So, we’ve got two historical films — probably epic departures from real events — coming out in the next two weeks.
First is Pompeii, which tries to capture both history geeks and romance-seeking women all in one shot. It’s like Titanic, complete with hubris, but this time it’s a big volcano that sticks it to the man.
The second film is 300: Rise of An Empire. Both films are sure to be completely absurd in their historical relevance, much like others: Troy, Kingdom of Heaven and Gladiator. Still, they are sweeping heroic tales that provide us, the viewers, with incredible CGI, and horrible, Western-saturated dialogue.
But Hollywood doesn’t make its riches from authenticity. If they stuck to accuracy, the film would be as interesting to the public as a French archaeology dig, (a little archaeology class humour for those who get it).
As a graduate of University of Toronto’s archaeology program, I’m always fascinated when mythologies of past civilizations are brought to the big screen.
So, without further ado, here are my five picks for myths that deserve to be adapted, (or re-adapted), for the big screen.
||What: Popol Vuh
Where: Mexico, 200-900 AD
Why: The Maya Hero twins, Hunahpu and Xbalanque, would be a great story to be translated to the silver screen. Though the last Mayan-themed movie done, Apocalypto, by Mel Gibson, just made even, the tale of two men beating death gods in an ancient ball game is enough to tantalize the masses.
Where: Ancient Egypt, the end of the Fifth Dynasty
Why: If ever there’s a story about revenge, being locked up in a box, thrown in the Nile by your brother, is enough to come back from the grave. If done correctly, we’ll finally see the true villain of Egyptian mythology: Seth, rather than Anubis who has been wrongly depicted in Western films.
||What: The Epic of Gilgamesh
Where: Mesopotamia, 13th to 10th century BCE
Why: There are rumours of a film in the works, and that’s good only if Disney doesn’t have its grubby little mouse-mitts on it. The tale of Gilgamesh, king of Uruk, would be a Herculean task to bring to the big screen, but it can be done. If you’re looking for someone to play Ishtar, Aishawarya Rai is my pick.
||What: Dante’s Inferno
Why: If the Lord of Rings trilogy can pull plenty of dorks out of their moms’ basements, a 14th-century poem could be brought to the big screen if the right person adapts it. Yes, Purgatorio and Paradiso would have to be done to round out the Divine Comedy, but I bet Inferno will be the prize winner.
Where: The World, through Norse eyes
Why: Basically put, it’s the End of Days story according to the Vikings. With the popularity of History Channel’s television show Vikings, this would definitely play on that, and offer us a better depiction of Norse gods than Marvel’s Thor. Spoiler alert: Everyone cool dies.