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Clash of the Titans Review

 

A good special-effects era mythology movie is bound to happen at some point, but we’re definitely still waiting. Clash of the Titans is merely a modern incarnation of the original that in the age of CGI monsters and impressive fight sequences plops lazily in the category of status quo, something its 1981 cult predecessor was anything but thanks to the groundbreaking stop-motion work of Ray Harryhausen.

That’s where my comparison of these films nearly 30 years apart starts and ends. 2010’s Clash of the Titans has enough faults of its own. It serves up the meat and potatoes we come to expect of any action film, especially in a post-”300″ world of modern swords-and- sandals epics, but there’s a definite lack of gravy. No surprises, no unique features — even star Sam Worthington as the hero Perseus comes off dusty after the true “titan” that “Avatar” was.

The myth of the Greek hero/demi-god Perseus, though butchered completely in this movie, is still essentially the quest to retrieve the head of Medusa. In “Titans,” Perseus finds himself in the troubled city of Argos after his adoptive family is killed by Hades, who has uncharacteristically left his domain in the Underworld because humans have begun acting out in defiance of the gods. Hades gets the gods of Mt. Olympus to agree to unleash his Kracken, the beast who defeated the titans long ago, on Argos if they don’t sacrifice their princess, Andromeda, in reverence of the gods.

Angry at the gods himself, (and already embittered by the opinions of his father who not- so-subtly suggests “someone, someday will take a stand”), Perseus is slightly unhappy to learn he almost is one. He agrees to consult the Fates and learn what he can do to defeat this fearsome beast, but he wants to do it on his terms — as man, not as a god.

Twisting mythology is small stuff, however, on the list of the script’s flaws. It’s a typical hero’s journey story told almost entirely by dialogue. Not narration, but using dialogue to move the scenes rather than let images and events speak for themselves. It’s horribly amateur and as a result the lines are all throwaway. The script speaks of grand themes such as humanity vs. godliness which don’t work when you don’t care for the humans because the beginning is scraped together and told in this talk-heavy way.

Impressed by the action work on The Incredible Hulk, I had reasonably high expectations for director Louis Leterrier, but the action scenes are aimless and ill-conceived. I once again fault the trio of inexperienced and low-quality writers, however, because they gave these scenes no shape and which prodded Leterrier toward milking them for whatever they did have, using too many slow-mo shots and the like. He does some great flying camera takes and the Medusa scene turned out fairly exciting — even though the gorgon was kinda awkwardly sexy, which you can interpret however you like.

The art direction renders mixed results. Medusa’s lair was well-conceived and I did like the vision of Charon the Styx ferryman, but the weird shiny armor of the gods was corny and the horrific makeup used to disfigure venerable actors Neeson as Zeus and Fiennes as the oddly asthmatic Hades was below true blockbuster quality. The cgi effects were sound, particularly Hades turning into puffs of smoke and such.

Finally — and no spoilers here — the Kracken is released, just in case you didn’t catch Neeson saying that in every TV spot. Why Warner Bros. wanted to release the Kracken in ads and completely spoil the biggest reveal/tool to shock the audience the movie has is a question beyond me and says a lot about their confidence in this generic adventure film.

Rating: 4/10

Clash of the Titans

Directed by Louis Leterrier
Written by Travis Beacham, Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi
Starring: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes

Other Player Affinity Reviews:

Simon thought: “Clash of the Titans is the type of film that will leave you satisfied but far from enamored. During the running time there are ample instances of the requisite action sequence, special effects and a plethora of A-list stars which keep the story grounded (at least to some degree). This is popcorn fluff of the highest order, bogged down, however, by an overabundance of mish-mashed lore and mythology swirling in a vortex of plot contrivances. After the screen has at last grown dark there is little to contemplate. You know you had a fun time; no more, no less.” Rating: 7/10

Chris thought:
“In the new Clash of the Titans we get a CGI slugfest of epic proportions. This film follows the same formula as the original but with some minor changes here or there. The lead role or Perseus is played by Avatar’s Sam Worthington. This is Worthington’s third big CGI blockbuster in a young career; he seems to get involved in a lot of the swinging at air movies. Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes round out the main cast as Zeus and Hades. If you have seen the original then you may love or hate this film. I do not recommend seeing this in 3D because there are no huge effects that are worth seeing because, a product of transferring a film not intended to be 3D to begin with. In that version Perseus falls in love and gets the princess he saves from the Kraken, the big monster at the end of the film. In this version it seems Perseus could care less about her and just wants to kill Hades for killing his family. He does have a love interest, but it’s the immortal Io. In the original Perseus welcomes the gifts from the gods namely his father Zeus. In the new one he wants nothing to do with the gods and spits on their name every chance he gets. The iconic mechanical owl from the original is also picked up out of a box of trash and told that it’s nothing important. The truth is Worthington wanted nothing to do with the bird and was going to walk off the set if he had to work with the puppet any further. Rating: 8/10


Dinah thought:
 “The advertising for Clash of the Titans gave the impression it would have the majesty of 300. Sadly the film only lived up to the standard of The Mummy. It suffered mostly from over-promotion, with all the fun scenes already spoiled in commercials. Worse, the shoddy editing is obvious and rushed. Studios should just say no to 3-D conversion. Rating: 3/10

Player Affinity Composite Rating: 5.5/10

 

Rating
5.5

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