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Clash of the Gods [Blu-ray]

Stan Bernard , Greg Ford , Christopher Cassel , Jessica Conway    NR (Not Rated)   Blu-ray
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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It's paradoxical that the most heavily invented and imagined parts in this 10-episode Clash of the Gods series are so much less riveting than the simple storytelling by scholars cast to recap the myths in classroom-lecture style. In these hour-long episodes, myths are dramatized with acting that borders on farce. Men pumping their muscles and grunting or monsters' eyes glowing flaccidly into the camera lens are marked periodically by CG blood splatters and modern primitive tattoo designs blazing across the screen that do nothing for Greek myth except make it feel oafish. Even narrator Stan Bernard's rowdy, punctuated speaking style reminds one of narration for a detective show or a wrestling match instead of an educational documentary highlighting history's greatest mythic heroes. While modernizing ancient myth is a controversial topic, there are many reasons a television show visually explicating the classics to reach new generations is a great idea. But the erratic, hectic visual style of this series does a disservice to already-exciting stories that, according to the show's mission, explain the ancient world's belief that nature was subject to the gods. Clash of the Gods' other premise, more in keeping with its sensationalistic tone, is to expose hidden truths behind the myths.

The majority of the series devotes episodes to the rise of the Olympian gods, beginning with Zeus's battle with his father, Kronos, and the Titans. Images of Zeus with a ridiculous white lightning bolt painted across his face repeat ad nauseam throughout to supposedly show how Zeus took control of mortal earth until consumed by his "uncontrollable sex drive." Likewise, the episode "Hercules" depicts a well-oiled man in tight underwear roaming the desert to elucidate how he is the world's "ultimate superhero." Only scholars like Tom Stone, who humorously likens Hercules to Babe Ruth, or Michael Fontaine from Cornell University, do any justice to the exploration of metaphorical connections between Hercules's 12-challenge quest and the ordeals humans were experiencing when the myth was popular. "Minotaur" better achieves its aim to link truths to the myth, by linking historical wars between the Cretans and Athenians to the horrific tale of the man-eating Cretan beast, deemed Athenian propaganda by historians like David George at Saint Anselm College. Also meaningful is the narrative thread in this episode about Theseus's dual fathers, one mortal and one god, and the fantastic connection between historical politicians, such as Alexander the Great, who believed that they too were conceived of two men. While "Medusa," the two-episode "Odysseus," and "Beowulf" do zilch to enlighten beyond basic redundant storytelling, the lamest episode of all is "Tolkien's Monsters," a heavy-handed look at how J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth was inspired by his days in the trenches during World War I. While the information in this series is informative and interesting, simulated drama and footage that repeats as if the History Channel ran out of material to edit in makes for possibly the worst series on mythology out there. Save your money and read the books instead. --Trinie Dalton

Product Description

Reacquaint Yourself With Myths So Powerful That They Remain Woven Into The Fabric Of The Present World, Resonating With Real-Life Relevance. From The Epic Tragedy Of Medusa, Greek Mythology'S Most Infamous Female Fiend, To Hercules, Its Greatest Action Hero, And Hades, Master Of The Land Of The Dead And A God So Feared No One Would Speak His Name, Explore These Myths And The Legendary Figures Who Inspired Them In Clash Of The Gods.

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Loved it! Jan. 13 2011
Format:DVD
I thought this DVD collection was wonderful and very educational. It did tend to repeat at times but I could tell it was beacuse it was originally made for TV and and TV doc's always repeat themselves, so other then that I would reccomend it. bang for your buck its good.
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Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  83 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Badly made but highly entertaining and educational Aug. 29 2011
By Aaron Wooldridge - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Clash of the Gods has horrible acting, cheap special effects, and uses the same footage over and over and over. But in spite of those very considerable flaws it is a very good show. Each episode focuses on either a deity or a legend, telling the basic story with the major emphasis being on both violence and sex. Ancient myths are usually told today in such a sanitized way that they are boring, but the truth is that those old tales are filled to the brim with extreme sex and violence. When a show tells the stories without shying away from the sex and violence the stories are much more entertaining and meaningful.

