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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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Pierre Toussaint: 
		<p>Born in modern-day Haiti and brought to New York City as a slave, Pierre died a free man, a renowned hairdresser and one of New York City’s most well-known Catholics. <br /><br />Pierre Bérard, a plantation owner, made Toussaint a house slave and allowed his grandmother to teach her grandson how to read and write. In his early 20s, Pierre, his younger sister, his aunt and two other house slaves accompanied their master’s son to New York City because of political unrest at home. Apprenticed to a local hairdresser, Pierre learned the trade quickly and eventually worked very successfully in the homes of rich women in New York City. <br /><br />When his master died, Pierre was determined to support his master’s widow, himself and the other house slaves. He was freed shortly before the widow’s death in 1807. </p>
		<p>Four years later he married Marie Rose Juliette, whose freedom he had purchased. They later adopted Euphémie, his orphaned niece. Both preceded him in death. He attended daily Mass at St. Peter’s Church on Barclay Street, the same parish that St. Elizabeth Seton attended. <br /><br />Pierre donated to various charities, generously assisting blacks and whites in need. He and his wife opened their home to orphans and educated them. The couple also nursed abandoned people who were suffering from yellow fever. Urged to retire and enjoy the wealth he had accumulated, Pierre responded, “I have enough for myself, but if I stop working I have not enough for others.” <br /><br />He was originally buried outside St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, where he was once refused entrance because of his race. His sanctity and the popular devotion to him caused his body to be moved to St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue. <br /><br />Pierre Toussaint was declared Venerable in 1996.</p>
American Catholic Blog We have a responsibility to balance the scales, to show love where there is hate, to provide food where there is hunger, and to protect what is vulnerable. If life has treated you well, then justice demands that you help balance the scales.

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