“Clash of the Titans” Movie Review

Movie poster for "Clash of the Titans"The original “Clash of the Titans” wasn’t exactly a master piece, this often gets lost in translation by the adoring fans. For it’s time perhaps it was something amazing, but growing up I only saw bits and pieces of it and never had any real attachment, so to me that creates a lot of room for a remake to come in and do something great. Greek mythology leaves so much space to explore that you would think there’s minimal room for misfires, of course you’d be wrong.

Why you’ll like this:
Lots of big computer generated effects; includes some Greek mythos

“Clash of the Titans” takes place in ancient Greek times, primarily in and around a city called Argos, where the people have become arrogant and no longer see the gods as a necessity to their life. Unfortunately for Zeus and the other gods they need the prayers of humans to live, this hubris triggers the gods to warn the city that they require a sacrifice, either the king’s daughter or the entire town will be devoured by the Kraken monster. This sets in motion the discovery of Perseus that he is the demigod son of Zeus, and he takes the journey to find a way to defeat the Kraken.

The movie opens by laying the ground of how the humans and gods’ relationship works, then it promptly jumps to old men cursing the gods, “Oh drat! How long will I tarry with the gods?!” I half-expected Shatner to be around the corner yelling for Khan. While the original film wasn’t a cinematic tour de force, the remake sure could’ve stolen more than the title, starting by taking the motivation for Perseus’ journey. In the 1981 version he has instantly fallen in love with Andromeda, the princess whose life is in peril, so he risks life and limb to save her, aided by his loving father from above. Here, everything is backwards, not only does Perseus not care about Andromeda, but once he knows who his father is he hates him, and that bitter attitude is swallowed by Zeus likewise. So, the motive for defeating the Kraken is vengeance for what the Kraken’s master (Hades) did to Perseus’ family (killed them). This sets up a weak parallel at the beginning and end of the film, weak indeed.

What also made the original interesting was the idea of Perseus coming into his identity as the son of Zeus, owning those powers and gifts as a means to get what he desires most, love. However, the “updated” release decides that Perseus desires to disown his demigod status and do everything as a man, as if that’s an option anyway, and is driven by his rage that the gods have killed all that he ever loved. In fact, from a story-logic perspective this film seemed more intent on not clashing titans, but force-feeding the notion that the gods rely on us and not us on them, an anti-religious sentiment to be sure, but at least make it watchable.

Every character involved was built out of plastic, one-dimensional filler that you see in most big-budget Hollywood action films. You can practically hear the marketing team writing the script, “Oh, we need a few comedic brutes who completely don’t fit in with everyone else but they’re all brawn and break the tension with silly one-liners, that’ll fill the demographics out nicely.” I guess it’s a bit much to ask that tension actually be created through good dramatic underpinnings, where the action matters because I care about what’s at stake, not because I want to see a cool spinning sword slice a limb off. Of course, that would also require that the effects aren’t rubbish as well, seeing the interaction between man and CGI was painful and beyond believability. And I didn’t even see it in 3D, which has been slammed as a massive money-grab failure.

Why you won’t like this:
Poor story, characters, set-design and Sam Worthington in a skirt

So, the characters and dialogue was awful, the effects poor, the story existed only in the still hearts of cash registers, but at the bare minimum is it too much to ask that at least the set-pieces themselves don’t feel like a sound stage?? Every scene felt like it was built in someone’s garage. Poor effort all around. Maybe someone will do another remake that includes humans that I believe as people and care about whether they live or die. In fact, this review has given it far more attention than it deserves, “Clash of the Steal Your Money and Leave You Without a Genuine Experience”, sounds more fitting.

1.5 out of 5 Stars.

Starring: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton, Alexa Davalos
Director: Louis Leterrier
Genre: Action, Adventure
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hr. 46 min.
Release Date: April 2, 2010