I am a huge fan of Beowulf, but I learned a few things about the legend from this show that I didn't already know. I am also a huge fan of Lord of the Rings, and likewise the Tolkien episode of Clash of the Gods revealed some things about Tolkien's mythology that I did not understand previously. This show has helped me to understand the Odyssey and Iliad like I never have before, and Thor the Norse god of thunder is a totally bad dude.

Be entertained. Baptize yourself in the flowing blood of the gods. You may just learn something along the way.
25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clash of the Gods: The Complete Season One Dec 31 2010
By Susan Gregg - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This DVD set is a fantastic teaching tool. I teach 9th grade and the 2 sections about Odysseus and his journey match our textbook exactly. It is a wonderful visual review for my students and helps explain the chronology in an effective way. Also, the section on Hades is helpful, as it explains how control was divided, and the three "levels" of the underworld, as it reinforces subject matter I have already taught. This set is a bargain for only about $30.00.
24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ye Gawds! May 3 2010
By Koreacollieman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A docu-drama of sorts. I enjoyed the insight of those presenters and the clarification on various points that I may have forgotten from High School. I did find the acting a bit stiff even for a Documentary but it accomplished the task. This would be a good intro for a freshman in HS who is not sure what to make of the Greek Gods of old. It may help inspire them to read and learn more. I would buy again as a gift.
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Clash of the Gods July 25 2013
By Harry E. Eiss - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I came to the Clash of the Gods late (long after it originally came out), and looking for some additional video to supplement my university lectures on mythology I decided to purchase it. I had no illusions about the likely flaws in the production (in other words, I assumed it would not be state-of-the-art cinema), but I hoped it would be better than students listening to a talking head. Unfortunately, this aspect was worse than I expected. It basically consists of an actor with his beard, bare chest, animal fur clothes and ridiculous face make-up trying to have as godlike an expression as possible as the camera shows different angles of him standing and staring (the females were similar). The animated parts were also far from current computer abilities. Still, this was not enough of a flaw to cause me not to use the videos (we all know videos for classroom use are not likely to have the high level production values as those of Hollywood--though there are some that do). What was really, really, really bad about this collection was the attitude taken by the "experts." Have they not heard of contemporary scholarship in mythology, such people as Joseph Campbell? The views expressed were based on assumptions that long ago got overturned, assumptions that myths are nothing more than the beliefs of stupid, primitive people who used them to "explain" the mysteries around them because they were so ignorant. Again and again the experts give smirking comments about those ancient people actually believing the gods literally did various things. There appears to be no understanding of how stories, how the world of "expression," how myths work. When discussing Zeus' affairs with women, the almost giggling commentary is how it is all his human-like desires for sex, and there is absolutely no suggestion that it might "symbolize" something, that it might work as a literary representation of truths beyond "explanation." This initial video on Zeus, by the way, simply ends by saying he was defeated by Christ and the new religion, with absolutely no suggestion that the Romans had long ago lost any real faith in Zeus (who, by the way, was not as all powerful or separated from the other gods as suggested). I would remind the experts in these videos that in the world of academia and scholarship the Bible is considered a mythology (which is not a put down but praise, as myths are expressing the highest truths). Myths are not bad science; myths are not science at all. And while they do interact with history, they are not meant to be bad history either. They are a form of expression that embraces truths beyond those of science and logic. Since it's obvious the videos are mainly presented by those with a Christian background, I suggest they look at their own mythology and see how it could also be reduced to ridicule in the same unenlightened way these other myths have been. If you are looking for a good discussion of mythology, purchase the set of videos where Bill Moyers interviews Joseph Campbell. It has its flaws, but it is far superior to this mess.
22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clash is a great teaching resource June 12 2010
By David J. Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I teach Latin in Middle School. Clash of the Gods is a great aide to explaining the workings of mythology to teenagers. It most definately holds their interest while at the same time conveying a great deal of information.
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