Clash of the Titans (2010) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies
28Jul/100

Clash of the Titans (2010)

Andrew INDIFFERENTIn case you were wondering the direction the Clash of the Titans remake is going, there's an early scene that will make it's intentions abundantly clear.  While gearing up for his journey to find a way to defeat the Kraken, soon to be unleashed by the gods, Perseus (Sam Worthington) is sifting through a pile of equipment and finds a mechanical owl.  This machine/creature featured very prominently in the far more whimsical version of this film in 1982.  After lifting up the owl questioningly, another character tells him to forget it.

Movie shorthand - forget the whimsy and enchantment of the original version, it's time to get all gritty and hardcore now *grunt*.

It just so happened to be Clash's turn on the remake wheel o'rama in this, the creatively bankrupt year of our Lord 2010.  What's surprising is that the inherently whimsical elements of the story are still shine through the forced "manliness", and make a lot of the film fun.  It doesn't it save it from being a bit inconsequential, but as opposed to a lot of the other remakes that have popped up this year I'll actually remember a few images from this film.

For those of you needing a history lesson (or plot primer for this new version) Clash of the Titans is a mythic yarn in the Olympian mold.  The gods are growing angry and displeased at the lack of respect the mortals are showing them, and Zeus (Liam Neeson) allows his underworld dwelling brother Hades (Ralph Fiennes) to work his magic on the mortal realm to try and bring that respect back via fear.  Perseus, one of Zeus' many children, is enlisted by the local kingdom to try and stop Hades plan of releasing the Kraken, and find a way to prevent the sacrifice of the princess.

All a nice, solid foundation for a fun tale of swords and sorcery.  But this is 2010, and we need our heroes to be emotionally distant and tough, not vulnerable and effective.  To that end, Sam Worthington plays our hero with a minimum amount of fun.  He grunts through his action scenes and, when he speaks, is barely audible above the epic score and crashing of battle around him.  His voice is akin to that of an angry whisper, and is only heard when he yells (one of many times) "I DO THIS AS A MAN", because he has daddy issues to deal with.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Liam Neeson hams up the role of Zeus in a fashion that demands a better movie be brought forward.  His kind of scenery chewing is appreciated and takes place in the hallowed halls of Mount Olympus, where everyone looks like they were waxed to shiny perfection.  I loved every scene with the gods, because they looked like they were having fun with the material instead of treating it like an obstacle course.  Ralph Fiennes makes some strange acting choices though, adopting a more menacing whisper (perhaps to counteract Worthington's manly one?) and then completely abandoning it halfway through the film.

Acting aside, it still runs secondary to the spectacle of the action scenes, and I've got to say I was just an inch or two away from being really impressed.  Despite all the CGI trickery there's a real sense of weight and heft with a lot of the creatures, and Perseus' fight with the scorpions is a nicely sustained exciting scene.  Then there was his fight with medusa, which left me feeling horrible for the girl (that being kind of the point), and made great use of the environment.  I especially enjoyed Pegasus popping in for some assistance, and had no qualms with the wings looked on his horse frame.

By the end I was a little tuckered out though.  I can't blame the length, as it's only a little over an hour and a half long, but the forced toughness that was grafted on the material was not worth it.  For every amusing hunter you're got a gruff, no nonsense soldier lookin' to make a man outta the scrubs standing around him.  The styles don't mesh well at all, and I wish that everyone would have bothered to trust the inherent fun of the material instead of trying to make it the slightest bit "modern".

But then they wouldn't have been able to make the remake, would they?  Which is, I suppose, the single biggest problem about movies this year.  So, Clash of the Titans is not a complete waste of time - but you'd get a lot more fun, three times as much creativity, and a more pleasant experience if you just watch the original.

Clash of the Titans (2010)

Directed by Louis Leterrier.
Written by Travis Beacham and Phil Hay.
Starring Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, and Ralph Fiennes.

Posted by Andrew

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