Writer: Jonathan Lim Chin AunWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
“Troy”, “Percy Jackson & The Olympians”, “Hercules”
The title sequence carefully lays out the boundaries of the world. You have Zeus, father of the Gods, watching over mankind like an archetypical father figure would; Hades, Lord of the Underworld, plotting man's demise; and the film's monster showpiece, 'the Kraken', all silhouetted in the stars for our meagre eyes. Zoom past the fantastical majesty of the heavens and we are drawn to a charismatic but simple young man by the name of Perseus (Sam Worthington). He is born of a God but raised by a simple fisherman. What aspirations could a peasant-raised demigod really have?
A prologue with Zeus (played by Liam Neeson in a shimmering coat of armour) and Hades (Ralph Fiennes) clearly designates man as having grown contemptuous with the Gods. We see a crew of hostiles attempting to tear down the great statue of Zeus, but are then interrupted by Hades, who takes the form of several winged nasties in flight. Their battle is brief but the damage severe. The men are killed and the statue torn down. The statue's resulting crash into the sea creates a wave large enough to capsize a nearby boat. But, here is the twist - the boat carries the human family of Perseus. All but the demigod is killed in the resultant clash, leaving Perseus vengeful and ready for battle. The plot really takes shape from here.
But, like in most mythological stories the characters are not complex, but instead archetypical. What is interesting in relation to the 1981 original is the understanding of theology in this screenplay. The Gods are no longer portrayed as one-dimensional figures, but instead are depicted with very human characteristics and are differentiated from man only by their power and influence on the world. With this in mind, Perseus becomes particularly fascinating: he is a man who thinks like a God - making him a demigod.
There is a decrepit little performance by Ralph Fiennes as Hades. The special effects surrounding the character are what make this character especially compelling. He appears and reappears like a plume of smoke, taking shape like a demonic archangel with black wings made of smoulder and soot. The cinematography is nothing to shout about but there is hardly anything wrong with it either - as is the case with most Classical Hollywood Narrative, it is just filmed simply.
The film's highlights are evidently in the mythological creatures and its iconic imagery. The ferryman and the three witches are an exacting delight. An easy favourite would be the image of Perseus holding up the head of Medusa to the unsuspecting eyes of the Kraken.
As giant scorpions spawn from the blood of Acrisius' severed hand, the audience will be on the edge of their seats awaiting what other digital delights were to follow. There are a myriad of other characters and creatures, which are brought to life by a host of art directors, prosthetic designers, digital animators and special effects personnel. Pegasus and the Medusa are most noteworthy amongst the previously unmentioned. However, don't stay at home for this one - the special effects alone are worth the admission price.Cinema Online, 31 March 2010