Clash of the Movies
As I warned, gentle reader, this past week I've been elsewhere, and doing as little as I could humanly get away with. I have, however, taken the opportunity to go to the cinema a couple of times, once to see the "Blind Side" which I would heartily recommend, and once to see "Clash of the Titans" which I would heartily recommend that you avoid...
The first was warm, life-affirming, well scripted, directed and acted while the second was a shambling, pretentious mess. The first was focused on a decision that was at least partly prompted by the leading character's religious convictions, but that religious dimension was not over-egged. The second was a remake of the 1980's Ray Harryhausen epic, for the digital 3D, new-atheist age producing a plodding, earthbound, humourless, pseudo-humanist take on Greek mythology. Ironically the only smile it induced in me was the nod to the 80s cheesy classic, when the clockwork owl which played such a prominent role in it was "left behind" by the heroes who were going out to seek a way to defeat the Kraken. Clearly this is what the makers of this film were seeking to do with this "reimagining."
Zeus and the gods of Olympus feed off the worship/love of humanity, whilst his brother Hades in the underworld feeds off their fear (a theme which was much better explored in Pixar's "Monsters INC" if truth be told) but the uppity humans are rebelling and witholding their worship, leading to war between the gods and humanity, with Hades threatening to unleash the Kraken on the city of Argos, where Perseus, a son of Zeus and a human woman, has found himself. Perseus heads out with the aforementioned heroes, and initially eschews the gifts offered to him by his father Zeus because he wants to triumph as a human being and not as a demi-god.
There is a line in Shakespeare's "King Lear" that says " As flies to wanton boys are we to th' gods, They kill us for their sport." (Gloucester in King Lear Act 4, scene 1, 32–37) This may have been seen as the underpinning critique of the Olympians' attitude to humanity, but it was also the writer/director of this film's attitude to the dramatis personnae... Never have I had so many characters killed in pursuit of their goal and cared so little... The characters were so badly drawn/acted that I didn't know or care who they were... I didn't even know their names... Was this another pseudo-philosophical point being made... I doubt it... it was more likely simply another example of bad film making...
I won't tell you the end of the story, just incase you haven't seen the original, read/heard the story or seen Percy Jackson (and by the way, I agree with my 9 year old son's assessment "Percy Jackson was much better" on every level), but the worst faux-philosophy came towards the end, when Liam Neeson (who phoned in his performance for this from a galaxy far, far away) told Perseus that he wanted humanity to worship him, but he didn't want his son to die in the process... AAARGHHH! I wanted to shoot myself at that point!
Anyway, this is a long-winded way (though nowhere near as long winded as this movie) of telling you to avoid this 3D clunker like the plague.
Go to see "The Blind Side" however. God is barely mentioned in it... but it affirms all that is good in humanity and in a faith that is lived out rather than talked about.