Genre Editorials

Clash of the Titans 0

Film Review by Kay Bechtold
The fantasy film Clash of the Titans was released on April 2, 2010 in both 2D and 3D. Directed by Louis Leterrier and starring Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, and Gemma Arterton, Clash of the Titans is a remake of the 1981 film with the same name. In its opening weekend, the film earned $61.2 million dollars in the United States and Canada and remains at the top of the charts thus far. The plot is based on the Greek myth of Perseus, a demigod. The people of the city of Argos declare war on the gods, toppling a statue of Zeus. Hades convinces Zeus to allow him to unleash his monster, the Kraken, on Argos if the people do not submit to the gods’ demands. Clash of the Titans tells the story of Perseus, who sets out on a quest to save the city of Argos and prevent Hades from overthrowing Zeus on Olympus. Along the way, he encounters many other creatures including giant scorpions, Medusa, Pegasus, and the Stygian witches. While Clash of the Titans was visually very cool-looking, there were few scenes that leave the audience on the edge of their seats. Even the popular line, “Release the Kraken!” is disappointing and lackluster in the context of the plot. The visual effects make the film worthwhile to see in theaters, but the characters and storyline do not inspire the same sort of epic feeling that one might get from a film like 300. When the trailers came out for this movie, I was incredibly excited. Now that I’ve seen it, I’d rate it a “bust.”

Snow White and Rose Red by Patricia Wrede 0

Review by Caroline Schumacher

From the very first page, Patricia Wrede’s retelling of the Brothers Grimm tale of the same name draws you in with the wonderful world she’s created: a mix of Faerie, with touches of Shakespeare and Spencer, and Elizabethan England. The Widow Arden and her two daughters, Blanche, and Rosamund, live in a cottage near a village just off the River Thames. With their land abutting Faerie, he two girls often cross over the boundary to Faerie to collect plants needed for their mother’s spells which have to be done in secret to prevent them from being accused of being sorcery. One day they witness Doctor Dee, Queen Elizabeth’s astrologer,  and his friend casting a spell that ties their fate to two half-mortal half-fairy sons of the Fairy Queen, one of whom is turned into a bear.

The  Elizabethan language Wrede writes for her characters speech takes a little while to get used to but it’s worth the effort. Wrede provides excerpts from the original story at the beginning of each chapter. It serves to show how she’s expanded and altered the story but also shows you the depth of the detail she had to create to fit the story in this world. She fleshes out the characters giving them depth, motivation and especially loyalty to one another. Wrede eloquently blends history, Elizabethan attitudes towards magic and manners, and fairy tale elements to create a memorable love story aided by magic.

Nti’s Top Five Science Fiction Movies 0

Before I proceed into my list of favorite science fiction films, I would like to preface this by saying what appeals to me when I’m watching a science fiction movie. To begin with, there are some great science fiction films that are just a given, Star Wars, probably the most recognizable one and other ones such as Jurassic Park, Close Encounters of a Third Kind, or E.T., but I personally prefer genre films that serve as some sort of political, social, or cultural commentary, and relay a message that we can all relate to. So here it goes…

1. District 9 (2009)

I had heard nothing about this film until I randomly saw a trailer for it before I had the displeasure of watching another science fiction film, X-Men Origins: Wolverine. I knew going in that it would be an allegory for apartheid in South Africa and I was afraid that it was going to be a bit too heavy-handed but I think it was just perfect. I enjoyed the documentary feel of the movie focusing on what would life be like if aliens had crash landed in South Africa almost thirty years ago. Overall, the film did a great job focusing on racism, segregation, class structures, xenophobia, and the military, and unifying those elements. The special effects were integrated into the film, making the aliens, weaponry, spaceship, and other visual elements, all look extremely realistic. And while the film’s protagonist was initially cowardly, he grew to be an unlikely hero.

2. Children of Men (2006)

I didn’t care that this movie never explained why women couldn’t have children, or what terrible event happened in New York, or the fates of many of its characters, but it didn’t matter. It is a dark and bleak and the director places you directly in the center of it. Suicide kits, strict immigration laws, and terrorism, are focal issues as everyone on the planet will die out within fifty years. But in this world, there is a glimmer of hope, as the lead protagonist tries to save the first girl to be pregnant in eighteen years from the dangerous people around her. This powerful film holds nothing back and deserved much more credit than it ever received. Plus, it probably has some of the greatest camera work in cinematic history, with the constant extended single shot scenes and it was like nothing that I had ever seen before.

3. Gattaca (1997)

It was a Sunday afternoon and I was home by myself as I was flicking through the channels to see what was on. I then came across this film called, “Gattaca,” I had heard about it but was not entirely clear what it was. After the two hours of watching it, I felt inspired. Science had come to the point where they could design a person using eugenics, which created a new social class and new kind of discrimination. The film goes into the tale of what someone can do and how far they will go, even in a society that basically tells you that its not possible.

4. Minority Report (2002)

Can you charge someone for a crime that they haven’t committed? This is a future where roads travel on the tops of buildings, where there are eye scanners located in any public facility, or tiny robots called “spiders” can search for any person in a given area. The movie also takes into account the universal idea of choice or destiny and all the ethics that are involved. This mixed in with suspense elements made for a brilliant futuristic cinema.

5. Planet Of The Apes (1968)

The original, not the what-were-you-thinking-Tim-Burton-remake. I was one of the rare few who watched that movie in this day and age without know how the film ended and watching it as a thirteen year old, it shocked me to my core. SPOILER ALERT, but “they blew it up!” It was stunning seeing the Statue of Liberty ravaged from destruction and putting together the pieces that this Earth ruled by evolved Apes was actually ours, but just years in the future. I enjoyed the social parallels of the dominant race enslaving the much weaker one or how the apes had a distinct class structures between the type of ape (they were either guards, or scientists, or doctors, etc). Even though this franchise went overboard with the television series in the many films to follow it afterwards, this is definitely a classic.