“Now if they would only write the oldest stars into the stories,” said Maggie Smith, who was absent from this remake but figured prominently in the 80′s original, when she was already older than any hill this side of Mt. Olympus.
So Zeus rules the heavens and his brothers, Poseidon and Hades, rule the seas and the underworld, respectively. It’s like the Baldwin family: Alec runs Heaven, Daniel the underworld, and Steven is, from all reports, under water. Okay, so the Gods created mankind and the Baldwins only created “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here,” but otherwise, almost exactly the same.
Every day is hot-curled in Mt. Olympus. All the Gods enjoy the same Heavenly Perm. That explains Zeus’s warning to mankind: “Obey me or suffer the winds of a thousand blow-dryers!”
Meanwhile, on Earth, mankind lives on sand and gravel and dresses in rags not fit to dry the hair in the Olympus salon.
‘Tis an international Clash, this one. “All of us arise from different corners of the acting universe, yet none of us can fake an English accent,” acknowledged Perseus, son of Zeus, but un-blessed with Zeus’s follicular fortitude.
“When will Burgess Meredith appear and train me in the ways of a fighting soldier?” asks Perseus. “Because if there’s one person who looks to be a master of warfare and hand-to-hand combat, it’s Burgess Meredith.”
Sadly, Perseus is mistaking this for the 80′s, when Burgess Meredith was, among other things, alive.
“By all that is curly-headed,” commands Zeus, “release the Kracken!”
“Did he say to release the butt-crackin’?” asked a curly-headed Danny Huston as Poseidon, who will speak not a word in this movie if not for that one line.
“Nay, ’tis not a reference to Contractor Cracks, Poseidon!” warns Aprhodite who, it turns out, is missing arms just like her statue – and also missing many more meals than her statue.
“You may slight me, beauty-wench, but I shall turn the other butt cheek,” says Huston.
I’ll give credit to this Clash for a peek at the famous mechanical owl of the original. At my house I’ve got a problem with mechanical mice, so a mechanical owl would come in handy.
Ralph Fiennes co-stars as the evil Hades. Ralph, of course, is famous for two kinds of characters: Extraordinarily boring ones and extraordinarily evil ones. “We have developed a predictive model of Ralph’s performances,” noted a scientist at UC Berkeley. “Boring roles mean lower budgets, evil ones mean higher budgets. Ralph is the Punxsutawney Phil of movie budget prediction.”
Zeus is angry at the impertinence of the people of Argos, so he threatens to dash them into oblivion, despite the fact that their clothes already seem to be from the Oblivion branch of the Salvation Army.
So Zeus seeks his revenge against an uppity human by having sex with his wife. Who but a God to wield an erect staff? I don’t know about you, but if I never again hear a reference to “Zeus’s seed” it will be too soon, unless we’re talking about what’s sowing at his Mt. Olympus vegetable garden.
“Some men are born to be on MTV’s Jersey Shore. Others are born to kill the Kracken. You were born to kill the Kracken,” Perseus is told. “Just as your father, Zeus, was born to play with clay action figures.”
Beware the great scorpions, oh Perseus! As the saying goes, that which does not kill you will let you ride on its back – ever so slowly – across the countryside.
“By Zeus! We could walk faster than this scorpion is carrying us!”
“Yes, but long journeys are always more enjoyable with a giant stinger perched over your head. Besides, it’s either that or the creepy winged horse.”
And so Perseus and our heroes crawl over terrain astride great scorpions, clad in skirts and armor shaped like six-pack abs.
“Aye, where is yonder battle, West Hollywood?” joked passers-by.
Perseus visits a tribe of witches for advice on how to kill the Kracken. “These witches are blind – they carry an eye in their hand!” warned a soldier. “Aye, and ’tis bloodshot, like Andy Dick’s,” said another.
And so our heroes learn they must first kill Medusa, cut off her head, and use it to turn the Kracken to stone or to Larry King, in case there’s a difference.
“Regard yonder Medusa! She has the body of a snake and the breasts of a centerfold!”
“I’ve heard of head associated with wood, but never stone,” said a puzzled Perseus.
“‘Tis an unpleasant mental image to be sure,” muttered one soldier, “particularly in 3-D and at IMAX prices.”
In the end, humanity emerges victorious and Harry Hamlin is able to borrow 15 more minutes of fame.
What’s not to like?