We had four films lined up on our Historically Inaccurate Movie smörgåsbord. The following reviews were aided by live tweets, snappy one-liners and heaps of sugar. This is a bit of a long read, my apologies in advance!
The first order of business was Wrath of the Titans, the sequel to the 2010 mythological disappointment Clash of the Titans. Basically, Perseus is charged with rescuing his father, Zeus, from Hades and Ares. Hades is killing his brothers to channel their divine power into resurrecting the Titan Kronos. Perseus must travel to the Underworld, aided by Andromeda, Hephaestus and some extremely stupid Greek soldiers.
Running time: 99 minutes
Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Inaccuracies vs. The Mythology
- Tartarus is seemingly in the middle of the Underworld vs. “as far below the house of Hades as the earth is below the heavens”
- The house of Hades is made of lava vs. a cold, desolate world surrounded by water (Styx and Oceanus)
- Hades, Poseidon and Zeus are estranged brothers due to Zeus forcing Hades to rule the Underworld vs. Zeus freeing his brothers from Kronos and the brothers drawing lots to determine the realm they will rule
- The gods were able to enter the Underworld vs. nothing still living shall enter the Underworld
- Chimeras had dragon wings vs. lion with the head of a goat, with a tail (possibly ending with a snake head), and breathes fire
- Andromeda was a warrior woman vs. rescued by Perseus, marries him and lives with him at Mycenae
- Perseus was married to Io and had a son named Helios (what the serious fuck?) vs. Perseus marrying Andromeda and having 7 sons and 2 daughters together, while also founding and ruling Mycenae
- Cyclopes were used as guards on Hephaestus’ private island vs. being craftsman and herders
- The origin of the Labyrinth being created by Hephaestus as a gate to the Underworld vs. the Labyrinth built by Daedalus as a prison for the Minotaur at Knossos
- Hephaestus knows the route to the Underworld vs. Hermes being the only god, other than Hades and Persephone, who know the route as he is the one who channels the dead there
- The Minotaur guarding the route to the Underworld vs. Cerberus guarding the gates of the Underworld
- Using Aspis shields for phalanx formation vs. larger, longer shields appropriate for the period
- The Spear of Trium (made of Zeus’s Lightning Bolt, Poseidon’s Trident and Hades’ weird Pitch Fork) being the only weapon that can kill Kronos vs. the gods cannot be killed; there is no such thing as “The Spear of Trium”; the word “Trium” would be Latin, not Greek; Zeus had a Thunderbolt, Poseidon had a Trident and Hades has a Helmet of Invisibility (all used to defeat the Titans)
- Ares’ weapon of choice is a mace vs. a sword, a spear, a shield or even a flaming torch (pick one)
- Four-armed Hekatonkheires vs. one hundred-armed and fifty-headed Hekatonkheires
- Roman and Norse weapons, armour and formations vs. this should not have to be explained
Aside from this film being riddled with historical and mythological inaccuracies, it was also dull. At least they decided to move away from the monochromatic colour scheme of Clash but it was still just another action movie. The CGI already looks dated and the sound balancing made it almost impossible to hear some of the dialogue. Once again, this had close to nothing to do with the actual mythological Titans. Kronos was on screen for all of 15 minutes, maybe.
My rating: 2½/5
Buy or rent Wrath of the Titans on Amazon.
The Legend of Hercules was by far the funniest of the films. Unintentionally so. We found ourselves in hysterics largely due to our inability to hear the dialogue. Unlike, Wrath of the Titans, we were unable to hear anything due to a number of very strong accents among the cast. As a result we decided to fill in our own dialogue.
As the title says, this is the alleged genesis story of the demi-god Hercules.
