Like in many other art forms, mythology has clearly influenced cinema in varying ways. The inspiration mythological stories provide to the big screen already spans decades of works coming from different genres. Whether offering direct or indirect influences, a number of memorable adventure and swashbuckler movies with mythological themes, characters, and plots have already been made in different eras of movie history.
"Jason and the Argonauts" (1963)
The critically acclaimed fantasy classic "Jason and the Argonauts" is known for its legacy as a special effects masterpiece during its time. This mythical fantasy film showcases the stop-motion genius of Ray Harryhausen as he brings to life imaginative special effects inspired by the story's classic Greek mythology source.
It features the story of Jason, the rightful heir to the throne of Thessaly, and his search for the Golden Fleece through the aid of the goddess Hera. This film maintains considerable reverence to the original myth without adding new twists or making significant changes to the elements found in the original story.
A sci-fi retelling of an ancient Egyptian myth, "Stargate" explores the story of an Egyptian relic that turns out to be an ancient teleportation device that allows non-linear travel across the universe to reach a distant planet. A space adventure revolving around a mythological theme, the film focuses on the revelations about the mystery of ancient Egyptians and how this discovery may soon lead to the planet's destruction. From here, the people of the modern world must find a way to save the Earth from impending annihilation.
The filmmakers' cinematic license allows creative changes to the film's original mythological sources. Yet this story clearly utilizes a rich Egyptian mythological background with the god Ra interpreted as an important character living on another planet.
"The Mummy" (1999)
The campy swashbuckler "The Mummy," an incarnation of the historical original from the 1930s, brings back Egyptian mythology to the big screen as a blockbuster hit. Using different elements from ancient Egyptian lore, the movie journeys into sandy landscapes as archaeologists start digging in an ancient city. This leads to the unintentional awakening of the high priest Imhotep, a cursed man mummified alive for his illicit relationship with the pharoah's mistress. He must be stopped before he uses his power for his vengeance to the world.
This adds a different cinematic take on the real historical information about Imhotep, an important man who served as chief architect, doctor, and high priest to the pharaoh in ancient Egypt.
"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" (2007)
"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End," the third movie of the now legendary franchise, follows the adventures of the loony pirate Captain Jack Sparrow, along with lovers Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann. Set during a time when rogue pirates scavenged the Caribbean seas, the movie features many intertwined quests which often take their roots from mythological sources. This franchise loosely incorporates different myths and legends to create its own pirates universe. It reveals even more mythological references in its latter installments.
Some of the distinct mythological elements in this film include the ocean folklore about the "Flying Dutchman," which features the legend of a ghost ship that can never reach port, and the fictional movie character Tia Dalma, who turns out to be the goddess of the sea, Calypso. In Greek mythology, Calypso is actually a nymph best remembered in Homer's "Odyssey." Like Tia Dalma being the lover of the captain of the "Flying Dutchman" Davy Jones, Calypso wants to make Odysseus her immortal husband.
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