Clash of the Titans as a way-serious action epic is a senseless endeavor. It misses the point entirely. Can you imagine something like a “reimagining” of Big Trouble In Little China without dudes heads exploding and Jack Burton's one-liners? Or a remake of Boondock Saints without the hysterical gun battles and Willem Dafoe's absurdly over-the-top police detective? Of course not. If you love these movies, you love them for their ludicrousness. The whole appeal of the 1981 Clash of the Titans is that it's stupid, cheeseball fun. Between Harry Hamlin's non-acting, Laurence Olivier's over-acting, and Ray Harryhausen's legendarily primitive stop-motion animated creatures, it was a perfect recipe for watchable terribleness. Now comes the 2010 “reimagining,” sans fun, sans silly, sans watchability. It's still got the terrible, though.
Noted charisma vacuum Sam Worthington (sporting the only haircut he's apparently capable of) takes over the role of Perseus, a half-man, half-god in ancient Greece who one day finds himself in the middle of a war between the people of Argos and the Greek pantheon, headed by Zeus (a fake-bearded Liam Neeson, looking like a cross between a young Billy Gibbons and a nightlight). The humans have shunned the gods, and Zeus is a might bit pissed about it. He sends his scheming, sniveling brother, Hades (an even beardier, even hammier Ralph Fiennes), to send a message to the people of Argos: Sacrifice the king's daughter, Andromeda, before a solar eclipse, or Zeus will unleash the Kraken, a sort of seabeasty equivalent of a doomsday device.
You've undoubtedly seen the trailer by now, or at least encountered any one of the various Internet memes spawned from that delightfully stupid line uttered by Neeson. Spoiler alert: A Kraken is, at some point, unleashed. However, before that can happen, Perseus and a band of glowering soldiers have to venture off to find the Stygian Witches, fight some giant scorpions, hang out with a weird group of desert mystics that look like the Rock Lords of Arabia, and eventually behead a thoroughly CG-looking Medusa.
The set-up for all of this is contracted to the point of non-existent, but that's kind of irrelevant. Clash wants to be a big set-piece action movie, and that would be fine, if the set pieces were memorable or exciting. Director Louis Leterrier has little interest in staging an action sequence with less than five camera cuts per second. Everything darts so much it's exceedingly hard to keep track of who is stabbing what. The battles with various CG monsters aren't even laughably bad. They're just lame. Take the fight with Medusa, who isn't cheesy scary or scary-scary. She just looks positively awful. Remember all the crummy plastic Keanu Reeves CG stuff in Matrix: Reloaded? It reminded me a lot of that, only somehow worse. The sole saving grace is the fight with the giant scorpions. They're the closest thing to a proper Harryhausen nod anywhere in this thing. Well, that and the random appearance of Bubo, the mechanical owl, for a half-second.
I'm not trying to claim that the makers of this movie would have somehow been best served slavishly dedicating themselves to recapturing the B-grade puerility of the original, but a definitive nudge in the direction of camp could have done this flick some good. Neeson (who seems hellbent on buying a solid gold house, what with all the crap he's appearing in this year) and Fiennes are the only ones who seem to realize how positively dull this thing is. They try to inject a bit of goofiness into this thing, but are stifled over and over by special effects and the script's insistence on shoving them to the side in favor of Worthington and his band of unmerry men.
It's really weird, because it feels like the movie should have had more with the Gods. Danny Huston appears for a fleeting breath to say a single line as Poseidon, as does Alexander Siddig as Hermes. The casting of the pantheon seems to suggest additional screen time for these characters, but evidently none of it made it into the movie. Instead Worthington broods, and fights, then broods, then fights, then broods some more. He is given a sort of tacked-on love interest in Gemma Arterton's Io, another demi-god who floats between flirting with him and spouting stately-sounding exposition about the various Greek myths the audience apparently doesn't know about. But the two have zero chemistry, and nothing of note ever comes out of their pairing.
The obvious remaining elephant in the room here is the film's 3D presentation, if you can really call it that. Clash wasn't filmed as a 3D movie. It was given the 3D treatment in post-production, and I can assure you that lack of forethought shows in the final product. The 3D is terrible. Nothing looks three-dimensional so much as it does blurry. You get a couple of moments with the Kraken and the giant scorpions that look 3D enough, but anyone paying extra money to see this thing with the silly glasses is getting severely ripped off.
Even if you freed it from the cheese-laden shackles of the Clash of the Titans name, this update does next-to-nothing to stand out as a memorable, stand-alone epic. There's nothing on display here that's particularly fresh or exciting. It's all been done countless times before, and better at that. Maybe it's because I am very much a product of the PlayStation generation, but having played through the games in the God of War series, I feel like they do a far superior job of setting up the various beasts and creatures and Gods of Greek mythology as slayable antagonists in an epic setting. In a sense, that series was already a sort of Clash of the Titans update, if not in name, then in spirit. That just makes this movie seem even less necessary, by comparison.
|review||Correct Title: "Of The" (2 out of 5)||Battlepig|
|news||The Ferryman in Film: Death Personified as a Tour Guide||AndyGray|
|blog||How to make 3D movies not suck.||advent_crash|
|blog||Movie Grades:Top 5 Movies of 2010||toekneebeeears|
|review||Movie Grades : Clash of the Titans ( 2010 ) (3 out of 5)||toekneebeeears|
|news||So Just How Scandalous is It that Wrath of the Titans is Converting to 3D in Post?||No_name_here|
|review||Clash of the Titans (1 out of 5)||BrooksWasHere|
|news||Neeson Leashing His Krakens for Wrath of the Titans||No_name_here|