I went to see the new version of this movie with a friend last night. I have to say I was very disappointed. I saw the original 1980 (I think) version when I was maybe 8 or 9 years old, and it blew me away! I saw it during a summer vacation in Tunisia. We were staying with family friends, and someone put the Betamax tape into the VCR. I was mesmerized! I’ve always loved Sci Fi and fantasy movies, they’re my favourite. I could not sleep that night, I kept dreaming of the evil Medusa!
They show the original on TCM once in a while, and I’ll sometimes sit and watch it (“By the Gods, another gift!”) So you can imagine that I went into the theatre with great expectations. With today’s technology, the movie must be 10 times better, I thought.
Well I was wrong! Here are some of my observations of the movie:
No emotional connection with the characters:
Though the film had some high calibre actors, I just could not connect with any of them. I love Liam Neeson for example, but somehow he did not do it for me as Zeus. The characters felt dry.
Too far removed from the original:
They changed the story line completely. Which I guess you need to do to keep the audience on their toes. But I think they went too far. For example, in this movie the hero Perseus refuses the gifts from the Gods. What?? The whole point of the movie is to see him using the magic sword, the powerful shield and invisibility helmet! “I want to do this as a man, not a God!” says Perseus. “Why?” ask his compatriots, which I was thinking too of course. What kind of idiot is given a magic sword and flying horse and then refuses to use them! Fool!
The movie seemed hurried:
I couldn’t help thinking they were in a rush when they made this movie. If I compare it to the original, or to Lord of The Rings for example, those movies had a nice, slow (but not too slow) pace to them. I kept feeling the producers wanted to get the film over and done with asap.
Pegasus hardly featured!
One of the things I enjoyed most in the original movie was Pegasus, the flying horse. In this movie he is referred to as “the Pegasus”, and there is no emotional bond between “the Perseus” and the horse. And he only uses him the last 20 minutes or so of the movie. Come on!!!
Over dependence on special effects:
I enjoy special effects in movies, but there seems to be too much dependence on CGI (computer generated imagery) these days, and this movie was no exception. It felt like the makers were hoping the special effects will carry the movie. Surely you can still BUILD some sets and put people into realistic monster costumes!
Fuzzy fight scenes:
This seems to be another fashion these days. What happened to the days when actors had to practice their choreographed fight scenes over and over until they looked perfect, natural. Now fight scenes are hazy, fuzzy and un-enjoyable to watch. Thank God for the Jackie Chans of this world who still take the art of fight choreography seriously.
No real romance:
The original movie had a nice love story between Perseus and princess Andromeda. In this movie Perseus falls in love with some weird old-yet-ageless women who had been “watching him since birth.” I wasn’t quite sure if she was some sort of “demigod” or something else. She appears and disappears in the movie a few times. And their “romance” is not very convincing. It was strange to see this group of armed warriors going on a quest being accompanied by this sexy, unarmed babe. As we say in Arabic, what is her place in the grammar?
The movie even had some supposed Jinn (Islamic ethereal beings, similar to angels) who spoke some sort of Arabic-like language. The movie could have done without them really.
Anyway, I hope I haven’t crushed your desire to see the movie 🙂 If you go with really low expectations, I think you might actually enjoy it.