Theatrical Review: Clash of the Titans

Clash of the Titans tells us the story of Perseus, a young man who discovers that he is the mortal son of the Greek god, Zeus, though he was raised by a normal (and god-fearing) family of fishermen. Through the start of the film, questions are raised of the validity of the gods by Perseus’ father as they’ve been suffering in their trade. Perseus’ family comes to the city of Argos, where a massive defiance of the gods is taking place. As a result of this, Perseus is the only member of his family left alive after the god Hades attacks the city. The gods give the citizens of Argos an ultimatum that they will release the fearsome Kracken upon them unless a sacrifice is made of Argos’ princess, Andromeda. Perseus is given the opportunity to find a way in which to save the city and the princess, and at the same time, looking for his own chance to exact his revenge on Hades.

Clash of the Titans is a remake of the 1981 movie of the same name. the original movie was the last film from legendary stop-motion effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen (and it was a pretty big bomb when it first came out as well). I saw the original back when it came out and I’ve seen it more since then and I have to say I’m a big fan of the film. I also tend to think that the original is ripe for a remake. Now don’t get me wrong, I do think the original is still very enjoyable to watch, but the effects are dated and action movies today have more intensity to them than what they did then, and so something like this could benefit from an updating. I think it does, though from what I’m gathering, I’m probably a minority on that.

This does make a lot of changes to the original in it’s story, giving Perseus a revenge angle instead of the love angle that he had for Andromeda in the original. The mechanical owl , Bubo, gets a nod here but is not serving the same function that it did in the original. Instead that role is filled by a a character named Io who acts as a guardian angel of sorts for Perseus. Hades wasn’t even prominent in the original, so his addition is all new and I think one of the better things about the new movie. And there are more changes as well, and sorry to the purists, but they didn’t bother me.

I thought the effects work was pretty cool. Like Alice In Wonderland, there’s still a certain artificiality to them, which I tend to think is somewhat by design. They give the film, at least to me, a more comic book feel that I found appealing. What wasn’t as appealing though was the use of 3D here. Now it’s pretty well known that this movie was held back from it’s original release date to cash in on the big business that 3D movies are currently generating. It was transferred to 3D and not shot with it in mind, and it’s certainly apparent on-screen. There’s some depth up there, but it’s nowhere near the state of the art and if I had a chance to see this again, I’d probably opt for the 2D version.

But that’s my only complaint with the film. Yeah, it plays fast and loose with the “real” mythology, but so did the original film. It didn’t bother me then and it certainly doesn’t bother me now. It’s solid popcorn adventure from director Louis Letterier who certainly has done well by me in delivering that in his past movies. And a couple of the scenes, again for me, delivered the same thrills as the original. Those scenes being the battle with the Medusa and Perseus’ final defeat of the Kracken.

The cast is very good, with for me the highlights being the casting of Liam Neeson as Zeus and Ralph Fiennes as Hades. Sam Worthington plays Perseus, and I think he does a nice job here. There’s a nice intensity to what he does that’s certainly way more committal than what Harry Hamlin did in the original. Other standouts to me where Mads Mikkelson as Draco, the leader of Argos’ forces who accompanies Perseus on his quest and Gemma Arterton as Io who struck me more with her beauty more than anything else, but she’s still solid in the role.

I certainly recommend the movie, but not in 3D. The only plus that I see to seeing it in 3D is that an audience going to see a movie in 3D is likely to be more attentive to watching the film, rather than be fooling around with their text-messaging. I thought it was a lot of fun, and certainly something that I look forward to seeing again down the road.

About Darren Goodhart

Darren Goodhart is a 44-year old St. Louis-based Graphic Designer and Illustrator (and former comic book artist) who's been seeing movies all his life, but on an almost weekly basis in theatres for the last 20 years and owns nearly 1,000 DVDs for his home theatre. He's learned a lot about film over the 20 year period, and has taken his appreciation beyond the mainstream. His favorite types of film are mostly genre entertainment, but he also enjoys a wide range of drama, action and cult-y stuff from around the world, and is currently re-discovering a love affair with lower budget exploitation and genre films from the 70s and early 80s. He doesn't try to just dismiss any film, but if there's a bias against one, he'll certainly tell you that in the space of his reviews.

04. April 2010 by Darren Goodhart
Categories: Text Reviews, Theatrical Review | 1 comment

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