Running time: 99 minutes
Director: Renny Harlin
Inaccuracies vs. The Mythology
- Amphitryon purposefully killing the King of Tiryns vs. accidentally killing Aclmene‘s father and seeking purification
- Amphitryon’s rejection of Hercules and the murder of Alcmene vs. raising Hercules with the best tutors (many of which were gods) and having a wife that honoured him like no other
- Alcmene turning to the goddess Hera for help vs. Hera hating Zeus’ countless affairs and punishing Hercules by trying to kill him
- Iphicles’ (Hercules’ half-brother) jealousy vs. the brother who died in battle and whose own son became Hercules’ charioteer
- The killing of the Nimean Lion as a chance encounter vs. The Twelve Labours of Hercules as an amends for killing his wife (Megara) and children from a temporary madness caused by Hera
- The source of Hercules’ strength is that he is the son of Zeus vs. Hera’s being tricked into nursing the infant Hercules and her divine milk giving him his power
- Hercules being outcast by his father and sold into slavery by his brother (for gladiatorial games) vs. being raised lovingly be Amphitryon and eventually sold into slavery (not gladiatorial games) by Apollo for the murder of Iphitus at Tiryns
- Hercules’ lover Hebe betrothed to his brother vs. Hebe being Hercules’ sister and no arrangement of her marriage to Iphicles exists
- Alcmene calling Hercules Alcides to hide his true name from Amphitryon vs. his parents dropping the epithet Alcides from his name, to unsuccessfully appease Hera
- Being the origin story of a Greek hero named Hercules vs. his Greek name Herakles
- Roman and Egyptian weapons, armour and formations vs. I shouldn’t have to explain why this is incorrect
- Hercules chained in the Agora vs. this was actually Samson from the bible
- Hercules’ lightning whip vs. his usual club, bow and arrows
Everything about this movie was bad. The lack of clear dialogue, the special effects and terrible acting. The mythology was changed for no tangible betterment of the film. If we had not been half delirious from our sugar rush, I’m not sure we would have been able to finish this monstrosity. I have no idea why Hercules was made into a gladiatorial fighter, other than the filmmakers wanting to show off their 3D filming techniques. The only thing that was correct for the time period was the statues of Hera.
My rating: 1/5
Buy or rent The Legend of Hercules on Amazon.
Truly, the dark horse of the day, Gods of Egypt far surpassed our expectations and was the least offensive when it came to historical and mythological inaccuracies.
Set has essentially stolen the throne of upper and lower Egypt from Horus by killing Osiris. After years of blindness and isolation, Horus accepts the help from a mere mortal in overthrowing his uncle.
Running time: 127 minutes
Director: Alex Proyas
Inaccuracies vs. The Mythology
- Demons in the afterlife vs. that’s not really a thing in Egyptian mythology
- Hathor being seduced by darkness into her role at the usher of the dead vs. being the “mistress of the west” was a great duty revered by mortals
- Hathor being the Egyptian version of Aphrodite vs. Hathor being the goddess of female (motherly, sisterly) love and companionship (Though she was likened to Aphrodite by the Greeks, the Egyptian did not incorporate this into their beliefs)
- Hathor’s bracelet shielding her from being taken back into the Underworld vs. no such item every existed
- Thoth being sassy (though great as comic relief) vs. Thoth being very factual and precise
- Hathor’s ability to control any living creature with her eyes vs. not present in any versions of her mythology
- Isis dying with Osiris, and not once turning into a throne vs. only Osiris’s death is mythologically correct
- A largely white cast of Egyptian gods vs. this should be obvious
This was an interesting stylistic version of Egypt and its mythology. The list of inaccuracies is substantially smaller the previous movies because the filmmakers made it very clear that this is meant to be an almost alternate history. Having said that, the individual gods mythologies and their purposes were largely adhered to, except Hathor, which is the problem with her characterisation. I understand her narrative changing for purposes of the plot but it was unnecessary on the whole. James and I absolutely loved the characterisation and styling of Anubis, and that he was not depicted as an evil or negative god/deity. Similarly, the idea of the rich being granted everlasting life was a fantastic inclusion as at one point in Egyptian history this was thought to be the case. Ra and his celestial battle with Apep was stunningly represented, as well as the world disc. One of my favourite entities was the Sphinx.
It was a fun movie to watch, and it clearly had an enormous budget. The CGI was great and I especially like the gods’ “true forms”, even though everything was gold. The casting was great, as the actor are all good actors, except Elodie Yung. She was just annoying. It annoyed me that the only black actor was automatically the sassy, black character. It was cliched and tired. I would have liked to see more people of colour in this movie but that’s an issue for another day. All-in-all though, this was a fun watch, from an historical, mythological and film perspective.
My rating: 4/5
Buy or rent Gods of Egypt on Amazon.
In keeping with the Egyptian theme, we decided to round our day off with Exodus: Gods and Kings. What a complete crock of shit.
Let me also just get this bit of controversy out of the way before I start: there is no record (other than the bible) or archaeological evidence that 2 million Jews (based on the figure of 600 000 males) left Egypt during that time depicted in the bible. For this reason, I am referring to the story as mythology. It still holds important cultural and religious meaning, just as any other peoples’ mythologies do.
