What is most interesting about this movie is not the special effects, casting or the story, but its presentation of the gods and their relationship with humanity. The mortal characters in the film are for the most part in rebellion against their divine overseers, a characteristic that the ancient adherents of Greek religion would have found perplexing. This signals to us that the film is not about ancient religious attitudes, but of modern ones, which have been projected back into an archaic setting. Modernity has been since its inception troubled by God, gods and religion, seeing the existence of any as a mitigation of human freedom and potential. This seems to be Perseus’ great predicament in the film, a conflict that is not really brought to resolution, as Perseus must still rely on the power of the gods to accomplish his mission. So it is with modernity, whose claims to autonomy and reason have all tended toward dissipation when not given the supernatural foundation that they inevitably require.
One of the mistaken perceptions concerning Christian revelation in modern culture is the presumption that the gods of the Greeks and the God of Jesus Christ are essentially the same thing. But is this true? The Greek gods are beings in the world, as dependent upon material reality for their existence as we are. Further, the gods of the pagans are, according to Robert Sokowlowski, personifications of the natural necessities and like these earthly and cosmic powers, they are beautiful, wondrous and at times beneficent, but they are also capricious and cannot be entirely trusted. This is so unlike the God of Christian faith who is not a being at all, even a supreme being. God is, as Aquinas put it, ipsum sum esse (the act of being itself), not needing the world at all. Mysteriously (and to our great benefit), the fact that God does not need the world enables him to love us in a manner in which the Greek gods cannot; in a way that is not threatened by either our flourishing or our refusals. His glory is, as St. Irenaeus insisted, “humanity fully alive”, a characteristic the Olympians were never entirely comfortable with.
Has anyone seen the movie? I'm a fan of the original but I've heared from others this new one isn't so good. What do you think?