Saturday, April 3, 2010

Clash of the Titans 2010

As a kid I loved stories filled with mythology. I don’t know what it was, but the stories of Zeus, Medusa, Perseus and the like was just, well, just fun. I loved the 1981 film Clash of the Titans with Laurence Olivier as Zeus, Harry Hamlin as Perseus and other notables such as Ursula Andress, Claire Bloom, and others. While the 1981 version missed some of the luster from the previous mythological movies of the 1950’s and 1960’s, it was still a fun time, mainly because the concepts and stories of the time were not just fun and entertaining, but for a small boy, magical.

Many people forget the origins of these stories are rooted in the search and understanding of God. Rooted in much of the mythology was the search to understand humanity in its relationship with God. The search exemplified in the new movie Clash of the Titans stars Sam Worthington of Avatar fame as Perseus a demigod who is half human and half God, Liam Neeson as the domineering jealous God Zeus who created humans to worship him, and Ralf Fiennes as Hades, a God sought on the destruction and downfall of not only humans but also Zeus. The story tells the search for the salvation, despite the rejection of God.

One of the things I appreciated about Clash of the Titans is its attention to the simplicity of story. The direction of Louis Leterrier is quite nice and while there are some holes in the plot, I found myself more entertained than I did in some recent movies. I didn’t experience the heavy handed commentary of James Cameron and while there was plenty of commentary related to the human condition in relation to God, it was done in a respectful way that will allow the viewer to be entertained and at the same time have them thinking. The special effects were nice, the sound and editing was exceptional as one would expect for a film like this. The only disappointing thing for me was the 3-D effects. If doing it over, I would see the movie in 2-D as opposed to 3-D. Don’t take me wrong, it isn’t a slam on the movie, it is just if able to save a few bucks I would have chose the extra $3 or $4 and purchased a larger box of popcorn.

In Clash of the Titans we see a blending of the early mythological concepts that give some of the background of Perseus in a way that resembles the Easter story. Perseus is discovered by a fisherman in the open sea. The fisherman and his wife are without child and take in Perseus and raise him as their own. Through them he learns of humanity, and the love of family and the loyalty and love that exist between many humans. It is later in life when he and his family witness an attempt of some humans to rebel against God and to recognize themselves as God. He is forced to ultimately recognize and begin his own journey which will allow him to become the savior of the world. Along the way he has to encounter many demons, witches, and evils that would destroy him and humanity. Those forces are used as tools for the God Hades, who is a representation of the evil God who has dominion over the earth and rules beneath the earth. The symbolism to Satan and Hell is easily recognized. Perseus is forced to battle not only his own humanity, but to come to a place where he accepts and practices his own deity.

Whether by intent or not, this movie oozes with commentary regarding the religious nature of man and God and the need of a savior. It explores the rebellion and rejection of humans against God, even in the face of evidence that God exists. I can’t help but believe there are lessons there for society. In Clash of the Titans, the religious are the ones doing the harm in understanding God. We see a willingness to sacrifice people to meet their evil needs without the willingness to offer praise and worship to Zeus. Zeus is a jealous God and wants to provide that salvation; he is betrayed though by Hades and ultimately realizes the need to work through his own son to bring about salvation. There are sacrifices along the way that have to be made, and ultimately, for some, resurrection.

I didn’t go to see this movie to experience some deep social commentary. I was wondering even prior to going, why there wasn’t an appropriate Easter movie released on Easter weekend. I found some things I did appreciate. I found a relevant Easter message, and I had a fun time at the theater, in fact, I had more fun than I anticipated. Outside of the disappointing 3-D effects, I would have considered this a great retelling of some of the old myths. Sure there could have been more story as some of the creatures and characters are just touched on, but I still had fun. It is a good film for the entire family and most will be glad they spent the afternoon at the theater, reliving some of the stories of their youth.

On a scale of 1 – 10, While not a perfect movie, it was rather entertaining. For the 8 letters in Passover on this Easter weekend I give a very deserving and enjoyable 8.

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