My Mom enjoys a certain amount of notoriety in her and my Dad’s house for a conversation she had with a few of her children. Several years ago when Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers was the new popular movie on DVD, a few of my siblings wanted to watch it at home. My Mother rejected the idea stating, “it’s just two hours of violence!” To which my brother quickly replied, “no Mom, this is the extended edition… its four hours of violence!” I don’t think my Mother liked it, but either the humor won her over, or my siblings were old enough at the time, that she wasn’t going to make a big deal out of it.

You can imagine my surprise when I heard that my Mother “liked” Clash of the Titans. Based on the trailers, I’d assumed it was a film long on action and special effects, and short on plot or character development. But after getting my Mom’s opinion (2nd hand), I just had to see this film. So I reserved it at a local Redbox the day it released, and gave it a watch.

And I was right… mostly. It was long on special effects and action, but surprisingly not so short on plot. All that aside, and at the risk of sounding like a real symbolism geek, the following is why I really quite enjoyed it, and am writing about a movie on a blog called Sacred Symbolic. Warning: spoilers ahead. Go watch it if you haven’t already, before reading this.

Messianic Symbolism

Because the true Church of Jesus Christ has been on the earth (with at least one exception) since Adam, and since Christ is the most important part of his church, it stands to reason that when a people strays from the truth, many shadows or reflections of Christ remain in their religious beliefs and mythologies. Direct parallels to Christ aren’t the only thing we’ll find, but they’re often most prevalent. We’re told in the Book of Abraham that one of the early Pharaohs openly copied the Melchizedek Priesthood teachings & organization, even though he had no authority, because it was not passed on to him through Noah:

Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of Noah, his father, who blessed him with the blessings of the earth, and with the blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood. (Abr. 1:26, emphasis added)

The Parallels

Having studied Ancient Greece some (though not much spent on mythology), I wasn’t surprised to find Messianic parallels in the story of Perseus. I was however, amazed at how many came through in this modern, Hollywood telling of the story of Perseus. Here are some of the parallels I saw in the movie itself.

  • There was a war in Heaven. The looser, Hades, is cast down to rule the underworld, but has power on earth. Hades gains power from the fears of humans.
  • A mortal woman becomes pregnant, but not by her husband, rather the child is the son of Zeus, the God of Heaven. Perseus, the child, as a result is half-mortal, half-immortal.
  • Perseus is raised by a mortal father who teaches him that he is special.
  • Perseus learns that he is the only one capable of saving humankind from the death and captivity that Hades will inflict upon them.
  • Perseus accepts all who will follow him in his quest, in spite of traditional biases and boundaries.
  • A woman is one of Perseus’ most faithful followers and believers.
  • Perseus is tempted to abandon his quest several times, but resists temptations and continues on.
  • Many people are ungrateful and unwilling to recognize Perseus as their savior, and even begin to worship Hades.
  • Perseus uses a token, given him by his father, to unlock the gates of the underworld.
  • Perseus visits the underworld after nearly dying. There he obtains the key to defeat Hades and save mankind.
  • Perseus wins the battle, conquering death (the kraken) and hell (the underworld/Hades/Medusa).
  • Perseus commits protect men from Hades when he gains power again.

It seems like there was one or two more, but I’ve forgotten them. Does reading these and seeing the movie help you think about Christ’s story in any new ways? Did anyone notice any other parallels that I missed? Please tell us about them, or any other thoughts you have, in the comments below.