Crash of the Titans   2 comments

Don’t Take Your Brain to the Movies


          (Medusa the Huntress-best monster in the movie)

  Last Sunday (April 11) I got to see Clash of the Titans—regular old 2D in my neighborhood movie theater. I took my son and his best friend—they are the ones who really wanted to see it.   I had read a few lukewarm reviews, but what the hell do critics know anyway? I try to never let reviews keep me from seeing something I want to see, or influence me into going to see something I don’t want to see. 

            Let me say right now that the special effects were excellent. You will believe that a horse can fly. You will believe in scorpions larger than elephants, and a kraken the size of Rhode Island.  You will believe that Medusa was a lamia—half woman, half giant serpent, faster than lightning, and more deadly than a cobra. You will believe in Olympos.  You will believe that the ancient Greeks had the coolest-looking ships in history.


            You just won’t believe in the story.  So, don’t try. Leave your brain at home, and enjoy the movie as pure visual spectacle. Let me say that my admiration for the Special Effects artists, the computer graphics guys, the set designers, the costumers and the people playing the bit parts in these computer generated spectaculars is growing all the time. I wish my imagination worked as well as theirs does. What can be put on the screen today is amazing.  

            I asked my 19 year-old son what he thought of the movie. He said it was average. He said HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON was better. How to train your dragon was pure animation—instead of human actors working in front of a blue screen surrounded by computer effects—and it had a real story that worked. You got to know the characters, and to like them. The dragon story made sense. The Greek mythology story didn’t.

            One thing I noticed about Clash of the Titans was that almost all of the moviemakers were American. That means the movie was pure Hollywood. And the truth is that Hollywood movies haven’t been really good for a long time now. Especially the Big Budget ones! No originality left in Hollywood, except in the fantastic craftsmanship of the little people. Like I said, the artists were amazing. The bit part actors were superb. 

            And now a few whys! Why did the movie have Liam Neeson as Zeus and Ralph Fiennes as Hades? Their roles were neither important nor dramatic. Any bit part actors with beards could have taken those roles, and probably done them better. Neeson really seemed miscast. Fiennes was nasty, and Hades should be nasty, but he was just another z-grade villain dressed in black. His minions were a lot more impressive.  Why is Sam Worthington, he of the blue face in Avatar—the 22nd century space marine, starring as Perseus? Has Hollywood run out of hunks that they have to use the same ones over and over? I didn’t buy him as Perseus.  He’d look a lot better as G.I. Joe. 

            Who was good? The actresses who played Andromeda, Io, and Cassiopia were terrific. Alexa Davalos played Andromeda. Polly Walker played her good-looking but arrogant mother Cassiopeia. Gamma Arterton played the immortal Io, who was the true heroine of the movie.


            The script writers butchered the story of Perseus rather badly. Yes, he was the son of Zeus, but his mother Danae was not killed by her husband Acrisius. In fact Acrisius was Danae’s father, not her husband. Afraid that her child would kill him, he imprisoned her in a room open to the sky. That was too tempting for Zeus, who was something of an immortal Casanova in those days. He came to her as a shower of gold, and got her pregnant. We don’t need the Arthurian trick of Zeus pretending to be Acrisius to get at his wife. Nor did Hades kill Perseus’ foster parents at any time. Danae married her rescuer Dictys and lived long and happily, eventually becoming queen of the island of Seriphos. Hades really isn’t a bad guy in Greek mythology. It is simple-minded Americans who associate him with Hell, and thus Satan, and have to turn him into the villain of the story every time. 

            Another thing, it really was Athena who helped Perseus slay the Gorgon. He had to make an epic journey, but he did it by himself wearing winged sandals that Hermes gave him. No loyal but doomed flunkies from Argos had to go with him. Zeus doesn’t actually appear in the story of Perseus except for his casual rape of Danae. 


(The old Greeks didn’t wear a lot of clothing. Zeus goes wooing.)           

As for Pegasus, the winged horse sprang full-grown from the neck of Medusa when Perseus cut her head off. He never rode the flying horse. That honor was reserved for a guy named Belerophon somewhat later in Greek mythic history. 

            Cassiopeia did anger a god by bragging about her beauty, but it was Poseidon who lost his cool and sent a sea monster to destroy either the city or Andromeda—whichever came first. Andromeda was not princess of Argos, but of what was probably the seacoast city of Joppa in Palestine, and after her rescue, she did marry him. Perseus didn’t turn her down and go off to be with his mythical guardian nymph Io.


(how to meet girls)           

 And the moral of all this setting the facts straight is that you can’t get your knowledge of either history or mythology from the movies. They always mess it up. 

            Oh, yeah, and the Titans, who were the actual parents of the Greek gods were never destroyed by a kraken. Their own children defeated them, and piled mountains on top of them to keep them out of the way. 

            And those are just a few of the glaring holes in the story. I could go on for pages, but like I say, leave your brain at home, and enjoy the movie for lovely costumes and breath-taking special effects.


Posted April 15, 2010 by atroll in Uncategorized

2 responses to “Crash of the Titans

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  1. Watched it Tuesday night and I’ve got to agree with you on a lot of that. Strangely I’m less bothered about butchering the structure and stories of myths than with real history. I also liked the performances of the gods but thought they could have done with more air time. Read the article in 3D World magazine on the way in to work about the CG effects – the 3 main studios were all British so one less thing for Hollywood to be getting credit for 😉

  2. Pingback: 2010 in review « Atroll's Entertainment

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