the missing sequel
What surprised me most is how contemporary this movie of 1963 is -
I watch a lot of old movies. I chose this movie, because I was first time to Greece shortly before. So I did not know much about it except that it is [spoiler] 1h 40min long and I have heard of the legend it is based on.
The first 20min a story is established. Its about a prophecy and most remarkable - the direct interaction of humans and gods. It is quite impressive that they did the direct interaction like in the Greek legends - newer movies about Greek legends mostly skip the gods or replace them by natural phenomena.
From the beginning Jason is only interested in getting his kingdom back - he actually does not seem to care much about the fleece, he just wants it so the people accept him as the new king.
Then there is the long voyage and for me the surprising amount of special effects. I just thought wow - this movie takes its time (which I like) - maybe I was mistaken and its 2h40min long, as half of the story is still to be told.
33 min before the end Medea appears. Compared to the monsters she feels like a side node - ok Jason apparently is attracted by her, but not like - wow I found my love and nothing else really matters any more, hm - maybe lets still take that fleece, we have done this long journey and the men would be unsatisfied otherwise. In fact it is not even clear if Jason really cares about her. It’s like, ok we incidentally found that attractive woman who provides valuable information and helps us to escape to be able to return home soon. The film lacks to establish a proper emotional relationship established between Jason and Medea. Medea has few scenes - and there are hardly any direct conversations between the two. The movie is just not about Medea, its about Jason, who has only one major interest: returning home as a hero to overthrow an unjust king.
What follows is a - for its time - impressive skeleton fight and the hero jumps into the sea - - -
and the movie is just over? - The following „ending“ is not even a minute long! The gods actually say: the rest is another story wiping away an image of Medea in Jason’s arms. The obligatory kiss - in your face - now everybody can go home satisfied. So, dear audience, you have your happy end - the hero got his girl. What do you want more?
I am sorry but this is just a bad joke.
What happened with the prophecy -
and by the way - they have to return on the same dangerous route - and then the real story - facing the not legitimate king and claiming a kingdom - just begins. And these already dead killing machine-skeletons are for sure not afraid of water but will just jump down like our hero and kill everybody as they were told to do…
In the last 20 years so many Hollywood movies are sequels and often are made to be continued. Too often there is a rushed „happy“-something and then a cliff-hanger, movie over.
So not for the special effects, score or acting - what is going on at the end here reminds me too closely of movies of today.
Some stories work marvelous as two-parter or trilogy. But here the sequel just has just never even been made. You could make a good movie just on a single occurrence of the journey, or just on the beginning - you do not have to tell everything, but whatever you tell, do it as a piece that can stand on its own. Pls if you end a movie just with a cliff-hanger, at least make sure the sequel will be made…
And if not - just make it enjoyable as independent film: take a minute to say something on a prophecy as prelude - if at all necessary - and start the movie as a hunt for the golden fleece. If you tell a story you can use all your freedom - give Medea a bit more substance and establish a real relationship between her and Jason so that at least the „happy“ ending is moving. Or change the story and make it a tale of a man going through the deadliest quests for something and finding a woman in the end instead. Or at least end the story with a new prophecy.
But like this it is just a pity - there were such promising elements - the beginning, the relationship between the gods and the human world, an interesting choice of actors, especially Hercules, very iconic monsters and quite a nice score. But they forgot about the story… [/spoiler]