Monday, January 17, 2011

'Clash of the Titans' (2010) - Evolution of a Script Pt. 3

by Tristan Mahlow

The last screenplay of 'Clash of the Titans' I will be looking at, is from the year 2008. One year after Travis Beachem's script, Lawrence Kasdan crafted a revised version incorporating the two previous screenplays.

1. Script Summary
2. Script Differences & Similarities
3. Anaylsis
4. Conclusion
5. Questions

1. Script Summary
Zeus slips into the bedchamber of Queen Danae and seduces her in the form of her husband. But when her real husband, King Acrisius, finds out about this betrayal, he curses Zeus and casts his wife and her unborn child out onto the sea, as a acrifice for Tiamat, Godess of the Deep. For this act Acrisius gets punished by the Heavens: he is turned into the monster Kalibos.
On Mount Olympos we come to know, that the Gods want to offer the humans a peace treaty. Only Tiamat and Set are against the treaty and plot to take over Zeus' throne.
The Messenger of the Gods arrives at Joppa, informing King Kepheus of the treaty. The only condition: A marriage between his daughter, Andromeda, and a demi-god we all know, Perseus. 
The next scenes introduce us to Perseus and show us his family, until the unaware Perseus is abducted by The Wilting Girl. On the way to Joppa The Wilting Girl reveals to Perseus his divine lineage. The next scene intoduces us to Princess Andromeda, again going at it with a kitchen servant (is this really the best character defining moment they could think of?). Arriving at Joppa, Perseus and Andromeda meet and decide not to marry, nonetheless they sleep together. 
On the next day the festivities start and the drunk Queen Cassiopeia insults in her toast the Godess Tiamat, provoking her anger. Tiamat appears and issues her ultimatum: If the people of Joppa do not sacrifice Andromeda, Tiamat's Leviathan will destroy the city in thirty days. 
A plan to save the city is formed: Perseus, his adoptive father, Spyros, The Wilting Girl, Amoun and the hunters Mongke and Tamburlane, as well as some prateorian guards take off in the morning to seek the councel of the Norn Sisters. On the way, Perseus falls in love with The Wilting Girl, while giving her a new Name, Vidalia. Back at Joppa, a disciple of Tiamat sets his plan into motion to abduct Andromeda. On their way to the Norn Sisters, the group has to fight a Humbaba, the Lotophagi and Kalibos. Joining them in their last fight: the Djinn Raiders.
Finally they arrive at the Norn Sisters. As we all know, the Sisters tell Perseus that only the stare of the Medusa can kill the Leviathan. Charon's ferry takes them over the Tartaros, arriving at Medusa's Palace. While outside of the Palace most of the group gets killed by Centaurs, Perseus gets the Head of the Medusa. Now the group has to get back to Joppan in the four remaining days. Perseus and Vidalia share the night together. The next morning both are criticised by Amoun, when suddenly Set appears. He kills Amoun, then tries to kill Vidalia, but summoning godly powers Perseus can stop Set. When the few remaining survivors reach Joppa, they are stunned by the vast inhuman army besieging the city. Inside the royal Palace Princess Andromeda gets abducted, as the people of Joppa want to sacrifice her. 
It's about time for the Showdown:
The two armies, Tiamat's and Joppa's, start their relentless battle against each other, while on the other side of the city the Kraken emerges, demanding the sacrifice of Princess Andromeda. Perseus summons a Pegasus and flies over the battle field to save Andromeda, who fell down into the ocean, now exposed to the Leviathan. Perseus can defeat the Leviathan with the help of Medusas' head, Tiamat disappears and Joppa's army can overrun the rest of Tiamat's horde. 
In the aftermath Princess Andromeda offers Perseus the King's throne, but he refuses. The last scene has Perseus speak to Zeus. The young demi-god accepts his heritage and thanks his real father, before going to search for his love, Vidalia.

2. Script Changes
The differences to the last script are only minor. One minor character dissapears, but Calabus makes a return as Kalibos. But now he is not the son of Hera anymore, but the deformed King Acrisius. Accept for these changes the whole structure and all characterizations stay the same.

3. Analysis
The revised  script makes only superficial improvements. The problems of story, motivation and character writing is untoched. But in addition to the problems mentioned in my earlier post, i would like to adress some other things, that really bothered me:
- Reasonable Doubt: How can you doubt the gods, when they are ever present? In this script all kinds of gods, from the highest to the lowest ranks, are running around on earth, very present, but still, every, and I mean every line of dialogue spoken by Perseus revolves around one topic only: Are there Gods? Can I really be a demi-god?
- Avoidance of Dilemma: The script goes out of his way to avoid any kind of dilemma from the start: Instead of making us care for Andromeda by letting Perseus (and the viewer) fall in love with her, letting us care for her, would make seem her sacrifice meaningful. But no! Perseus and Andromeda clearly state that they won't marry on page 37. There goes our dilemma.
- The Female Issue: As I read this script I couldn't help but notice the way women are portraited: Andromeda is shown as a promiscious young girl, who only wants to party and seduce handsome men. Her mother Queen Cassiopeia is the one getting drunk and provoking Tiamat, thus starting the whole ordeal. The Wilting Girl is so helpless, shy and pale, that she does not deserve a name, until a man gives her one. Medusa, of course, the villain they have to defeat turned into the monster she is, after she was disgraced by a man. But not the man turned into a monster, no, the young girl gets punished by the gods and has to hide in her palace far away from every other human being. I can not find words to describe my anger of such things!

4. Conclusion

The story is, on the surface, your typical Hero's Journey, but all the details are wrong! The characters do and say stupid things most of the time; their motivations are foggy and the end is unsatisfaying: All in all not a great basis to make a big Blockbuster.
But this was not the final shooting script, many changes were made before going into production. So, in the movie all the gods were strictly out of the greek mythology (the Villain is then Hades not Tiamat); Perseus family gets killed, which sends Perseus on his quest and so on. 

5. Questions
-  I plan on reviewing certain aspects of these scripts to find out how they work. Are you interested in reading something like this? 
- I still struggle with the ideal length of my posts. Do I write too much? Not enough? Should I structure my posts in some other way?
Your feedback is heartly appreciated!

No comments:

Post a Comment