The Downfall of Greek Myths in Movies

Greek mythology often finds itself in the spotlight of Hollywood films. Usually avoiding the Odyssey, Jason and the Argonauts and Persesus are the most commonly found, although differing interpretations on Greek mythology, like the Percy Jackson movies (although we don’t speak of those), do make appearances.

Turning Greek myths into movies found its height from the 1960’s to the 1980’s, when claymation monsters dominated the screen rather than advanced CGI. I can’t knock the use of claymation, however- filmmakers got creative with it, and were able to make it work fairly well. As comical as they look to audiences nowadays, you have to admit that for their time, they were genius moves.

Now, however, Hollywood has lost its way when it comes to showing off the legendary epics. What used to be just portraying the tales as is (with some creative difference, but not much), is now a strange and unsuccessful attempt to make the stories more “original”. They use an excessive amount of CGI, turning the classic mischievous and playful Greek gods into serious and dramatic figures, erasing some of their most bizarre origins and reactions. The myths portray the Greek Gods as divine and powerful but characteristically flawed (they are perfect at something, hence their God status). Movies now simply turn them into perfect but overly angry figures, exaggerating their temperamental behavior.

The legendary figures also find themselves changed, too, turning figures like Jason and Perseus into gritty and dramatic figures, when they show a variety of behavior, portraying a story of morality on a complex hero. In modern movies they are now meant to fight these giant monsters, getting girl while playing a one-note tune of being a one-dimensional hero. The main hero finds himself enveloped under the fold of the typical cliche action hero, completely ruining the point of the original Greek Epic or legend that they appear in.

The aesthetic of the new Greek myth movies also are much darker. Rather than being more realistic of showing an environment like daytime Greece, they show changing skies and darker backgrounds, making the story seem much less real. Of course, they are portraying stories, but compare them to their predecessors; compare the sky, the backdrop, and most importantly, the clothes. The cloths all look Spartan based, rather than showing the diversity of Ancient Greece (which wasn’t a unified country). It all makes seeing the Greek myths on screen that much less popular.

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