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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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Hilary of Arles: It’s been said that youth is wasted on the young. In some ways, that was true for today’s saint. 
<p>Born in France in the early fifth century, Hilary came from an aristocratic family. In the course of his education he encountered his relative, Honoratus, who encouraged the young man to join him in the monastic life. Hilary did so. He continued to follow in the footsteps of Honoratus as bishop. Hilary was only 29 when he was chosen bishop of Arles. </p><p>The new, youthful bishop undertook the role with confidence. He did manual labor to earn money for the poor. He sold sacred vessels to ransom captives. He became a magnificent orator. He traveled everywhere on foot, always wearing simple clothing. </p><p>That was the bright side. Hilary encountered difficulty in his relationships with other bishops over whom he had some jurisdiction. He unilaterally deposed one bishop. He selected another bishop to replace one who was very ill–but, to complicate matters, did not die! Pope St. Leo the Great kept Hilary a bishop but stripped him of some of his powers. </p><p>Hilary died at 49. He was a man of talent and piety who, in due time, had learned how to be a bishop.</p> American Catholic Blog True freedom lies in the ability to align one’s actions freely with the truth, so as to achieve authentic human happiness both now and in the life to come. Jesus promised, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31–32).

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