Archive for kraken

Clash of the Titans (2010)

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Long ago, three Olympians—Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades—battled the Titans. Hades provided their means of defeating the Titans with his creation, the Kraken. After the Titans’ defeat, Zeus created land-animals (including humans) and ruled them while Poseidon ruled the sea and its creatures. But Zeus deceived Hades and forced him to rule the Underworld. Zeus and his fellow gods on Mount Olympus rely on the prayers of humans to sustain their power.

Millennia later, a fisherman named Spyros finds a coffin adrift in the sea. In it are infant Perseus and his dead mother, Danaë. Spyros raises Perseus as his own son. Years later, the adult Perseus and his family are fishing when they witness a group of soldiers from Argos destroying a massive statue of Zeus as a declaration of war against the Gods. Hades takes the form of harpies to massacre the soldiers. In the battle, Perseus’ family’s fishing boat is destroyed, killing all except Perseus. The surviving soldiers take Perseus back to Argos. During a feast for the returning soldiers, King Kepheus and Queen Cassiopeia of Argos compare themselves and their daughter Andromeda to the Aphrodite, much to their daughter’s dismay. Having convinced Zeus to punish Argos, Hades appears in the courtroom, kills the remaining soldiers and ages Cassiopeia to the brink of death. Recognizing that Perseus is the Demigod son of Zeus, Hades threatens that if Princess Andromeda is not sacrificed to the Kraken, Argos will be destroyed in ten days. Hermes, the Messenger God, informs Zeus that Perseus is in Argos and suggests offering him sanctuary. Zeus refuses.

The King imprisons Perseus because he will not fight with Argos against the gods. Io, a woman who does not age as punishment for refusing to be seduced by the God Ares, reveals to Perseus’s true lineage: in order to punish King Acrisius for his war on the Gods, Zeus seduced Danaë while disguised as Acrisius and impregnated her. When Acrisius set Danaë and the baby Perseus adrift in their coffin, an enraged Zeus struck Acrisius with lightning, leaving him hideously disfigured. After learning that killing the Kraken would allow him to have his revenge against Hades, whom he blames for Spyros’s death, Perseus agrees to lead Argos’ finest soldiers embark on a quest to find the Stygian Witches. They are joined by a pair of hunters named Ozal and Kucuk; Io follows as well. Hades finds Acrisius, now called Calibos, and reveals his plan to use the Kraken to destroy Argos and thereby weaken Zeus and gain his revenge for his betrayal after the Titan battle. Hades imbues Calibos with superhuman powers in order to kill Perseus.

While in the woods, Perseus discovers a sword forged in Olympus, as well as Zeus’ sacred herd of flying horses, the Pegasus. However, Perseus refuses both the sword—which only he can use—and Pegasus that the Gods were offering as assistance, as he does not wish to become a God. Calibos attacks the group and tries to murder Perseus, is forced to flee after Draco cuts off his hand. However, Calibos’ blood forms giant scorpions from the sand that attack Perseus and his group. Though they slay several scorpions, most of the group are slain, and the survivors are surrounded by more of the monsters. They are saved by the Djinn, a band of shamans once human, who have turned themselves into the Demons of Arabian mythology by replacing their earthly flesh with ash and stone, thus making them immortal. The mysterious beings are able to hypnotize the scorpions into submission. Though not trusted prior to healing Perseus’ wound, the Djinn leader, Sheikh Sulieman, joins Perseus’ group as the Djinn also wish to see the Gods overthrown.

The heroes arrive at Garden of Stygia, learning from the Stygian Witches that the head of the Gorgon Medusa could kill the Kraken by turning it to stone. When they tell Perseus his group will die in the process, all of the Djinn except for Suleiman to leave them. Perseus is visited by Zeus who offers him asylum on Mount Olympus, but he refuses. Zeus gives him instead a golden drachma, which Perseus later learns is a means to bribe Charon for passage into the Underworld. In the battle with Medusa, only Perseus survives to behead her. Emerging from the Underworld, Perseus sees Calibos stab Io from behind. Perseus kills him using the sword from Olympus, which restores Acrisius to human form. Perseus stays with the dying Io until she passes on and flies away in gold dust to Olympus. He then rides Pegasus back to Argos with Medusa’s head to find some of Argos’ citizens have formed a Cult of Hades and are planning to sacrifice Andromeda to the Kraken. As the Kraken is released, Hades reveals to Zeus that the destruction of Argos will give him enough power to overthrow the other Olympians, but Zeus reveals Perseus is still alive in Argos.

