Monday, July 11, 2005

Jason and the Argonauts

First, I wanted to remind everyone who would like to scratch their eyes out that part 3 of The Empire airs tomorrow (Tuesday) at 10PM. A special reminder goes out to David Meadows at rogueclassicism, whose memory regarding The Empire has been doing him a great favour the last two weeks.

Of course, you all have been duly warned about the horror that is that miniseries.

On the other hand, I have to admit to a certain guilty pleasure of mine. You see, dear readers, one of the Classics-related movies I actually adore is The Clash of the Titans. I am quite aware of its blatant inaccuracies and cheesiness, but--unlike The Empire--it is entertaining and, in my opinion, actually captures some of the idea behind Greek mythology. It is, by no means, a great movie, but it is fun.

With that in mind, I thought I'd finally get around to seeing Jason and the Argonauts (1963). I have to admit I don't like this one quite as much. It's not as interesting, and I am truly offended by the portrayal of Medea. It's not bad on the level of Troy and The Empire, and it does some things right that The Clash of the Titans does. But I'm partial to Medea, and I couldn't like Jason if you paid me.

Seriously, I have to agree with one of my professors who said that if people knew about Jason in Greek mythology, they wouldn't name their children after him. But I digress.

It's a movie to watch if you're bored and have nothing better to do. However, turning Medea into a helpless bystander made me mad! May Medea have her vengeance for that atrocity! I never expected accuracy out of this film, but I consider that Medea-slander--"Hell hath no fury" and all. You'd think they'd learn.

The other thing that confused me is if they could do a multi-headed hydra in 1963, why couldn't they have Cerberus with his full three heads in The Clash of the Titans? Oh well.

But you know what I like best about these old movies? They're not afraid to deal with the gods like the ancients did. I miss that in movies. What is with all this movement to reality on screen anyway? Whatever happened to imagination and the chance to escape reality through the creative arts? It makes me sad--almost as sad as watching The Empire does. Of course, that makes me sad for different reasons. It certainly takes creative license, but it does not use creativity or imagination in anything resembling a good way.

What I'd like to see, however, is the 2000 version of Jason and the Argonauts. I didn't know Derek Jacobi and Jolene Blalock were in that! Blalock should make an interesting Medea, at any rate, as I'll probably keep thinking of her as the Vulcan-that-was-not.

Of course, I just spent all my money on books, so that will have to wait.

And apparently, there is a "comedy with songs" based on Aeschylus' The Persians. What makes me (and my friend who showed me this) cringe, though, is the fact that this director, Ridgely, thinks that Aristotle "came up" with comedy and tragedy. He also seems to think that only Aeschylus wrote comedy and tragedy before Aristotle came along to define it. Right. This is material this guy should have covered in his history of theatre class. You don't even have to be a Classics major to know this.


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