Monday, June 22, 2015

Hollywood and The Titans of Myth

In Hollywood movies based on Greek Mythology, the term Titan keeps being applied to entities that don't actually seem like the Titans at all.  But rather more primal monsters, even though they are refereed to as the parents of the Olympian gods who are shown as idealized Super Powered humans.

The basis seems to come from intentionally confusing them with the other offspring of Ouranos and Gaea.  The Cylcopses, the Hundredhanders, the Gigantes and Typhon.  They are very inhuman creatures, like the beings created by or corrupted by Morgoth in Tolkien's works.  But in the actual Mythology the Titans are defined as being not like those monsters, they were the successful offspring, and were entities very much like their Olympian children, entities that would in Tolkien more resemble the Valar.

This trend started at least as early as Disney's Hercules animated movie.  Where in addition to making Hades seem like the Devil, they also used the word Titans when what the climax was clearly actually based on was the legend of Herakles helping the Olympians fight off the Gigantes.  The Gigantarchy not the The Titanarchy.

Then there was The Immortals, a very garbled version of the Theseus legend.  Where the name Hyperion is given to a Human king who should have been Minos.  And the Titans just look like very big Orcs.

And in Wrath of The Titans, the only entity we see who shares a name with a Titan is Cronos.  But this Cronos is more like Typhon.  And in Clash of The Titans which that is a sequel to the remake, the justification for putting Titans in the name is the Kraken.  The Kraken isn't actually Greek at all but exploration era sea faring folklore derived from Norse legends.  The monster Perseus actually slays at Joppa is the Ketos/Cetus, who was not a Titan.

All this is perhaps done to try and give Greek Mytholgoy a more Lovecraftian vibe.  While some Greek mythical ideas likely influenced Lovecraft, in Greek myth the age before the known world was a Golden Age, not the primal demonic wasteland of Lovecraft and the Buffyverse.

A few times they've just been depicted a Giants (like that one Xena episode).  Likely influenced by Christians associating them with The Nephilim/Genesis 6, which itself is because the word Giant comes from Gigantes.  This trend probably helped inspire the anime Attack on Titan.

DC Comics however has depicted The Titans of Myth how they were (in-spite of getting plenty else about Greek Mythology wrong).  There were different story-lines for them between Pre-Crisis and Post-Crisis, but in both were depicted a plausible parents of The Olympians.

Wonder Woman is the initial basis for bringing Greek Mythology into the DC Universe, but The Titans of Myth are usually involved with the Teen Titans.  Their Pre-Crisis appearances are collected in New Teen Titans Archives Vol 2.  And for Post-Crisis appearances get New Teen Titans: Who Is Donna Troy and Teen Titan/Outsider: The Death and Return of Donna Troy.

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