with Zeus in various disguises so he can get his wicked way (or as my son tactfully described it when he was ten and had to do a project on the Greek myths 'Zeus and Hera had a lot of problems in their marriage!')

The Red Witch said...

They don't but they do have Zeus rape Perseus' mother to punish her husband for impiety.
In the proper story, Zeus looked after Danae and made sure the box with her and the baby arrived safely at an island. Perseus knew he was Zeus's son growing up because Zeus looked after them both.
There is a very similar story involving Heracles and Hesione of Troy in the Iliad.