Running time: 150 minutes
Director: Ridley Scott
Inaccuracies vs. The Mythology
- White buildings and statues in Egypt vs. Walls and statuary being colourfully painted
- Miriam and Jochebed living with Moses in the palace, as his servants vs. Moses raised by the Pharaoh’s daughter
- Moses hitting his head on a rock and then talking to a child and a burning bush vs. Moses’ tending a flock and hearing a voice call to him, finding the burning bush and speaking with the angel
- The God of Abraham represent by Malak in the form of a child beside the bush vs. an angel of the Lord appearing inside the burning bush to speak to Moses
- The cause, number and order of the plagues (no lice and no raining fire) vs. ten plagues in order caused by the Lord, who was making Pharaoh refuse to let the Israelites go
- No negotiation with Pharaoh vs. Moses asking Pharaoh to let his people go each day
- No snake vs. Aaron taking instruction from the Lord and casting his staff onto the ground in front of Pharaoh and his men, and it turning into a snake
- The Red Sea moving aside for the wayward travelers, while Moses slept vs. Moses parting the Red Sea with the help of the Lord
This was a boring movie to watch. Epic in scale and as shiny as Gods of Egypt the movie felt empty, slow and lacklustre. The changes to the biblical account of the Exodus worked against the film. In fact, Ridley Scott made it seem like the entire Exodus was the result of a Traumatic Brain Injury or severe hallucinations. I also couldn’t understand why this weird blue filter was used for the entire film. When everything wasn’t blue, it was gold. Fundamental elements of the story was changed for the film, like the absence of Aaron (Moses’ brother) in negotiations with Pharaoh and Moses’ sister and mother living in the palace with him. Further, I haven’t a clue as to why it was sub-titled “Gods and Kings”. The “Kings” I get but the “Gods” not so much. I saw one angry child, who alternated between representing the Lord and the angel Malak, while the Egyptian gods were nowhere to be seen. I will say that Isaac Andrews gave a spectacular performance. That kid is going places. Other than that, there is no real reason to watch this movie.
My rating: 2/5
Buy Exodus: Gods and Kings on Amazon.
And that was our Historically Inaccurate Movie day. Many people will argue that mythologies cannot be incorrect as they are just made up stories anyway. What many people do not realise is that to the civilisations to whom those mythologies belong, they were considered historical accounts of the foundations of their civilisation and empire (Rome – Romulus and Remus), they were biographies of, then considered, historical figures (Herakles and Achilles), they were often the basis for religious practice (The Elusinian Mysteries), and the creation stories of their time (Gaia and Oceanus – Greek, and Nun and Chaos – Egypt), meaning that they can only be altered within reason.
For more movie reviews by TropicalMary, click here.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Let’s all be honest with one another right from the get go: this movie’s title really gives away the fact that you’re not meant to take it seriously. Since it falls on the ‘Lobotomy’ end of the Level of Awful scale it ranks itself right up there with the absolute worst of the worst but, at the same time, gives you one of the best laughs you’ll ever have. I literally nearly wet myself a few times during the movie’s 70-odd minute run. It’s a cautionary tale about choosing your vacation destination’s name wisely, the power of Evanescence in the goth community and the need to be careful when allowing Tim Burton near your anal cavity.
If one thing rings true about today’s youth it’s that they’re always ready to flock to an attractively named holiday resort. To be honest, of the 6 main characters we have to keep our eye on, I can only remember Gwen’s name. The reason for this is that, rather than running around a lake on holiday, Gwen should be institutionalised and subjected to electric shock therapy until she sorts some of her shit out. You wouldn’t think that one woman could live her life in a constant state of dancing and jazz hands. The rest of the group is made up of a very ungothic goth chick, a guy from New Jersey whose mouth moves but nothing resembling words come out, a stoner wigger New Jersey guy light, a guy who makes and sells shirts and another girl with ample bosoms (and ample everything else).
Trying to explain the storyline (what little there is) is an exercise in futility. Instead allow me to regale you with some dialogue from our dear, beloved characters:
“Can’t I just kill a squirrel and use that as a rubber?”
“Do you practice the dark arts? And listen to Evanescence?”
“I had a dream that you were rubbing Toblerone all over my asshole. Then Tim Burton popped up… and scurried away into my anal cavity.”
“Cling tenaciously to my ass!”