Although Hades tries to use his harpies to kill Perseus, he uses the head of Medusa to turn the Kraken into stone and rescue Andromeda. He then uses the sword of Olympus, amplified by with Zeus’ lightning, to banish Hades back to the Underworld. Andromeda asks Perseus to become king of Argos, but he declines. Zeus again offers Perseus sanctuary, but Perseus rejects this as well. Warning that Hades will someday return, Zeus resurrects Io and disappears.

REVIEW:

Let’s get one thing out of the way…as any avid read of this blog knows, I HATE REMAKES!!!! However, Clash of the Titans didn’t leave me feeling dirty the way that the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still did.

If I wouldn’t have known this was a remake of the early 80s classic Clash of the Titans, then I might have actually liked it a bit more…maybe. As it is, though, this remake does what they all do, and that is take out the fun and whimsy that makes the original so great and replace with darker, more depressing themes and CGI effects.

For instance, let’s take Perseus, in the original, he is a prideful, reluctant hero, as he is here, but not so much that he refuses assistance from the Gods which inadvertently causes the death of some soldiers. That is some of today’s thinking, where we don’t want help from anyone. Also, would it have hurt these people to use Bebo? Come on, seriously, the mechanical owl was one of the best parts of the original, yet they totally eradicated his character, except for a quick cameo near the beginning, which sort of felt like they were making fun of it. I’m assuming they meant Io to replace him, and while she was an upgrade in terms of looks and all, she just doesn’t compare.

Continuing with the lack of whimsy, one of the biggest things that I felt was missing was the chess game the gods play with the humans in the original. Where was this? I read that the filmmaker thought this was stupid and juvenile. WTF?!? They need to get over themselves. The game was severely missed, as it played more of an integral part to the plot than one would imagine until it is gone.

I also have to wonder where were the statues that came to life and spoke? Let me guess, the filmmakers thought this would have been too unrealistic, right? As if a the Kraken, Medusa, and just about everything else is real. Ugh!

I can’t comment on the 3D conversion of this film, as I say it in the comfort of my own home, as opposed to in the theaters, but I hear that it actually looks better in 2D.

Let me just touch on the plot here for a second, it is not the same as the original, but from my understanding, it is closer to the source material. You can make the case that is a good or bad thing. For me, it didn’t work. I’m of the belief that if you’re going to change stuff, then change it, don’t change select parts and leave the rest the same. That would be like putting a brand new modern tires on an old car while you just get refurbished parts for the rest of it. Sure it may work, but there is just something odd about the whole thing. That is the same feeling this film brought me. 

On top of that, the whole Calibos this seem to have been taken out. I mean, he’s in there, but it only for like two scenes, the one where he’s introduced and the other where he attacks the soldiers…oh, and there’s the last one where he and Perseus have their final confrontation. Much different than the original where he is THE major villain.

The action scenes here are a true highlight of the film, to be sure, but they seem…I dunno…a bit too rehearsed. Sort of like a fight you would see on a theater stage, as opposed to just a rough and tumble brawl, especially the whole Medusa scene. That just felt like an elaborate dance.

Speaking of Medusa, and pretty much all the creatures in this flick, you can say that CGI is better than stop-motion animation, but I will not agree with you. There is just something to stop-motion that makes it better, perhaps it is the fact that someone actually took the time to work with their hands instead of just moving a mouse around pressing some buttons.

