Back before the boy, I went to see the Sherlock Holmes (in an actual movie theatre, mind you), which, if it weren’t for a certain delicious shirtless wonder, I might never have gone to see as I am easily annoyed by other movie patrons (especially if you are a loud talker, and too lazy, arrogant, and rude to put away your phone) and disgusted by the general aroma of butter stained seats that lovingly embrace me in the humid, sticky darkness.

And it wasn’t terrible (the movie or the movie theatre). In fact, If I remember right, I think I actually enjoyed myself. After all, any movie viewing experience that promises to resurrect a dearly loved childhood story is bound to be a success, isn’t it? Well isn’t it?

I must have seen Clash of the Titans a hundred times growing up. OK, maybe it was more like ten, but those were the second best ten days of my life. The first best, of course, would be the ones I spent alone in the woods, my woods, (not all together mind you) which come to think of it, might be the third and fourth best too. When was the last time you were in the woods, silent and alone?

It’s harder and harder to find silence these days. At least the kind that doesn’t include highway traffic and airplane engine noise. This is partly why I’d rather enjoy movies in my own home. At least I can rewind to counteract the obnoxious commentary, or take a break and have some “alone time” without missing a pivotal scene.

When the previews for Sherlock Holmes promised a new Clash of the Titans, I remember drooling with anticipation over the possibility of a remake. Willful disbelief, perhaps? Well. The man and I watched it last night and: it. was. terrible.

Why was it terrible? I’m glad you asked. But let’s not dwell too long on the shortcomings, shall we? There are things to do, so let’s just focus on the most important failures:

  1. First and foremost, there is the issue of CGI. This might not be a shortcoming to most people, and in fact, it seems indeed to attract more audiences than it turns away, but more and more CGI is being used to update “older” and, in my mind, classic films, to cater to the modern viewer, who, it seems, are thought incapable of suspending disbelief long enough to enjoy it without the help of a computer-generated monolith reaching through the screen in 3D.
  2. Secondly, the story is remade to the point of obscuring the original. Nowhere in the 1981 film is Perseus (our hero) at war with the gods. Yet, in the 2010 remake, he boldly “takes a stand” against them to say “enough is enough” (as vengeance for his slain family, who are casualties of a war between the nearby city of Argos and Zeus). This revenge, which prompts him to embark on his journey toward its eventual end, is found nowhere in the original. But this is only one of the many inconsistencies between the original plot and her contemporary.
  3. Lastly, it is noisy as all get out. The original film, although pretty long-winded at 118 minutes (probably well beyond the attention span of today’s tech-junk-e audience) is markedly quiet by comparison. The original movie is filled with opportunities of long silence, or near silence, which let us hear the flickering of candles and rattle of Medusa’s tail as she slithers through the shadows, fitting another arrow into her bow; silences which give us a chance to imagine what might be, rather than gasping at what is, and what is, and what is again every second without taking a breath amid the screams and shouts of scared witless bounding amid crashing stones. Oh, and don’t forget the soundtrack.

The husband wondered aloud if our son would love the classic, as we both have for so many years, and it got me thinking, maybe not. After all, we live in a culture which prizes noise over silence, instant gratification over delayed pleasure, and fewer and fewer spaces for creative, innovative, sustainable thought.

How do we create a rich inner life for children who grow in a culture that does not demand one?