Greek mythology is ripe with stories that producers can turn into movies. Hollywood has barely scratched the surface. Here are my top three picks of movies featuring Greek myths.
#3 Immortals (2011)
King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) marches his army across Greece, leaving destruction in the wake. Hyperion is searching for the Bow of Epirus in order to kill the gods and rule the world, like all mustache twirling super villains. Humble stonemason, Theseus (Henry Cavill), is convinced by and oracle (Freida Pinto) to join the fight to stop Hyperion.
Everything about this film is beautiful. The plot is mediocre and so is most of the dialogue, but the colors and spectacle draw you in. This is the definition of eye candy—with Greek gods, gold and glorious costumes serving as high fructose corn syrup. I love watching clips of it on YouTube. It has an addictive quality, like watching a car crash, but the opposite of witnessing horror.
#2 Wrath of the Titans (2012)
Perseus (son of Zeus) is living as a fisherman with his son Helius. The Olympians are weak because most humans no longer worship them like they use to. The Titans are taking advantage. Kronos wants his marble throne back from Zeus and the Olympians. Perseus is drawn into the fracas when Hades and Ares, switch loyalty and strikes a deal with Kronos to capture Zeus. A weak Zeus spells trouble for mortals. Perseus, Queen Andromeda, Poseidon’s half-god son, Argenor, and the god Hephaestus, go on a quest into the underworld to rescue Zeus, overthrow the Titans and save the world. The movie stars Sam Worthington, Rosamund Pike, Ralph Fiennes and Liam Neeson.
Sam Worthington gives a wooden performance throughout the film, but the action saves it for me. What is a Greek mythology based movie with out epic action? Not much.
#1 Clash of the Titans (1981)
Starring Harry Hamlin, Judi Bowker, Burgess Meredith, Maggie Smith and Laurence Olivier, it is a retelling of the original Perseus mythology. Zeus impregnates Princess Danae of Argos. Her father imprisons her and her newborn son, Perseus, in a chest. The king has them tossed out to sea, angering the god Zeus. Zeus orders his brother Poseidon to release the Kraken to destroy Argos. Mother and son don’t die at sea, and Perseus grows to adulthood. As a young man, Perseus wins the hand of Princess Andromeda of Joppa by killing the monster Medusa and solving a riddle. The day of Perseus and Andromeda’s wedding, her mother, Queen Cassiopeia, dares to compare Andromeda’s beauty to that of the goddess Thetis. Thetis is pissed off, naturally. She demands Andromeda be sacrificed to the Kraken or face Joppa’s destruction. Perseus ventures to find a way to save Joppa and Andromeda. He returns the day Andromeda is shackled to a rock waiting to be a Kraken appetizer. Perseus petrifies the Kraken with Medusa’s head, causing it to crumble to pieces. He then tosses the head into the sea, frees Andromeda, and marries her.
The special effects in this film do not last the test of time, but the story, characters, and acting are still endearing. With all of today’s CG special effects wonders, I can watch Clash of the Titans repeatedly.
Hope you liked this week’s blog post. You can read the first chapters of my urban fantasy series The Children of Ekhidna and Typhoeus on the books page.
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What movies with Greek mythology is in your top three?