The Kraken didn’t impress me the way it should have. I mean, this thing is supposed to be a big bad creature that strikes fear in the hearts of men. Now, I’m not talking about the fact that it is CGI, because the second and third Pirates of the Caribbean films had no issue with that, but rather the fact that they had this thing in the first trailer for the film. What makes the Kraken such a force is its mystique. In the original film, you barely hear about it, except for a mention in the beginning that sends them on the quest for Medusa’s head. I think this Kraken was a victim of the studios desperate attempt to gain a fanbase for this film. As we all know, people like me who hate remakes, are not likely to see their favorite films bastardized if they can help it.

The cast of this film is ok, but not great.

I’m not sure if I agree with having such great actors as Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes in such medial roles. Well, Neeson is filling the shoes of Sir Laurence Olivier, but Fiennes seems like he’s still in Voldemort mode, but without the makeup. Nothing wrong with that, but this is a totally different character, can’t he come up with different mannerisms?

Sam Worthington seems to be the new go-to action star. The problem is, this guy seems to play the same character. I mean, he played Perseus the same way he played Jake Sulley in Avatar. The only difference is that he was speaking with his natural Australian accent. I didn’t know that the Greeks spoke like that, did you?

Gemma Arterton light up the screen everytime she appears as Io, the beautiful protector of Perseus. Her performance leaves a bit to be desired, though, but seeing as how, as I said earlier, she is replacing a mechanical owl for the most part, I can overlook that, not to mention, she is drop dead gorgeous.

I went into this film with an open mind, but this remake further proves why I think they need to stop making them. The love for the original is there, as is the respect for those of us that share that affection, since they tried to keep much of the original story, however, the changes they made ruined the whole story and made a completely different, unenjoyable film. If not for the action scenes, which aren’t as good as some would have you believe, this thing would be much worse than it is. Having said that, it doesn’t suck, and I won’t lose any respect for you if you decide to check it out. My personal recommendation, though, is to stick to much more enjoyable original, rather than this subpar, average, bastard offspring of it. Can you belive they’re making a sequel to this mess?

3 out of 5 stars

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Clash of the Titans

Posted in Action/Adventure, Classics, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2008 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

King Acrisius of Argos expresses anger towards Zeus for impregnating his daughter, Princess Danae. He then casts Danae and her infant son Perseus out to sea in a wooden chest. Unknown to everyone, a white bird who witnessed everything was really Poseidon, who informs Zeus of Acrisius’ unfaithfulness. Zeus orders Poseidon to release the Kraken to destroy Argos by flooding the entire kingdom. While Acrisius and his kingdom are left completely devastated, Danae and Perseus are safely brought to the island of Seriphos where they live a happy life and Perseus grows up to manhood.

Calibos – the spoiled son of Thetis, the goddess of the Sea – was a handsome young man destined to marry Princess Andromeda, the daughter of Queen Cassiopeia and heir to the rich city of Joppa and eventually all of Phoenicia. Zeus entrusted Calibos to care for the Wells of the Moon; Calibos instead hunted, trapped and killed everything that lived there, including Zeus’ sacred herd of flying horses, leaving only the stallion Pegasus alive. As punishment, Zeus transforms Calibos into a monster and he is shunned and forced to live as an outcast in the swamps and marshes. Thetis, furious at her son’s fate, vows that if Calibos cannot marry Andromeda, then no other man will either.

Perseus is brought by Thetis from his island home on Seriphos to Joppa. He learns of Andromeda and her plight: she cannot marry unless her suitor successfully answers a riddle, which is given to her by Calibos. Any suitor that fails to answer the riddle correctly is burned at the stake. Using a number of gifts given to him by the gods, including the winged horse Pegasus and a helmet given to him by Athena that renders its wearer invisible, he discovers the answer to the riddle. Calibos nearly captures him, but Perseus cuts off his hand with a sword (another divine gift, this one from the goddess Aphrodite).

At the next ceremony for a new suitor, Perseus enters, answers the riddle correctly and presents Calibos’s severed hand, winning Andromeda’s hand in marriage.

At the Temple to Thetis, Calibos prays to his mother Thetis to take vengeance on Perseus for cutting off his hand. Thetis tells Calibos that she cannot do that because Perseus is protected by Zeus, but she can take vengeance on Joppa.

