Imagine if you will, a story about a Jew from about the first century who traveled the land of Palestine, preaching some rather radical ideas until he was eventually executed by the Romans in one of the most horrifying manners ever invented by man. This guy’s name was Judas and he was betrayed by his buddy Jesus.
That sense of confusion and vertigo you just got: that’s how I felt watching this movie.
Ok, I will give the movie some credit for incredible visuals. The depiction of Mt Olympus is probably one of the best I’ve ever seen. The gods are so perfectly realized that a brief scene where you can see most of them in the background will probably have greco-philes playing “how many can you guess before they’re gone”. The girls are very hot in this as well, Gemma Arterton could very well play Aphrodite (and give me a boner hope for the Prince of Persia movie) and Alexa Davalos as the princess Andromeda is just stunning.
The sad part is, visuals and babes are all this film has going for it, as everything else sucks.
Greek mythology certainly never lacked in entertainment, which is what makes the narrative choices in this film so baffling. The movie says that Zeus created Man so that the latter’s prayers were give the former immortality. Why? Seems to me if you grant 1 being life, it would be a simple matter to set up an infinite feedback loop where you grant yourself life indefinitely. Was it to give the gods a motivation for their interest in humans? Long before the Cold War between Russia and America, the Greeks had the MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) policy in their works. The gods were so powerful they didn’t want to fight each other less they destroy what they were fighting over in the first place, so they used humans as proxies for combat, deciding competitions and because they were bored. What, all that wasn’t enough of a motivation for this drek?
So Hades wants to use the mortals’ “war on the gods” to usurp Zeus? Why? In all of Greek myth, Hades and Hephaestus were the least dickish gods in the whole pantheon! You can’t get Ares involved? Or how about Poseidon, who could be a real asshole at times! So we get the old them of god vs god with Perseus being helped by Zeus in the former’s quest to defeat Hades’ plan… why? Because he’s Zeus’ son? Zeus was the god of man-whores more than the god of lightning! He has enough bastard children to staff an entire troop to aid Perseus. In fact, the leader of the gods is the one giving the ok for Hades’ plot, why can’t he just revoke his permission? Myths traditionally had the idea that one god could not interfere in another’s domain. Nope, not here. Zeus gives permission for the kraken to be released even though it should really be Poseidon. The one in charge of a fearsome sea creature is the god of death, not the god of the sea?
Argh! This movie makes no sense!
The worst part? The entire movie is one long example of telling instead of showing. “So you could end the tyranny of the gods,” says one character. “Treat them [the people] far better than we have,” says Zeus to Perseus. WHAT TYRANNY? HOW HAVE THE GODS MISTREATED HUMANS? Over and over again we’re told that the gods are bad and they should be defeated but nobody ever really gives examples (ok, I think 2 but…) nor is any example ever demonstrated. Hades MIGHT be considered a little tyrannical but considering we only ever see him act after humans have provoked him… well I don’t have sympathy for the humans. Maybe the movie is expecting us to remember the original myths when talking about the gods, but you can’t expect us to hold characters to their narrative faults if you don’t write them as those characters in the first place!
Oh, but other examples are mentioned. So it’s said that Medusa was a woman loved by Poseidon who spurned him and was cursed as a result. But wait! The Stygian Witches said that only Medusa could defeat the kraken, a “titan against titan” (where the title is supposed to come from). So how could Medusa be a moral woman and a titan?
Then there’s Io as played by Gemma Arterton… she claims to have been cursed with eternal youth and to have watched over Perseus since his birth. Well we see her briefly when he’s found as a baby and… that’s it. She doesn’t seem to have done anything to help him be found, nor even to aid his rescue when he nearly drowns as an adult.
Perseus says he knew only 1 great man: his adopted father. A man we saw in… 3 scenes – TRULY a man worthy of song.
It should go without saying: know what your movie can handle. This is a spectacle film. There’s nothing wrong with that, but spectacle films cannot handle complex plots or many layers. If they had kept this film as basic as possible, it would have been infinitely better. Example: Poseidon lusts after Andromeda and decrees she must be turned over to him or else. Perseus loves Andromeda too and prays to Aphrodite to aid him in rescuing her. She gives him some tools and advice, he goes off on an adventure, returns with what he needs to defeat the kraken and gets the girl in the end. Easy & basic.
For this abomination, I give it:
And that’s only because of the effects and babes.
P.S.Yes I could rant even more about how this movie seems to have been written by religious skeptics, for skeptics without doing their homework but I thought I’d ignore more contentious topics in favor of just the pure objective wrongness of this film.