Issue: 12.01
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Hi Gang, and greetings from Hollywood!

Shalom, Gang!

And, welcome back, Michael! It’s wonderful to have you back at the helm. I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say you were missed!

In the film, “Jurassic Park” Jeff Goldblum had a line that pretty much sums up my philosophy about sequels and remakes. Regarding genetic engineering he says “Your scientists were so obsessed with if they could, they never stopped to think if they should”. This could be applied to the production geniuses who brought us last year’s remake of “Clash of the Titans”. Granted, the original’s special effects, state of the art in their day, now seem stiff and almost amusing in their inadequacy. But these clowns weren’t satisfied with that. They sat back and said, “Why don’t we just rewrite mythology itself?” And they did.

The end result was a misshegas of bad acting, bad writing, bad directing, and bad casting. Sam Worthington (Perseus), and Liam Neeson (Zeus), were wasted on a script that was beneath them. All that remained from the original myth and the original film were the scorpions, which was a relief until they captured one and domesticated it overnight and it was thereafter used as a beast of burden. The Stygian Witches looked almost the same as in the original but, like everyone else in the cast, came off as two-dimensional and dull. For unfathomable reasons, Pegasus was made black, and the Kraken looked like someone had crossbred the Rancor from “Star Wars” with an octopus. I will grant you, the CGI image of Medusa was far better in the sequel than in the original, but even that couldn’t save this turkey. The mindless reworking of the storyline made it impossible to follow, especially if you knew the original. If you decide to rent it despite this warning, pause the film from time to time and listen very carefully…you’ll be able to hear Lawrence Olivier and Burgess Meredith turning over in their graves!

If, however, you want to see a mythic story done right, get “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightening Thief”, spearheaded by Chris Columbus. Here is a man who’s a real storyteller! The writing is superb, and the acting is impeccable. Logan Lerman shines as Percy, the unwitting son of the God Poseidon who finds himself the only thing standing between two factions on Mount Olympus who are about to make war. Brandon Jackson, as Grover the Satyr, sent to protect Percy, is hysterical; the perfect sidekick. Pierce Brosnan as the Centaur Chiron, is wonderful, (you’ll plotz when you see how far they’ve come since TV’s “Hercules” combined a man and a horse,) and Uma Thurmon as Medusa steals everything but the cameras. The Arial fight scenes are the best I’ve seen since Christopher Reeve kicked Terrance Stamps tokhes in 1980’s “Superman II” . This movie is the best of what can happen when CGI effects are used to enhance a story rather than replace it.

That’s it for now. Hope you all had a glorious holiday season, and may 2011 be your best year ever. Till next month, Gang!

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