Clash of the Titans - Directed by Louis Leterrier, starring Sam Worthington, Gemma Arterton, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, and Mads Mikkelsen - Rated PG-13
Only the Kurgan could take on a beast like the Kraken.
I don’t have a nostalgic feeling towards the original Clash of the Titans (1981). I re-watched it recently and just couldn’t get past the cheesy stop-motion animation. Some people may a have a special place in their heart for the campy film about Perseus and the Greek gods, but not me. I was very excited to see a big budget remake of this film and I suppose I’m glad they did it.
Clash of the Titans is about demigod Perseus (Sam Worthington) and his quest to stop the dreaded Kraken (a mindless and extremely powerful monster) from destroying the city of Argos and its princess, Andromeda. His quest takes him from peril to peril, with the gods interfering and helping out along the way.
That’s really all you need to know. Clash is basically a Greek mythology action movie and it certainly delivers on the action. The best moments of the film are when Perseus and his crew and battling giant scorpions, Medusa, and other assorted monsters. The action is pretty easy to follow for the most part, but I thought the 3D hindered it at times. 3D is great for the slow motion moments, but when a fast sword fight is going on, it’s hard to stay focused. Generally, a ton of slow motion is a negative aspect of a film. With Clash of the Titans however, I wish there was much more.
The 3D is what really bothered me, I guess. I’m not a true believer in the format just yet. Yes, Avatar looked great and I was definitely impressed with the use of 3D in that film. But Avatar was shot in 3D. This film, like Alice in Wonderland (another film I had a lukewarm 3D reaction to), was converted to 3D and it shows. For the most part, I think 3D is a gimmick and I hope it passes soon. I don’t think you’ll be missing much if you see this in a regular 2D presentation.
So the action is great and the last half hour is very entertaining, but there’s really not much here. I don’t expect a great character driven drama when I go to see a movie like Clash, but there should at least be a little bit of character development. Perseus is a pretty bland character. He has determination, but aside from that, he’s just there, screaming and killing everything he sees. I was actually more interested in the soldiers traveling with him, especially Draco (Mads Mikkelsen, Casino Royale). But that may be because I find Mikkelsen to be a much better actor than Worthington.
Don’t get me wrong, Worthington has screen presence, but there’s not much beneath the surface. If he’s wise, he’ll stick with action films. The rest of the cast, however, does some decent work. Liam Neeson is a great choice for Zeus. I think he may be the only actor out there that can yell, “Release the Kraken!” and be taken seriously. Ralph Fiennes makes a good Hades, as well. His raspy delivery enhances every scene he is in. The one bit of casting that made no sense to me, however, is that of Danny Huston as Poseidon. Huston is not exactly an A-list star, but he’s a fine actor and all he gets to do in this film is stand next to Zeus. I think he has one line of dialogue. All I can assume is that he gave a performance that ended up being cut due to time.
Acting isn’t terribly important in a film like this, though. The computer effects are what matter the most. Think about it, what is more important: Worthington being a convincing Perseus or a realistic Kraken? I can get past a bland performance, but I would have a problem with a crappy Kraken. Thankfully, Clash features some decent effects. They aren’t groundbreaking and some of them come close to being cartoonish, but they work.
I mentioned that I’m not a fan of the original film, but there is at least one reference to the original film that made me laugh. Bubo, the mechanical owl from the 1981 film does make an appearance in the film. The owl doesn’t factor into the film much (thankfully), but it’s still a funny little nod to the original.
Speaking of funny, this film makes quite a few attempts at comic relief. The previews lead you to believe you’re going to see a brutal epic along the lines of 300. This film is not nearly as serious as that blockbuster. The soldiers with Perseus try to lighten the mood throughout and I was fine with it. Some people may find it a bit too goofy here and there, however.
Clash of the Titans is not a great action epic, nor is it a campy look into the world of Greek mythology. It is a pretty standard action film with some impressive moments. I suggest checking it out if you want to get your action fill before the big summer movies start rolling out.