Last year I went and saw Clash of Titans and liked it which probably made me one of five people who actually liked it. I suppose I have a genuine love for Greek Mythology so I get excited simply seeing it attempted on screen, or so I thought. In my original review of Clash I stated that I’d enjoy seeing a different character attempted on screen. My suggestions were either Bellophron or the story of Theseus and look now, it’s a little over a year and what we do have? A movie about Theseus… And it sucks. Why did someone like me who so closely follows reviews go see a panned movie? Once again I have a genuine love for the genre, plus Jon and I made a vow that we’d go see it… No matter what!
Going in I wasn’t very familiar with the story of Theseus aside from him defeating the Minotaur in the labyrinth so I can’t really vouch for how closely this follows the actual myth, though I’ll assume not very. Even reading up on Wikipedia I can see some glaring errors just in how the film handled it’s villain Hyperion (Mickey Rourke). Hyperion is portrayed in the film as a mortal king when in the myths he was a Titan, which means he in no way resembles his mythological counterpart. I could probably find holes like that ’till the hydra comes home but I’ll try and concentrate only on what is presented on screen and not any outside information.
After the god’s have failed to answer his prayers King Hyperion of Crete has declared war on Greece. Though in order to cement his success Hyperion needs to find a powerful weapon called the Epirus Bow. Once in possession of the bow Hyperion will be able to use it’s power to unleash the seal of the Titans and release them from Tartarus releasing utter chaos. Along his rampage Hyperion kidnaps the virgin oracle Phaedra (Frieda Pinto) to aid him, though I’m not sure what he’s trying to use her for. We learn she can see brief glimpses of the future but I’m not sure how it is exactly supposed to help. So she can like look further into the movie to a place they haven’t been yet to help them find something? It’s difficult to wrap the mind around not only because it’s so complicated but because it’s so incredibly stupid. Wrapped up in all this nonsense is our hero Theseus (Henry Cavill) a peasant and demi-god who swears vengeance on Hyperion after his village is destroyed and his mother killed. Theseus is a brave and gifted warrior who has been extensively trained by an old man (John Hurt) who is secretly Zeus (Luke Evans). So eventually Theseus saves Phaedra and teams up with her and Stephen Dorf in an attempt to seize the Epirus bow and secure the safety of Greece.
The plot sounds easy enough but is handled in a very sloppy manner. Characters we don’t know well, specifically the god’s jump in and out of the film for reasons that are never clear. Though what really tried my patience was the gods actions and their exact motivations. Zeus wants Theseus to defeat Hyperion in order to save Greece yet he refuses to physically fight Hyperion’s army, okay fine he is a god. But he will fight if Hyperion releases the Titans who have the potential to throw everything into peril if they escape Tartarus? Hmm, then wouldn’t it be more logical to simply kill Hyperion than risk him unleashing something a million times worse? So the gods can only interfere when the Titans are released but why is that exactly? A clear explanation is never given of the god’s role in this world and I was just plain confused. Sure they drew this from greek myth, which kind of predate good story structure, so it’s not entirely their fault but it’s the 21st century now and I can’t buy plot holes just because someone was too lazy to come up with some answers. Though if there’s one thing that really pisses me off it’s that they got rid of the freakin’ labyrinth and the freaking ‘Minotaur! The two cool things about Theseus have now been reduced to a single scene where Theseus fights some guy in a bull costume in some small room. Later the event is interpreted by the peasants as a man who fought a minotaur but why couldn’t it just be a minotaur to start with? Like it’s that hard to buy that a minotaur exists when you have gods flying around everywhere.
On the positive side this movie looks stunning. Like Roger Ebert said, “It’s the best looking bad movie I’ve ever seen” and that sounds about right. Tarsem has already proven himself to be a great visionary when it comes to treating the screen like a canvas, if only he knew how to tell a proper story. The effects are as well marvelous and the gory fights are all worth praise. Wrapping it up this movie looks great but is not good so it kind of evens out to a so-so mish mash, maybe you should rent it but don’t rush out to see it in theaters.