or so ago when I read the flurry of articles and other items condemning "Avatar" and Hollywood in general for
unleashing a plague of paganism on the world, I kind of dismissed it with a
laugh. But considering the number of movies that could be construed as pagan or
animistic or Wiccan or whatever that have been released since then and which
are in the works I kind of think they might have a point, though it's probably
not the point they intended.
Films like "Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief,"
"How to Train Your Dragon," and the inevitable new Harry Potter
episode coming later in the year. All kids movies, too, including "Clash of the
Titans," opening on Friday( Good Friday for God's sake!), the remake of the camp classic
1981 film starring Laurence Olivier as Zeus and the special effects of the
legendary Ray Harryhausen.
On the face of it, a ludicrous mishmash of half-baked
mythology. But examined more closely it's more subversive and more twisted than
the ill-fated movie adaptation of Phillip Pullman's "The Golden Compass."
At first it seems like the antipagans might be right and the
film seems to be posing the polytheistic religion as a better
alternative to our Godfearing monotheism, with Liam Neeson all bright and shiny as Zeus and Olympus looking like it's even more fun than
the Disneyworld afterlife of "The Lovely
Bones." But then you've got Perseus, the bastard son of Zeus from when he was
sneaking around John Edwards style and
getting a mortal pregnant, denouncing the gods and asserting that humans can
get along very nicely without them, despite the fact that he is a demigod
himself. So the movie is agreeing with the anti-pagan monotheists.
Or is it? Could the gods and Olympus
in this case stand for the organized monotheistic religions of the present day? In
that case the film would be making an argument for secular humanism, an even
more pervasive godless abomination than paganism.
On the other hand, the film dithers at one point into a
battle between Hades and Zeus, representatives of Satan and the
Judaeo-Christian God, and therefore a 3-D version of "Paradise
Jeez, I miss the days when they were all "only a movie."