The World of Myth Movie Reviews


The World of Myth Movie Reviews

Hi there! It's Movie Goer Grim and welcome to this issue's Movie Reviews. This month we are going to look at some of the hottest releases on DVD, so let's get to it.

The first movie we are going to grade is M. Night Shyamalan's "The Village". This film seemed a bit off track, as far as a story basis goes. It had two plots that didn't really tie into each other, at least as far as I was able to see. Okay, let me try to explain myself.

In the first part of the movie, the focus was set on a small puritan village, located out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by thick forest. The villagers were trapped within their village, but if anyone were brave enough to go into and through the forest, they would come face to face with the monstrous creators, known only as, "Them we do not speak of".

Then, right in the middle of the film, the whole bleedin' plot changes. Now, the heroine must travel through the woods to find the closest town to get medication to save her lover's life.

As an M. Night fan, I was truly disappointed in this effort! It was not one of his best films and I think he tried too hard to make another "Sixth Sense" movie. So, for "The Village", I only give a weak, half a howl of pleasure.

Next, we examine Jim Carey in "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind". This film comes to us from Focus Films (which I believe will be the next big production studio in Hollywood). With films like "Lost in Translation" and now this movie, Focus is making the 'Artistic Movie' once again enjoyable to watch.

The plot line of "Spotless Mind" is simple enough to follow. Joel (Carey) tries to have his ex-girlfriend Clementine (Kate Winslet) erased from his mind, but he finds that no matter what he does, he just can't get her out of his heart. With this movie, the underlying theme is very powerful, even though some people I have talked to said that is was somewhat 'long and drawn out'. I agree with that statement, to a certain extent, but nonetheless it was a very good movie and from it we are all once again reminded that even if we had the power to do so, we can never change the 'Hands of Fate'. So, for "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", I give three very loud and strong howls of pleasure.

With all that being said, I remind you not to take my word for it, but go see these movies and judge for yourself.

Hey, don't stop reading just yet--we're only at the halfway point. To finish out the duties for this month's review, I'll hand it over to Reaper Rick. Welcome back, dude! And as always, I remain...

Movie Goer Grim. Take it away, Rick!

Yeah, thanks, Grim. Hey gang, it's Reaper Rick, out on a two day pass from the Sanatorium, so I thought we'd give you a double dose this month--so that's two great movie reviews for the price of...well, nothing!

Anyway, since this is, after all, the "World of Myth", I want to review a couple of recent DVD releases that are both based on famous 'myths'. These movies have been out for a while, but may not have been widely seen in theatres. I myself didn't bother to watch them until they came out on DVD, because I didn't feel any film could really do justice to these myths. But I was wrong, so if you haven't seen them yet, do it now!

The first spectacular movie is "Troy", starring Brad Pitt. For those of you not up on your Greek mythology, this film is based on Homer's "Iliad" (no, not Homer 'Simpson'--the other famous one) and recreates the Greek attack and sacking of the great city of Troy, around 1190 BC. (While legend has it that the Greeks laid siege to Troy for 10 years before finally crushing the Trojans, the movie condensed this battle into a mere few days).

Pitt plays the brooding, moody and arrogant Greek hero, Achilles, the greatest warrior of the period. According to legend, Achilles was born of a human father, but had a wood nymph for a mother. Since only half his genes came from the gods, his mother worried that he might be injured or killed as he grew older (not an unfounded fear, since the Greeks were always at war with someone). To protect her baby son, she dipped him in the River Styx, to make him immortal (the River Styx being the Greek boundary between the world of the living and the world of the dead).

This dunking did indeed make Achilles invincible in battle, but since his mother held him by his heel (or ankle, depending on who tells the story) as she dipped him in the river, his heel was not immersed and was therefore the only vulnerable spot on his body.

But, back to the movie. Aside from telling the story of the fall of Troy fairly well and bringing the legend of Achilles to life, the special effects were terrific! Over 10,000 warriors battled on the plains before Troy and the Greeks sent some 500 ships across the sea to wage their war and all of this was recreated with amazing realism in the film.

And the battle scenes were extraordinary--both the huge army battles, as well as the single combat scenes. I had heard that the main weapon of both the Greeks and Trojans was a 3-5 meter long spear, but I had never seen actual 'spear fighting' demonstrated until I watched this movie. Totally Awesome! If you like that sort of thing.

Historically speaking, they did pretty well matching (legendary) facts to the film, with a few exceptions. Like, a ten year war only lasting a few days. In reality, the Trojans probably could have held out indefinitely if the Greeks hadn't used that big horse to sneak a group of warriors inside the city, where they opened the gates, allowing the Greeks to torch Troy.

