Clash of the Titans (2010)

I always end up watching movies in which Mads Mikkelsen is starring. So far I have never been disappointed. So far. Clash of the Titans has a weird cast but I think it says more about the cast than about the movie. While it’s a guilty pleasure with a war theme it’s not exactly a good movie with the exception of a few scenes. Despite all that, it’s fun. I liked the giant scorpions. They are really cool. Now briefly to the cast before I summarize the whole film.

Liam Neeson. There was once a time when he made good movies but recently he’s a major disappointment and since he is even in Battleship I start to have a feeling that whenever his name is on the cast list this could very well mean “avoid”. Ralph Fiennes. Yes, Ralph Fiennes. What the heck is he doing in this movie? Neeson and Fiennes both play powerful gods, while Fiennes plays the role of the bad guy – Hades, Neeson plays the role of the good one – Zeus. Both sport odd haircuts and halos that make them look like drag queen putti. Apart from these two the other actors mostly do a decent job  – or at least one that makes the movie watchable. I haven’t given up hope on Mikkelsen – he is even good in this one – but I’d advise him not to accept too many roles like this.

Perseus (Sam Worthington), a demi-god, son of Zeus is dragged into a battle between the Gods and the mortals. Hades, God of the underworld and master of the Kraken, demands the sacrifice of Princess Andromeda, the daughter of King Cepheus of Argos who won against the gods. If Andromeda isn’t sacrificed, Hades will unleash the Kraken. King Cepheus asks Perseus, the only human capable of fighting against gods due to his half-god nature, to find a way to defeat the Kraken. Perseus accepts because Hades has killed his step family and he wants revenge. The only way to win against the Kraken is by defeating the Medusa and cutting off her head.

Many people have been offended by the liberties the movie took with Greek mythology. I didn’t expect it to render the myth of Perseus and the Medusa, I thought it would be an action movie with a Greek mythology flavour. And that’s exactly what it is. Nothing more and nothing less. If you look for two hours of entertainment and haven’t seen the first one, try it. It’s quite fun.  Did I mention the scorpions? I really liked them.

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Two Movies on Nordic Resistance: Flame & Citron (2008) and Max Manus (2008)

Two movies on the same theme, Nordic Resistance, yet how different their tone. While Max Manus (aka  Frihedskæmperen Max Manus) is a hero story with tragic and uplifting moments, Flame & Citron (aka Flammen & Citronen) is depressing and full of angst. Both movies are based on true stories and illustrate aspects of lesser known WWII history.

Max Manus tells the story of the Norwegian saboteur Max Manus and his resistance group. After having fought in Finland against the Communists he joins the norwegian resistance. They fight the Nazis very effectively by blowing up supply ships, stealing documents and shooting people. They are hunted down by the Germans and many lose their lives, only Max escapes miraculously every time which fills him with survivor’s guilt but at the same time gives him an aura of invulnerability.

Flame & Citron is the story of two very famous Danish Nazi assassins. Where Max attacks mostly buildings and objects, they shoot Nazis and their allies, mostly execution style up-close.Early on it is evident that this weighs heavily on their conscience. Especially Citron has a hard time to kill.

At one time Flame says: “I almost forgot we are not shooting people but Nazis” as if to take the humanity away from the enemy makes the deed easier. Here lies their problem and this is very obviously the source for the depressing heaviness of this film. We watch two good people doing very bad things although for a just cause. After a while they really doubt that what they do is right. But worst of all they can´t trust anyone and see themselves surrounded by double agents and traitors.

Like the more famous Black Book (aka Zwart Boek 2006) these movies show that there was very effective resistance in the Northern European countries, like the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway. It seems as if it took those countries quite a long time to tell their own story. All three movies are in original language with subtitles. They are all convincing.

Black Book ist the most entertaining, Max Manus is thoughtful and uplifting but I liked Flame & Citron best. I found it the most honest. The pictures are very beautiful and apart from that the acting is great. Mads Mikkelsen (King Arthur) as Citron is just brilliant and so is Thure Lindhardt as Flame.