|Theseus and his army|
Theseus lives in a stone town which has conveniently been carved out of rocks looking over a cliff edge, which can't be very practical, or comfortable when the wind blows, but that doesn't really matter, because it looks pretty impressive. Theseus is also a humdinger of a man - played by Henry Cavill, who's obviously been working out (since he's about to play Superman) - he's the sort of chap that would make the average Abercrombie and Fitch model not want to take his top off on the beach for shame. He is not the prince of myth, though; he is a humble peasant who would die to protect those he loves. He's also pretty nifty with a spear, as it turns out, which is lucky. Think Brad Pitt in Troy but without the sulkiness. And boy does the camera love him, lingering on his body whenever it can; even when he's close to death, having been enslaved, he looks like a bronzed Lycidas. Even the virginal Oracle (Frieda Pinto, for whom most would swoon any day) whose second sight is tied to her chastity, thinks twice when she sees Theseus. Cavill does a good job with the fairly dire script, too - when he gave a speech to his soldiers to rouse them up a bit, I found myself getting roused up too, despite the cringeworthiness of the lines.
|Zeus and Athena: Daddy's girl|
The plot, though, is sort of beside the point, because every scene is so enthrallingly enjoyable in its sumptuous finery, violence or lunacy that one is compelled throughout. It doesn't seem to matter that the Olympus of the Greek gods resembles a gay nightclub, with all the male gods lounging around half-naked in diamanté and Heath-Robinson hats (there's only one female god, Athena, played by a too-beautiful Isabel Lucas - she should have been Aphrodite, surely?) Nor does it matter that the oracle and her friends wear jangling tea-cosies on their heads. I think the film itself is aware of its excesses - Theseus laughs at a priest's similar headgear.
The film has its own grace, and if you are prepared to take it on its own terms, then you'll find yourself swept away just as if Poseidon himself had come down and caused a tidal wave. And the final scenes point towards a sequel that looks like it might be even bigger, and even sillier, with an aeronautical battle between gods and Titans. Hats off - the sillier the better - to director Tarsem Singh, for this deeply luxurious nugget.