“It was good, but I reject the taste of your syrup. A warrior woman must be purified with only the finest nut butter before battle.”
So yeah, that should give you a clue of what you’re up against if you choose to go forward with watching this movie. Thrown into the mix is a cursed and very gay scarecrow, amateur liposuction, a varied selection of $1 wigs and fake moustaches, incredibly sharp corn, scenes that go a little bit further than softcore porn, people constantly popping out the floor, driving passed Jupiter on our way to Blood Fart Lake and women trained in the fine art of using sabre-toothed ass leeches to defeat her enemies. Another word of caution: there isn’t a single attractive person in this movie, no matter what preference you may have.
I don’t know what else to say. This isn’t one of those movies that words could ever do justice for. It will do unspeakable things to your mind, it’ll make you question every belief you’ve ever held and it will ruin Toblerones for you for the rest of your life. Even with all that, I still recommend you grab a copy and give it a watch. Just don’t do it alone – this is best done as a group effort so you can help each other get off the floor when it’s all over.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- A full bladder of urine can easily be turned into a full tank of petrol.
- A broken car engine can be fixed by unscrewing a single screw in the car’s hood.
- An evening of eats and wild tomfoolery is now limited to a few dry crackers and telling ghost stories.
- Things can be as square as a rhombus.
- Kernels of corn can be used with brutal and bloody efficiency.
- Fat people’s bodies are made up of a combination of blood and whipped cream with roughly 1 part blood to 30 parts whipped cream.
- Certain lakes don’t make you wet when you swim in them.
- Tibetan monks are currently training an army of sabre-toothed ass leech-wielding warriors.
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OK everyone, you can decompress and make your way out of the fallout shelters, End of the World Month is over! It’s been one helluva ride and Earth has ended in many spectacular ways. From alien invasions to freak weather conditions to our ultimate demise beyond the stars, I’ve been through it all (so you don’t have to). Think of this as a little preparatory guide should the world actually come to an end in any of these amazing ways. In case you missed any of it, here are all the movies I watched:
So that’s that then. I will return you to your regular b-horror programming soon. Thanks to everyone who read, liked or commented on any of this month’s reviews. It’s been an absolute blast and I’m glad you all tagged along for the ride!
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Global warming: the great threat our generation faces. A number of possibilities have been given for what causes it: burning fossil fuels, deforestation, increased solar output, the list just goes on. The truth, however, lies in Heatstroke: aliens are the cause of global warming. This was a fantastic movie to watch; it goes back to the good old days of Syfy original movies where the special effects are so awful that they give you a great belly laugh while the endings aren’t anti climatic, a problem faced by so many recent Syfy movies. If you’re in the mood for a good laugh, some cheesy sci-fi goodness and indulging in an alien conspiracy theory then this is the movie for you!
It’s a beautiful day for the world to end in Hawaii. The sky is blue, the oceans are crystal clear and bikini models are frolicking gayly on the beaches during a photo shoot. Captain Steve O’Bannon is busy flying his ultralight around one of the islands, taking a relaxing afternoon to monitor any usual radiation levels that may exist in these here parts. Given that this is such a relaxing pursuit and the weather is absolutely gorgeous he doses off behind the wheel of his 1 man aircraft and begins a rapid decent towards a tree. Thankfully there’s something very similar to a velociraptor living in the tree and it leaps up to try and guide the aircraft away but, unfortunately, takes a giant bite out of the ultralight’s engine. Captain Steve awakes with a start and is forced to make an emergency landing in the middle of the bikini models’ photo shoot, much to their dismay.
Following Captain Steve’s emergency landing head bikini model Caroline comes over to read the man the riot act for interrupting this photo shoot of groundbreaking importance to mankind. When Captain Steve doesn’t seem very interested Caroline brings over her hired goons, who Captain Steve quickly dispenses with. He beats the crap out of them again later when he finds them at a bar, this time with the help of his team mates Jillian and Waters (first name unknown). Somehow between coming to the bar, having a boiling beer and beating the crap out of everyone the team (including final team-mate Romeo Romero) decides that there must be something on the island causing the strange radiation spikes and they’re determined to find out what it is.
