If you like the Odyssey, don't watch this!
Motu Masala | Gardena, California United States | 01/24/2001
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The back of the packaging reads, ". . . [Odysseus'] faithful wife, Penelope, is wooed by many ambitious Princelings who hope to capture his throne. . . ." Oddly, this version of the Odyssey has neither a "Penelope" waiting for him at home, nor ambitious suitors vying for his throne. Instead, the young princess, "Nausicaa," whom Odysseus meets on the isle of "Phaeacia" (6.127-), in this version of the story, is named "Penelope" and, in as strange an addition as I've ever seen, Odysseus must rescue her from a human sacrifice to the Sea-God Poseidon, thus mixing the story up with the myth of "Perseus and Andromeda." If that, however, weren't enough, the sea-monster, to which "Andromeda" would otherwise be offered, is now replaced by a "Poseidon" dwarf, which like Homer's "Old Man of the Sea," whom Menelaus wrestles, shifts into the shape of many beasts (4.455-59). At the story's end, Odysseus sails off into the sunset with "Nausicaa"/"Penelope," in effect countering everything normally connoted by the name of the "Penelope" (i.e. Shroud Weaver) (see Book 19). Those of us familiar with the story also remember the Cyclops in the cave asking, "What's your name?", to which Odysseus responds, "My name is Nobody" (9.366). This makes for a humorous scene, when after being blinded by Odysseus, the Cyclops cries out to the other Cyclopes, "Nobody is killing me" (9.408), thus incurring their derision. One could certainly understand altering the scene to make it more suitable to children, since this is, after all, a cartoon; for example, Odysseus could slam a rock on the Cyclops' foot, instead of poking out his eye. But strangely, although the movie does show the Cyclops' eye being gouged out, it leaves out the "my name is Nobody" humor all together, which of all the original work's most humorous parts would, likely, be the best appreciated by young viewers. From a completely objective standpoint, the cartoon wasn't all that bad to watch, yet calling it the "Odyssey," instead of (let's say) "Mythology Sloppy Joe," is a great misrepresentation and a greater insult to lovers of Homer's epic."