Another slight discrepancy in the film was that Patroclus was not Achilles' cousin, but was his 'good friend', which no doubt meant that they were lovers in the 'real world'. Then there was Achilles' warrior companion, Ajax, who was killed off in the movie, but in reality outlived Achilles, but went mad after Paris killed Achilles by shooting him in the ankle with an arrow (as well as in a number of other places) and Ajax then committed suicide.

Today, Achilles is remembered as our 'Achilles tendon', which runs from the ankle, up the back of our legs. Ajax didn't fare quite so well, but has been immortalized as a kitchen and bathroom cleanser, while the Trojans are remembered as a world famous prophylactic. Ah, such is fame.

All things considered, I give the movie, "Troy", four rousing howls of pleasure, for a job well done! See it for the special effects and battle scenes if you have no interest in the historical attributes of the movie.

Okay, so the other Myth turned Movie I want to discuss is the recent DVD release, "King Arthur". Now, I know what you're thinking--'Not another King Arthur movie!' How could they possibly come up with anything 'new' to intrigue audience goers, when this legend has been done to death?

Well, that's what I thought, too and that is exactly why I didn't bother to see this movie while it was in theatres. I mean, in films from "Knights of the Round Table", to "Excalibur", to "Monty Python and the Holy Grail", to "The Mists of Avalon", to Sean Connery portraying an aged King Arthur in "First Knight" (all of which were very good to excellent films, in their own way), how could this writer and director bring anything new to such a well known story?

Surprisingly, they managed to do just that. Whereas all of the aforementioned movies told and retold the 'Legend' of King Arthur and his knights, the film, "King Arthur" went beyond the known legend and explored where the actual character came from. And, they did it with surprising historical accuracy and turned it into a great story and an excellent movie.

The main character in the movie, Clive Owen (yeah, I never heard of him, either), played Centurion Lucius Artorius (Arthur) Castus, a Sarmatian Knight, who, like thousands of other peoples conquered by Rome, spent some 15 years of his life in the Roman Army, attempting to subjugate the people of Briton.

Artorius Castus was a person who really existed in the early 5th century and may possibly have stayed on the island after his 15 years of servitude in the Imperial Army, as Rome slowly pulled out of Briton in the early 400s. It was about this time in history when the people of Southern Briton finally joined forces under a unifying leader and defeated the Saxons, pushing them back into the northern part of the island. For some 50 years thereafter, Briton had its first taste of peace and prosperity known for generations. The general consensus is that 'Arthur' had a strong hand in uniting the rival factions in Briton and led them to victory over the invaders from the north.

"King Arthur" examines Arthur in the 5th century and explores the possible events that led Artorius Castus to become the stuff that legends are made of. This period in history is where the 'Legend' of King Arthur is derived, although the legend, as we know it, was actually invented in 1138, by Geoffrey of Monmouth and places Arthur in the early middle ages, when his knights wore shiny armor and rode around participating more in jousting than in warfare.

Sure, this movie stretched the truth (or legend) just a bit. I'm sure that the companions Artorius rode with in 410 were not Lancelot, Sir Galahad (who was Lancelot's son, by the way) and Sir Gawain, nor did Artorius marry the fair Guinevere (although he no doubt did marry a local maiden, after things settled down, somewhat). They even threw in a crusty old renegade with questionable 'magical' powers, who more or less led the 'Woads' (a possible combination of the Picts and Celts, who lived in Briton before the Saxons invaded). This character was Merlin, who was initially opposed to the Romans and Artorius, but eventually brought their future king into the fold and with the Woads, defeated the Saxons after the Romans left the area.

The final amazing and really, really 'long' battle took place at Hadrian's Wall and was a masterpiece of film making. If you see the movie for no other reason, you must see it for this battle, which essentially won back the island for the Briton's.

Overall, it was an excellent film. If you think you know the story of King Arthur, you must see this 'How the legend was born' movie, to get some information that has not been readily available, until now. And, since last month Brother Grim 'upped' the number of 'Howls of Pleasure' we are allowed to give a movie, I'm going to bestow upon "King Arthur" four and a half howls, for bringing us a look at the Arthur legend many people were unaware of and for doing it extremely well.

Oops. It seems the men in white coats are pounding on the door, wanting me to give up the computer. Apparently, I've overstayed my welcome, so, I gotta go. I'll see ya all next time. Enjoy!

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