Monday, May 3, 2010

Movie Review: Clash of the Titans

Release Date: April 1, 2010 (8pm, 3D/2D theaters) 
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures 
Director: Louis Leterrier 
Screenwriter: Travis Beacham, Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi 
Starring: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, 
Genre: Action, Fantasy 
Rating: PG-13 (for fantasy action violence, some frightening images and brief sensuality) 
Official Website: 

My Wonderfully Majestic Opinion
As I waited 20 minutes after show time, in a theater containing not but myself, I thought about the upcoming remake of the 1981 Lawrence Olivier film and how it will measure up in a modern movie going society.  None can deny that the technological advances Hollywood has achieved leaves very little room for Director Louis Leterrier to half-ass this cinematic endeavor.  But this also can leave one worried that the animated effects will be taken too far.  Can Sam Worthington equal the amazing performance that Mr. Olivier gave audiences 29 years ago?  Will the story’s unoriginality fit in with the film culture of today? It’s hard not to think about, even for someone who tries very hard not to compare a film’s quality to that of its predecessor.  And while the film does come off quite cheesy and somewhat clunky, its entertaining aspects are far from lacking.

One must realize that this film should never be considered a masterpiece in the world film-making and moviedom.  Its literary appeal can be found on the back of any Cracker Jack box, or within any James Cameron movie.  This is an action film, plane and simple, riddled with gorgeous men and women with perfect teeth (in a time where dental hygiene was far from being a major concern in people’s lives) while being watched from above by the Zeus-like like Liam Neeson and the devilishly clever Ralph Fiennes as Hades.  The film draws a lot of it’s inspiration from the 1981 film, successfully in some ways, and terribly unsuccessful in others.  Even the acting experience Mr. Neeson brings to the film is unable to save this poor excuse for a script, let alone Worthington’s piss poor acting skills.  I’m beginning to wonder if Worthington can land a role in a decent movie.  (Terminator: Salvation, Avatar, Rougue.) 

The story is a decent one.  Perseus, played by Worthington, goes on a quest driven by vengeance to destroy the beast of Hades, The Kraken.  Hades, who killed Perseus’ family, has vowed to help Zeus in rekindling the prayers of humans who have lost faith in the Gods and vow never to worship them again.  As the worship and prayers are what fuel the Gods, drastic action was needed, and Hades begins a series of attacks on the human race to scare them back into God fearing race of men and women.  Of course, Hades has a secret up his sleeve to betray Zeus, and Perseus is the only one who can defeat the lord of the underworld.  It is quite predictable, especially when you have lines like “one day, someone is going to have to take a stand.”  Would you like to take a fleeting guess at who this might be?  In that eye-rolling moment, I began to wonder about the next two hours of my life being spent watching this movie.

While the first hour and a half seemed quite unbearable, the story slowly seemed to pick up the pace, causing my interests to revive and my brain to engage.  Of course, when I say brain engaging, I don’t mean the script became much more intelligent or literary, I only mean it woke up so it could soak in the impressive action scenes and overall look of the film.  The world in which the story takes place is very much a sparkling, glittery world that would make Stephanie Meyer’s twinkly vampires stare in awe.  However, the creatures were far from pretty.  The special effects team took a lot of time and care into making the beasts more terrifying than anything I’ve seen on screen in some time.  Despite the famous Medusa resembling more of a swim suit model with a slithering tale, Creatures such as the boatman for Dante’s Inferno, the three old witches, and the Kraken are some of the most terrifying movie monsters I’ve ever laid eyes on.  The final fight scene between the Kraken and Perseus was an amazing piece of work as the creature’s gigantic turtle/crab-like stature commanded respect and fear.  And I honestly was not expecting the huge black desert scorpions to be as menacing and persistent as Leterrier made them to be.

To tag along with this, the CGI special effects are not as impressive.  Zeus looked more like a fairy goddess while Hades’ teleportation trick seemed a bit over done and unnecessary.  Of course, this may have been due to the film’s drastic and badly made 3D alteration.  Important thing to note Mr. and Mrs. Film Makers of Hollywood……if you want to shoot a film in 3D, make sure you’re using the 3D cameras and technology required to do so PRIOR to shooting!  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a film worse in 3D than this one.  I would say the 3D didn’t help the movie going experience, in fact it may have hurt the film’s entertaining qualities.  Even after my eyes adjusted to the 3D viewing, I found myself forgetting the movie was in 3D from time to time.  All in all, I think the movie would have been better served if shot straight, and not making audience members pay the overpriced admission for a pair of glasses.

The action sequences were very well done, progressively building as the film pushed forward.  This is of course is largely thanks to the immensely talented Mads Mikkelsen as the mighty Draco.  The animation and special effects team, however, worked their magic in making the majority of the film seem as one coherent unit, despite the rather obviously animated Medusa fight scene.

My Awe-Struck Conclusion
It takes a lot of courage to remake a film that was, for the most part, quite successful in its day.  And as this film is quite reminiscent of the Percy Jackson film, the movie contains some new innovative approaches to a three decade old film.  Please, don’t go expecting an above average film in its story or content, rather accept it for what it is, an action film meant to grab your eyeballs and focus in on the amazing world of Greek mythology and folklore.

Rating 7 out of 10 stars

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