Dark Heroes or Anti-Villains

It’s been an awfully long while since I took the time to actually write a blog post. I’ve been relying on twitter to keep this page at least looking like it’s still active. It’s not that I’m particularly busy, but more that I’m just disinterested or plain old lazy. Today, I’d like to talk about movies. Tasha and I have seen quite a few so far this year and we’ve been pretty much disappointed in each one, with the exception of Avatar. Here’s what we’ve seen:

Avatar, The Book of Eli, Legion, Surrogates, Percy Jackson and The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Shutter Island, Cirque du Freak: The Vampires Assistant, Where the Wild Things Are, Alice in Wonderland,  and most recently, Clash of the Titans

Lots of fantasy in that list. I love that we’ve gotten to the point with CGI and digital effects that we can make pretty much anything appear on screen; dragons, elves, hobbits, centaurs, magic, lasers, robots, or pretty much anything else that you can imagine. It’s great. I love it. But I’d like Hollywood to move on, mature, realize that all the great special effects should add to the story not replace it. I need to see good story. Good writing. I’m about full up with great looking trailers that lead to movies that are nothing more than one special effect blast linked to another with some lame dialogue and a paper thin story. I’d say it’s like watching a video game, but I’ve seen video games with better stories than most of these movies. And 3D… stop adding it to movies willy-nilly… I don’t like wearing those stupid glasses and your film is going to have to do enough with 3D to make up for me wearing them. Most don’t.

Let’s talk about Clash of the Titans. I think it’s a good example of many of the problems I have with recent movies. Clash is a movie that I was looking forward to, but even the trailers let me know I wasn’t going to be completely satisfied. I’m not going to tell you that the 1981 Harry Hamlin movie was the end-all-be-all, but I was 13, and it was the bomb for a kid that loved Dungeons & Dragons.

First, the 3D glasses dimmed the colors and brightness of the whole movie. I would have watched the movie without the glasses, but every time there was a 3D shot the screen goes blurry without the glasses on, which is very annoying. And even wearing the glasses wasn’t rewarded with much 3D outside of the seemingly obligatory flying scene that appears in every one of these movies and of course the ‘pop-out’ credits which you just can’t get away from. The 3D in this movie was obviously tacked on and not worth the effort.

There are many liberties taken with the myths by both films, but the original movie was truer to those myths. Probably, the core audience doesn’t care, but I appreciate the effort to stay true to the myth and have to say that I’m annoyed by the way the latest iteration strays from the story; or in some places completely invents itself.  Much of this rewriting of mythology is to accommodate my biggest problem with the film, a problem that I have with too much media these days… They went the dark and gritty Hollywood direction.

The original film was about love, Perseus performed his heroic actions to save Andromeda from being sacrificed to the kraken. It was a film that had the gods playing politics amongst themselves and the effects of that on man. The new film is about revenge and man vs. the gods, a strange thing in a tale about the son of a god. Perseus is out to KILL Hades (echoes of the popular video game God of War, anyone). Perseus is going to kill Hades because Hades killed his parents, and if he can bring down all the gods… so much the better. Pereus hates the gods and won’t use the gifts given to him. The whole story get’s twisted to make this point work. In the end, when he saves the princess Andromeda you don’t really know why he would have done so… I mean, really, he’s got another girlfriend, he hasn’t talked to Andromeda but once, and I really don’t know why he does it… maybe it’s something left over from the script rewrites.

I know this is a bit rambling and unfocused, but I’m just frustrated with movies, and media in general, of late. The long and short of it is that I see more and more stories based on characters marketed as dark heroes or anti-heroes when they’re really light villains or anti-villains. Characters that in any other story would be the bad guy. Characters that aren’t good. Han Solo was an anti-hero, a character that doesn’t fit the mold of a hero, a rogue with a heart of gold. What we’re seeing now are assassins, ninja’s (um, isn’t that an assassin as well?), poisoners, crime bosses, and worse being portrayed as characters we should emphasize with. Where are the guys with the white hats. That’s my two cents.Later.