Thursday, July 21, 2005

Jason and the Argonauts (2000)

Hrm, where to begin? I'm thinking my standards must have dropped drastically after weeks of suffering through The Empire. I certainly wasn't planning on liking this movie, because--let's face it--who can stand Jason?

That said, I still can't stand Jason, but there was certainly a lot more of Medea in this version than in the old one.

Certainly, they took some literary license with this version, but it is mythology, after all. The only detail that actually sent me into agonising pain was when Hercules said he was the son of Hera. I know they were trying to reconcile Hercules' presence on the Argos, but that hurt my head in about ten ways.

There was also the burning of the Argos at the end, which made me wonder how Jason would die later in life. The thing that vexed me about this movie was that it showed such promise for showing how Medea and Jason truly end up. They alluded to it a little after the middle of the story. However, by the end, it was a happy wedding scene. They had an interesting line that might have worked with Jason saying something about them bringing the the same harmony (or somesuch) as was in heaven, but they ruined that with a cutesy scene of Hera and Zeus kissing. I suppose you can still draw a parallel that Medea and Jason get along about as well as Hera and Zeus normally do, but it was sketchy. I wanted to see real Medea anguish. The bit where Zeus tries to seduce her, and she denies him for Jason was also too cheesy.

On the other hand, they did actually have Medea kill her brother. They didn't cut him to pieces, but they emphasised how much she lost when she could "see" that her father was killed too. It might have just been me, but I thought the relationship between Medea and her brother (I think they actually call him Aspyrtes, which is just weird) seemed like it would have grown incestuous if Jason hadn't come along. It was a bit creepy. They added a lot about Medea too, which was interesting, if a little out-there.

Jolene Blalock actually made a decent Medea, even if I could see T'Pol in her every once in a while.

Derek Jacobi, as usual, had a wonderful if short performance.

Olga Sosnovska as Atalanta was pretty good too. They really played up the women in this version. Although, I might have had more respect for her if she hadn't been pining after Jason so much (even though she could certainly kick his ass!). I suppose it's one of those inevitable choices when putting things into film, though.

I guess my last random comment is that the harpies actually looked decently scary in this version. In the old version, they actually look a lot like the vampire chicks in Van Helsing with Hugh Jackman. In this version, the dragon actually looked like a dinosaur, which I thought was an interesting touch. Oh! And they also showed Jason actually sowing the teeth with the fire-breathing ox (only one). That was nice.

Over all? Not a bad adaptation. There were problems, and I suppose it was lengthy. But it was entertaining and had some good moments. Some of the liberties they took seem questionable in terms of the characters we know in mythology, but they are mostly understandable in the film medium. Between the two Jason and the Argonauts movies, I'd pick this one hands down. It's not a great film, but it's certainly better than the old one.


Blogger Scott Oden said...

Was this the version with Dennis Hopper as Pelias? If so, I think I remember seeing it on cable. Have you seen the Odyssey with Armande Assante?

12:21 AM  
Blogger Glaukôpis said...

Yes, it was, and yes I have. My favourite thing about that version of the Odyssey was Bernadette Peters as Circe.

1:02 AM  
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