At the wedding, held in the temple of Thetis, Queen Cassiopeia compares Andromeda’s beauty to that of Thetis herself, which angers the goddess. The statue of Thetis collapses and its head comes to life demanding Andromeda as a sacrifice to a sea monster (the Kraken, a modern addition to the myth; the Greek version had Cetus as the sea monster) in 30 days, and still a virgin; otherwise, the Kraken will destroy Joppa.

Perseus seeks a way to defeat the Kraken, the last of the Titans, who were the race of monsters that pre-dated the gods. When Zeus commands Athena to give Perseus her owl, she instead orders Hephaestus to build the mechanical owl Bubo as an aid for Perseus. Bubo leads Perseus to the Stygian Witches, three blind women who disclose that the only hope of survival in combat against the Kraken is by using the head of another monster, Medusa the Gorgon. Medusa was once a beautiful woman but, because she dared to make love with Poseidon in Aphrodite’s temple, was transformed by Aphrodite into a horrible monster. Meeting Medusa’s gaze will turn any living creature to stone, including the Kraken. She makes her home on the Isle of the Dead, which lies across the River Styx, at the very edge of the Underworld. Perseus travels there and kills her, removing her head, though he must contend with Calibos (who has replaced his lost hand with a trident-like blade) along the way – whom he finally kills with Aphrodite’s sword.

Just as Andromeda is about to be sacrificed to the Kraken, Perseus appears astride Pegasus and turns the Last Titan to stone with Medusa’s head, which is then cast into the ocean where it can do no more damage. Perseus frees Andromeda and they live happily together. The hero and heroine become constellations at the decree of Zeus, who does the same for Pegasus and Cassiopeia.

REVIEW:

Last week, I reviewed Jason and the Argonauts. Clash of the Titansis similar in scope to that film. It may even be the better film. In comparison, this has the better monsters, but Jason had the better plot.

I don’t have much criticism for this movie, other than the first hour seemed to take forever to get going and is a bit confusing in parts. Other than that, this is a very entertaining picture, especially if you love stop-motion animation and Greek mythology.

Sadly, I belive this is the last of the stop-motion pictures. That alone should be enough of a reason to watch, right?

I can’t believe they “have” to re-make this. On top of that, they want it to rated ‘R’! What is this world coming to, when a good film like this can’t be left alone. Is no one capable of independent thought anymore? Trust me, there are plenty of bad Greek mythology movies that could do with a remake. Why mess with one of the good ones?

4 out of 5 stars

Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man’s Chest

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 14, 2008 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The East India Trading Company arrives in Port Royal, Jamaica, to extend its monopoly in the Caribbean and purge piracy from its waters. Leading the expansion is Lord Cutler Beckett, a powerful and ruthless EITC agent who arrests Elizabeth Swann and Will Turner as they are about to be married. Beckett threatens to execute them and the absent ex-Commodore James Norrington for aiding Captain Jack Sparrow’s escape, but he offers clemency if Will agrees to hunt for Sparrow and his magical compass which points to what its possessor wants most. An informant in Tortuga leads Will to the Black Pearlrun aground on Pelegosto, a cannibal-inhabited island where Jack and his crew are captive. Jack hid there after “Bootstrap Bill” Turner, Jack’s former crewmate and now an indentured sailor aboard Captain Davy Jones’ ghost ship, the Flying Dutchman, delivered Jack the Black Spot, a mark signifying his debt to Jones is due. Thirteen years before, Jones raised the Black Pearl from the ocean depths and made Jack its captain. In exchange, Jack must now serve aboard the Flying Dutchman for 100 years.

Will, Jack, and a few crew members escape their captors, unexpectedly recruiting Pintel and Ragetti along the way, and head for sea. Will learns that Jack has been searching for a particular key. He agrees to give Will the compass if he helps him find the key and the object it unlocks. Seeking assistance from Tia Dalma, an obeah priestess, Jack learns the compass fails to work because he does not know what he truly wants. The key, Tia tells him, unlocks the Dead Man’s Chest containing Davy Jones’ still-beating heart—to avoid lost love’s pain, Jones carved the heart from his chest and buried it. Whoever possesses the heart controls Davy Jones, thereby controlling the world’s oceans. Back at sea, the Flying Dutchman encounters Sparrow, who deviously attempts to barter Will in exchange for himself. Jones demands 100 souls within three days in exchange for Jack’s freedom and keeps Will as a “good faith payment,” leaving Jack only 99 more souls to harvest.