The cause of the radiation, of course, is an alien invasion. The aliens look like some reject bunch of dinosaurs and have come to earth to heat up our climate to make it a little more hospitable for themselves. I don’t know about you, but personally I find it a little rude when guests drop in on your planet unannounced and then spend the whole time complaining about how you’ve chosen to do the place up. Captain Steve wasn’t about to tolerate this lack of manners in the first place and he certainly isn’t about to tolerate these rather rude invaders when they start melting the faces off his crew and the hapless bikini models that inhabit the island. Unfortunately, since he isn’t a rogue scientist and is contracted by the US military to study these creatures, he’s going to have to play things by the book, at least until he can discover just how big their plans are and how quickly they plan on turning our little Blue Marble into an alien cafeteria. Thankfully he’s not alone in his mission to save the planet; he’ll be accompanied by a rag-tag group of old Hawaiian natives, military grunts and a bikini model with a flower in her hair. God speed to you all!
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Models take great offence when people try to inspect their own crashed ultralights.
- The military isn’t ready to believe global warming is the result of aliens living on earth.
- Afghanistan is many things, but it’s certainly not a boring place to go on honeymoon.
- Models are intrigued by kung fu fighting special ops agents.
- Women are terrified when sounds come out of the woods.
- ‘Top Secret’ means giving broad enough hints that everyone figures out what you’re doing.
- Earth is a prime insect farming location for extraterrestrial life.
- Earth can go from temperate to Venus in less than 2 hours.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Movies like this irritate me. So far as unheard of end of the world movies go, this really wasn’t a bad watch and there are far worse ways for you to spend your time. It’s main problem is that it dragged, but not in the usual way that makes you feel bored to tears. Rather it has a lot happen in a relatively short space of time so when you feel that Earth is pretty much on her knees and a resolution to the problem is about to be discovered you realise that you’ve only been watching for half an hour and that there’s still an hour to go. There are some glaringly obvious factual issues floating around but on the whole the acting is quite decent and the special effects are of a reasonable quality. That said, the title of the movie is completely misleading: nothing gets blasted and the arctic is in no way involved in the problem.
Poor little humans, we’re in for another round of ‘let’s meet our maker.’ It was a beautiful day when the people of Australia were watching a total solar eclipse (of the heart) and, much to the joy of health officials everywhere, nobody burned their retinas out. As happens from time to time the solar eclipse has a slightly greater effect on the planet than would normally be desirable. Somehow the combination of the moon passing in front of the sun and our recent tendency to pump our atmosphere full of pollution leads to the ozone layer springing a leak just off the coast of Tasmania. This rather sizeable hole (which is apparently visible from space) is allowing super cooled air from the mesosphere to filter down to the surface. This results in a cold front that begins sweeping its way across the sea towards Tasmania and the rest of Australia.
Now understandably nobody really wants to be caught in a fast-approaching cold front where the temperatures drop to -80 degrees fahrenheit (-62 centigrade for those who, like myself, find degrees fahrenheit confusing). Unfortunately for those people living in the line of fire the government isn’t really prepared to believe that the planet’s ozone layer is ruptured and freezing people in a split second, so a few people have to turn into frozen lollies before anyone actually sits up and pays attention. This is an end of the world movie so of course we have a rogue scientist in the form of Jack Tate to help us overcome this minor issue. As with many rogue scientists Jack’s family is in a state of turmoil and he’s in the process of divorcing his wife and losing the trust of his teenage daughter. Could this crisis possibly bring this family back together again?
So now what is the government going to do about this little problem? Well they’re certainly not going to listen to Jack, the one man who might just have all the answers. While the government twiddles its thumbs Jack tries to get his family to safety and sticks his wife with the in-laws and takes his daughter back to his lab. While in the lab he will try to come up with the best solution to Earth’s current situation and possibly fix the screw up of a plan the Australian government has come up with on its own. The situation will become slightly more complicated by the fact that the ozone hole above Australia in some way sent ripples out across the planet and opened holes above other major cities in Europe, Asia and North America. The race is on to find a way to plug the holes before all of Earth gets turned into a giant ice palace.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- If meteorologists get drunk enough they could easily solve all the world’s problems.
- Divorce lawyers are quite happy to be called blood-sucking parasites.
- Fireworks and chinese take aways will not buy you your daughter’s loyalty.
- For some people a ship full of condensation is the craziest thing they’ve ever heard of.
- A hairdryer will fix the most waterlogged of hard drives.
- Diabetic meteorologists need excessive amounts of chocolate to do their work.
- Any fool who bangs on his keyboard hard enough will eventually hack into an American military satellite.
- A true gentleman will gladly offer to do a little insulin shopping in -50 degree weather.
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