Are You Not Entertained?
When in doubt, Hollywood tends to find inspiration in mythology. Folklore of ancient people is with compelling storylines and vibrant characters, so filmmakers, T.V. storywriters and video game directors can look back in time to find rich source material. With the release of Marvel's "Thor: The Dark World" we look at some Hollywood heroes and gods that were inspired from myth.
Disney’s depiction of the Greek god Hercules is another prime example of the slight differentiation between modern day hero and myth.
From the Greek Heracles, later adapted by the Romans to Hercules, this mythical hero was the son of Zeus, king of the gods, and the mortal Alcmene. He is most famous for his extreme strength and his many far-ranging adventures, which took him all over the Greco-Roman world.
The Hercules of myth has been said to have slayed a lion, a nine-headed hydra, a wild boar, procure the girdle of Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, steal the apples of Hesperides, nymphs who tend a blissful garden in Greek mythology and capture and bring back Cerberus, the three-headed dog.
In the Disney representation of this classic mythical hero, Hercules is depicted as the son of the god Zeus and the goddess Hera. He is stripped of his godlike immortality as an infant by Zeus’ jealous brother Hades and must become a true hero, through a series of tasks, in order to reclaim it.
Hercules is stripped of everything that makes him immortal, with the exception of his superior strength and is then brought to earth and adopted by two farmers Amphitryon and Alcmene. After learning that he is in fact the son of a god, Hercules seeks out the satyr Philoctetes, “Phil,” a former trainer of hero’s so that he can train him and Hercules can regain his status among the gods.
While Disney’s depiction of this Greek myth is accurate to some degree, there is a good amount of differentiation in order to make the animated musical more interesting to children. In mythology Hercules remains the son of Zeus but is born to a mortal mother and does not loose his Greek-like powers due to a jealous brother. He does in fact fight a lion, a nine-headed hydra, a wild boar and the three-headed dog Cerberus in the animated film. He also fights a Cyclops, the Titans and the centaur Nessus, which he does not concur in the actual myth.
The Disney depiction of this great mythical hero is used to draw in the attention of small children, while peppering their colorful musical with facts based on the true Greek myth and ones created to follow the plot line Disney intended to portray. -- Emily Corkum, Fashion Editor
Achilles is the Greek hero of the Trojan War according to Greek mythology and the primary character in Homer’s Iliad. He is said to be a demigod with a nymph for a mother and a king for a father. His most notable accomplishment during the Trojan War was in slaying the Trojan hero Hector outside the gates of Troy.
In the 2004 film Troy based on Homer’s Iliad, Achilles, played by actor Brad Pitt is depicted as a brutish and hyper sexualized warrior focused of the destruction of Troy and the Greek’s eventual winning of the Trojan War. Achilles is depicted closely to his mythical representation in his cunning and strength in the face of war, however, through the portrayal of Brad Pitt he is seen as a sexualized being in order to draw in female audiences. The film focuses more on his musculature and constant half-naked ness over actual details found in Greek mythology.
The depiction of Achilles in Troy, is accurate, however, in his depiction as the hero of the Trojan War and his eventual slaughtering of Hector outside the cities gates.
In Greek mythology the Sirens are seen as beautiful, dangerous creatures whose voices lured sailors, rendering them incomprehensible and leading them to shipwreck. The myth they are most famous for is Homer’s “Odyssey” a favorite of high school English teachers. In the “Odyssey” Odysseus tells his companions to tie him up and plug their ears with beeswax as to avoid their enchanting music. Odysseus goes without beeswax and endures a painful foretelling of the future as he listens to their singing, begging to be untied. This was a strong plot point in the “Odyssey” where Odysseus is seen enduring great amounts of pain for their total safety, proving himself as a strong leader and captain.
“O Brother, Where Art Thou?” is a modern satirical take on the great myth taking place in Mississippi during the Great Depression as three men escape from prison and go on a wild “Odysseus”-themed journey. One of the film’s proudest feats is a fantastic period-specific soundtrack featuring many folk tunes, and the song of the Sirens fits just that. One of the three men escaping, Pete (John Turturro, “Transformers”) forces Everett (George Clooney, “Up in the Air”) to pull over when he hears the faint sound of their song. They all rush down to the river to discover three Sirens washing their clothes in the river and become mystified by the sultry women. Aside from the time period and place, the Sirens have the same motivations as Greek myth allows, they just use sex appeal and mead as opposed to just a faraway song.