In Port Royal, Governor Weatherby Swann frees Elizabeth. Confronting Beckett at gunpoint, she forces him to validate a Letter of Marque—a royal document with which Beckett intends to recruit Sparrow as a privateer, and which Elizabeth wants for Will. Posing as a cabin boy on a merchant vessel, Elizabeth lands in Tortuga where she finds Jack and Gibbs desperately recruiting unsuspecting sailors in a pub to pay off his blood debt. A disheveled Norrington also applies. Blaming Sparrow for his ruin, he tries to shoot him and ignites an angry brawl, but Elizabeth knocks Norrington out and saves Sparrow. At the pier, Jack reveals the compass’ secret to Elizabeth; it points to what the holder wants most in the world. When he convinces her that she can save Will by finding the chest, she gets a bearing. Once the ship is underway, however, an attraction arises between Jack and Elizabeth.

On Isla Cruces, Jack, Norrington, and Elizabeth find the Dead Man’s Chest. Will, who has escaped the Flying Dutchmanwith help from his father, Bootstrap Bill, arrives with the key he stole from Davy Jones. Will wants to stab the heart to free his father, but Jack fears that with Jones dead, the Kraken will continue hunting him as there will be no one to call it off, while Norrington desires the heart to bargain back his naval career. As a three-way swordfight erupts, the arrival of Jones’ crew and Pintel and Ragetti’s attempt to make off with the chest complicate matters even more. Norrington ultimately escapes with the heart and the Letters of Marque while Jones’ crewmembers retrieve the now-empty Dead Man’s Chest.

The Flying Dutchman pursues the Black Pearl but, with the wind behind them, the Black Pearloutruns her. Jones summons the Kraken. Jack escapes the Black Pearlin the last longboat; but unable to desert his crew, he returns in time to save them. He gives the order to abandon ship before the Kraken makes its final assault. ‎Realizing the Kraken is only hunting Jack, a deceptive Elizabeth passionately kisses him while handcuffing him to the mast. Wracked with guilt over her betrayal, Elizabeth tells the others Jack chose to remain behind, unaware that Will now believes she loves Sparrow. Jack escapes the shackles just as the Kraken resurfaces: Jack draws his cutlass and goes down fighting as the Kraken lunges for him; the colossal beast drags him and the Black Pearl to a watery grave.

Davy Jones declares Jack’s debt settled, although he becomes enraged when he discovers an empty Dead Man’s Chest. Meanwhile, Norrington makes his way to Port Royal and delivers the heart and the Letters of Marque to Cutler Beckett. Elizabeth, Will, and the surviving Black Pearlcrew seek refuge with Tia Dalma, who asks if they would be willing to save Jack from Davy Jones’ Locker. When all agree, Tia Dalma sends them on a journey to World’s End to rescue Jack, saying they will need a captain who knows those waters—the resurrected Captain Barbossa.

REVIEW:

I love how the Pirates films remind you of the old Hollywood action movies. This one really does, especially the scenes with the Kraken.

This may be the best of the trilogy and my favorite. It delves a little more into Jack’s ability to captain a ship and doesn’t make him seem incompetent like in the first film. Also, Gibbs is given a larger and more important role in this one. Something he should have had in the first one as well.

Elisabeth was wasted in this film, though. It seemed at times like they just put her in so there coulkd be a female presence. Lord Beckett and his right hand man are obviously being set up to be the villains and have something bigger on the horizon, but it seems like this whole film is a stopping off point between the first and third films.

That being said, I love how it ends. It’s reminiscent of Empire Strikes back. Things seem to be headed to hell in a hand basket, and then something happens to remind you that the next film is gonna be something to see.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars