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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Clash of the Titans

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service


Sam Worthington stars in a scene from the movie "Clash of the Titans."
Though hardly a favorite with critics, Desmond Davis' 1981 swords-and-sandals exercise, "Clash of the Titans," was a box-office hit on its initial release and has gone on to become something of a cult classic. Perhaps that's the impetus behind director Louis Leterrier's 3-D remake (Warner Bros.) which retains the original title.

Whatever the motivation, the result is a muddled mythological epic in which long, frequently violent action sequences and an emphasis on special effects leave little room for engaging drama.

Like the original, this is a retelling of the ancient Greek myth of the demigod Perseus (Sam Worthington). The offspring of one of Zeus' (Liam Neeson) characteristic dalliances with a beautiful mortal, the infant Perseus and his mother are both cast into the sea by her enraged husband, Calibos (Jason Flemyng). This despite the fact that Zeus had temporarily disguised himself as Calibos for the encounter. So how was poor Mom to know?

Unlike his mother, Perseus survives, and is rescued and raised by the family of a simple fisherman. As a teen, however, Perseus is left orphaned when his entire clan is killed off during a rampage by Hades (Ralph Fiennes), the god of death.

Determined to defend humankind and gain vengeance on the lord of the underworld, Perseus embarks on a quest that sees him and a small band of hardy companions—including his immortal spiritual guide and intrepid comrade Io (Gemma Arterton)—battling giant crabs, the Medusa, an ubermonster called the Kraken and, eventually, Hades himself.

Though the theme of a human revolt against the divine -- even in its debased pagan form—is potentially troubling, the collaborative script by Travis Beacham, Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi treats the subject so inconsistently that audiences will be hard put to draw any direct analogies or arrive at any definite conclusions.

Characters display a variety of reactions to the uprising, ranging from outright defiance to fearful submission to quiet, sensible piety and on to the rabble-rousing attitude and activities of a religious fanatic who pops up in a few scenes.

But weighty matters like theology are hardly the point here, as it's never long before the next in Perseus' formidable succession of adversaries takes center stage, and combat is renewed.

The film contains complex, though undeveloped, religious themes, constant action violence, a bedroom encounter with implied sexual activity, at least one sexual reference and a couple of mildly crass terms. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is A-III—adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13—parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of the Office for Film & Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.



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Jeanne Jugan: 
		<p>Born in northern France during the French Revolution—a time when congregations of women and men religious were being suppressed by the national government, Jeanne would eventually be highly praised in the French academy for her community's compassionate care of elderly poor people.</p>
		<p>When Jeanne was three and a half years old, her father, a fisherman, was lost at sea. Her widowed mother was hard pressed to raise her eight children (four died young) alone. At the age of 15 or 16, Jeanne became a kitchen maid for a family that not only cared for its own members, but also served poor, elderly people nearby. Ten years later, Jeanne became a nurse at the hospital in Le Rosais. Soon thereafter she joined a third order group founded by St. John Eudes (August 19).</p>
		<p>After six years she became a servant and friend of a woman she met through the third order. They prayed, visited the poor and taught catechism to children. After her friend's death, Jeanne and two other women continued a similar life in the city of Saint-Sevran. In 1839, they brought in their first permanent guest. They began an association, received more members and more guests. Mother Marie of the Cross, as Jeanne was now known, founded six more houses for the elderly by the end of 1849, all staffed by members of her association—the Little Sisters of the Poor. By 1853 the association numbered 500 and had houses as far away as England.</p>
		<p>Abbé Le Pailleur, a chaplain, had prevented Jeanne's reelection as superior in 1843; nine year later, he had her assigned to duties within the congregation, but would not allow her to be recognized as its founder. He was removed from office by the Holy See in 1890. </p>
		<p>By the time Pope Leo XIII gave her final approval to the community's constitutions in 1879, there were 2,400 Little Sisters of the Poor. Jeanne died later that same year, on August 30. Her cause was introduced in Rome in 1970, and she was beatified in 1982 and canonized in 2009. </p>
		<p> </p>
American Catholic Blog The joy of the Lord is our strength. Therefore, each of us will accept a life of poverty in cheerful trust. We will offer cheerful obedience from our inward joy. We will minister to Christ in the distressing disguise of the poor with cheerful devotion. If our work is done with joy, we will have no reason to be unhappy.

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