There has been a renewed interest over the past two years with mythology in the movies. Whether it is Greek/Roman mythology or the Norse/viking myths, a number of films have hit theaters to capitalize on the increased interest.
With "Wrath of the Titans" as the most recent addition to the genre, here is a look at 10 of the best mythology-based movies in cinema history.
"Percy Jackson and the Olympians"
Rick Riordan created the extremely successful "Percy Jackson" book series, introducing young adult audiences to Greek mythology through this series of demigods.
In 2010, Chris Columbus adapted the first book with the movie "Percy Jackson and the Olympians." The movie was quite fun, although it disappointed fans of the books by changing key plot points.
While the "Clash of the Titans" remake brought the Greek gods back to the attention of adult audiences, "Immortals" capitalized on it with a superior effort. While Tarsem Singh is now tarnishing his reputation with the 2012 fairy tale movie "Mirror Mirror," he excelled in this story about a young warrior set out to stop a vengeful mortal from releasing the Titans to spite the Gods he believes betrayed him.
"Jason and the Argonauts"
Ray Harryhausen made his name with classic fantasy movies. The Greek mythology retelling of "Jason and the Argonauts" in 1962 remains one of his most enthusiastic.
The movie follows the adventure of Jason and his loyal soldiers as they set out to find the Golden Fleece, a journey that the new king hopes will end with Jason's death. "Argonauts" features one of the greatest monsters in cinema history with the giant Talos.
Robert Zemeckis was working on perfecting his motion capture filmmaking when he created "Beowulf" in 2007. While his earlier animated work allowed him to tinker with the new tools, "Beowulf" allowed Zemeckis to apply it to an adult-themed movie, resulting in one of his best efforts. Ray Winstone stars as Beowulf, a warrior who must defeat the monster Grendel who is terrorizing local towns.
Wolfgang Petersen retold the story of "Troy" in this movie with an all-star cast, including Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom, and Peter O'Toole. The major difference between this movie and the original Greek myths is the removal of all mention of the gods from the storyline. The movie was a box office success and picked up an Oscar nomination for costume design.
"Clash of the Titans"
Forget about the 2010 remake of "Clash of the Titans" -- the real fun comes when watching the 1981 version. The original "Clash of the Titans" is dumb, goofy fun, and it barely takes itself seriously. While that may not be the original purpose, it makes the first "Clash" immensely re-watchable, if for nothing else than the great work of Ray Harryhausen once again.
While this movie is a Marvel comics adaptation, it works as well as it does because of the Norse mythology involved. "Thor" tells the story of the God of Thunder, the son of Odin, king of the Norse gods. Thor must learn how to be a man and is banished to earth until he learns to control his emotions. The best part of the movie takes place in the land of the gods, Asgard.
Released in 1959, "Black Orpheus" relocates the Greek myth to the modern day world of Rio de Janeiro during Carnival. The movie won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and also took the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. The film presents the figure of Death as it pursues a young man who traveled to the land of the dead to bring his lover back.
"O Brother, Where Art Thou?"
"O Brother, Where Art Thou" finds the Coen brothers updating the classic Homer poem "The Odyssey." Set in the Depression-era Deep South, three escaped convicts, led by George Clooney's Everett, head out in search for treasure. Along the way, they face numerous situations that mirror Homer's classic mythology, including the giant Cyclops and blind prophet. The movie is best known for its bluegrass soundtrack.
"Orpheus" is the second re-telling of the Orpheus tale on this list, released a decade before "Black Orpheus." Jean Cocteau, the same man who made the brilliant fairy tale movie "Beauty and the Beast," directed this effort, the second part of a trilogy exploring the title character.
The movie focuses on a poet who follows his wife from the land of the living to the world of the dead through a mirrored portal. It is an amazing re-telling of a myth, and one of the best movies ever made.
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- Arts & Entertainment
- Greek mythology
- Percy Jackson
- Percy Jackson
- Ray Harryhausen
- Ray Harryhausen