OK, MOST ACTION MOVIES ARE JUST EXCUSES FOR CLOSETED DIRECTORS TO FILM BUFF, SHIRTLESS MEN WITHOUT A SUBSEQUENT VISIT FROM THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY. IS THIS ONE ANY DIFFERENT?
Sort of. Though Sam Worthington is the newest hunk of man meat to grunt, glisten and growl through a series of bland action movies, all credit to the casting director for resisting the temptation to stock the credit roll with J Crew models. Yes, bathhouses across the nation will be in tizzy over this flesh feast but surprisingly all shirts remain fastened and there is not a single shot of our hero bathing in a stream. Commando, this is not.
SURELY THEY TOSSED IN SOME EYE CANDY FOR TEENAGED BOYS?
Why yes of course. Her name is Io, a woman “cursed” with agelessness (such a curse would fetch millions on the open market). Despite traversing a desert, climbing a mountain (without equipment I might add) and sleeping on dirt, gravel and grime, her skin remains milky and smooth with no blemish in sight. More curiously, despite never eating during the course of the journey, such meager caloric intake is enough to sustain a most luscious rack. Sadly, she hangs around only long enough to spout hippy vagaries that, in any reality I know, would warrant a swift arrest and transportation to the mental institution in Ponoka, before her innards are skewed on a mountainside. As the only woman within hundreds of miles of a Roman platoon dripping with testosterone, not a single soldier so much as acknowledges her presence. To a man, they are too preoccupied with Perseus’s nebulous quest to lust after the supermodel sleeping mere inches away.
DOES THE BROAD AT LEAST GET NAKED?
Nudity? That would be highly inappropriate. Yes, we are subject to savage pummelings, eviscerations, drownings, beheadings and even a dame trussed up, bound and gagged as some sort of sacrifice to the Cloverfield monster, yet the only flesh to be found are exposed shoulders peeking from beneath a toga.
YOU’RE GETTING AHEAD OF YOURSELF. WHAT’S THE DAMN MOVIE ABOUT?
Would you look at me differently if I said at no point in this atrocity did I know what the fuck was going on? The camera swooped and crashed, dirt and dust obscured the lens, computer generated soldiers were tossed back and forth in an unnatural blur, things crashed, banged and people were mindlessly slaughtered. Had they thrown in a crude racial stereotype – a sassy black mammy, for instance – I would have mistaken the picture for a Michael Bay film. Alas, I shall do my best to explain.
Worthington plays Perseus, just a boy in a basket, adopted by, from all appearances, a homeless man (not in the movie, in real life), his buxom wife and an assortment of wide-eyed brats. I guess the three minutes in which we spend with the dullards, where they exchange a mere 20 words aboard a rickety ship, we are meant to understand how loving and close the family was. Only in Hollywood, do siblings not harbor white hot jealousy and contempt for one another; nor do fathers longingly watch the retreating ass of the underage babysitter, wondering why his ever-expanding wife stopped using that fucking gym membership he bought her for Christmas; nor does the mother fantasize of taking her screeching, thankless spawn and submerging their heads beneath the surface of the nearest body of standing water. All is well in the picturesque Hollywood family, as no problem cannot be solved by following the principles of a Kirk Cameron movie or adding another child to the mix. Just as my thumb hovered above the STOP button on my remote, Hades (played with hammy gusto by Ralph Fiennes) dispatches the entire family – save our noble hero – to a watery grave. Thank fuck for that.
WAIT? WHY DID THE GOD OF THE UNDERWORLD MAKE AN APPEARANCE JUST TO SLAUGHTER A SINGLE FAMILY?
Aside from the hack writer having recently taken an Art of Screenwriting course at the local YMCA and, requiring an Inciting Incident, hatching this wretched scenario? My guess would be that Hades was sent into a murderous rage once a group of soldiers on a hilltop toppled a statue of Zeus (Liam Neeson) in the ocean. Zeus, after all, is Hades’ brother.
WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?
I don’t know. Romans or something pushed a statue of Zeus into the ocean. Hades rose up from the water and slaughtered them all – even the boat carrying Perseus’s boring family to show he meant business. So after watching them die, Pers-
WAIT. ARE ZEUS AND HADES NOT ENEMIES? WHY DOES HE CARE IF A HALF DOZEN MEN TOSSED A STATUE IN AN OCEAN? SURELY THIS ADVANCES HIS CAUSE OF GODLESSNESS AND CHOAS?
Well yes, but Hades and Zeus soon join forces to exterminate humans for not loving Zeus enough or something. So, like, in a way, they become friends. Although, at around the half hour mark it is revealed that Hades is not, in fact, on Zeus’ side but just said so for…well I have no fucking clue what his motivation was. Let it suffice that they were brotherly for a good 15 minutes.
EXTERMINATION OF EVERY HUMAN ON THE PLANET? I BELIEVE YOU HAVE ENTERTAINED SIMILAR NOTIONS.
In a world where Nicholas Cage is permitted to earn tens of millions of dollars, who wouldn’t? Anyway, back to the movie. It turns out Zeus raped Perseus’ mother and thus was born half human and half god. The woman’s real husband, mirroring the secret desire of every cuckold in world history, murders both woman and unborn baby, seals them in a coffin and launches the damn thing into the roaring maw of an angry sea.
I’M ALREADY LOSING INTEREST. GET TO THE END.
For some reason, destroying a Kraken will make the world whole again. Therefore, the Praetorian Guard, 10 minutes after meeting Perseus (eight of which he spends in what looks like Abu Gharaib’s finest cell) agree to help him in his quest to slay the beast. Along the way they are attacked by the same deranged man who spouts gospel behind the Mac’s across the street from my work; fight huge scorpions; kill Medusa; and use her head to turn the Kraken to stone as it rises from the sea to eat the sacrificial tart whose presence in the film was never accurately explained. Just for kicks, when Medusa is beheaded and her body slinks into a pit of fire, the torso inexplicablyexplodes. Why Medusa lives in a lair with molten lava as decoration is anyone’s guess.
IT ALL ENDS WELL RIGHT?
Absolutely. Perseus, riding a winged horse, gives chase to a demon carrying Medusa’s head in a burlap sack, retrieves the head somehow (I left the room to refill my rum and coke at this point) and humanity is saved. Although he had previously spent the entire length of the film scheming to bring about his own son’s grisly murder, Zeus proves he can be a good father after all by resurrecting the previously slaughtered Io. I guess reanimating a corpse for his son to bang passes for an act of love on Mount Olympus.
YOU REALIZE YOU’RE NEVER GETTING THOSE TWO HOURS BACK, RIGHT?
As I, like most in this world, will stop at nothing to distract myself from the soul-crushing loneliness and murderous rage directed towards those more successful, better looking and socially confident than me, I welcomed the distraction.
ANY LASTING LESSONS?
Zeus is a deadbeat dad.