Monday, April 5, 2010

The Gods Must Be Assholes

Typical guy--all he wants from you is head.

There is a wonderful line from Spice World which pretty much sums up all the market-research-driven script-by-committee crap that's been coming out of Hollywood lately:

"That was absolutely perfect without really being any good at all."

This line could serve as a review for any number of recent releases (Alice In Wonderland anybody? Green Zone? Lovely Bones?), but is particularly applicable to the current re-make of Clash Of The Titans because what you see on the screen is so deliberately NOT the original movie (except for the fact that it repeats almost every single monster motif in state-of-the-art CGI instead of stop-motion) that you can only assume that what you are seeing is precisely the movie which the producers and director and screenwriters wanted to create. And you couldn't care less.

Message: I care.

I say this as someone who recognizes that the original COTG was cheesy enough to pour over macaroni. Alas, there is barely a flake of parmigiana in this version. (Sorry; not quite true--there is a moment when the cheesiest part of the original makes a cameo appearance, only to be tossed aside with the words "Not needed. Leave it.")

Hint, hint.

Other things not needed in this version, apparently: romance, characters, and logic. The original was about Perseus trying to save Andromeda because he's in love with her; this version is about Perseus doing the whole I-Refuse-To-Accept-My-Destiny thing that Hollywood thinks of as The Supreme Character Beat these days, and saving Andromeda because she's just another battle to win in his war against the gods. This means Andromeda is a potential victim, pure and simple; and as if to make amends for this blatant echo of the original myth (in which Andromeda is a potential victim pure and simple) Perseus is given a female sidekick called Io--who, in a typical example of Hollywood screenwriter logic, explains that she is ageless because she once refused the carnal advances of a god.

GREEK GOD: How dare you not want to screw me! As punishment, you will remain young and beautiful and never die!
IO: Oh no! Youth and immortality! A fate worse than death!
GREEK GOD: [an evil cackle] Mm-hm-hm-hm-hm-mwah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!
IO: Damn! I should have asked for money too!
GREEK GOD: Hah! And endless wealth! Take that!

Sam Worthington takes a meeting with the credited screenwriters.

Also defying logic: the plot. Instead of being a personal quest, it's a war movie--it's like the mythological version of Spartacus, with the Gods standing in for Rome and the mortals playing the slaves. Because really, if there were actual Gods and humanity was rebelling against them or even ignoring them? The one thing the Gods would not do is say: "I'm going to destroy your city in ten days, which gives you pathetic mortals more than enough time to find a way to stop me." This is the mythological equivalent of a Batman villain trapping our hero in an inescapable Rube Goldberg death trap and then leaving the room so he can escape. Instead of just, y'know, popping him twice in the chest and once in the head. Or instead of, in Greek God terms, saying: "You wanna rebel? Really? Fine. I just killed your king, destroyed your city, plowed the earth it used to lie on, and planted salt in the furrows. Tell me again how you don't like me and I'll really get angry." At least in the original there were gods with actual lines. In this one, they dress Danny Huston up as Poseidon, give him exactly one sentence to speak, and ignore everybody else except Zeus and Hades, who come off like a low-rent version of Yahweh and Satan.

"Hast thou considered my servant Job--wait--no--I mean Perseus."

Bottom line: Don't bother. And if you are going to bother, then don't do the 3-D version. And I say that as a man who would happily pay twenty bucks to watch Gemma Arterton model beer barrels for two hours.

An animated gif of this picture would be ten times more animated than all the acting combined.

1 comment:

Horvendile said...

And twice as divine.