Clash of the Titans

Clash of the Titans

Starring Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, and Ralph Fiennes
Directed by Louis Leterrier (The Incredible Hulk)
Rated PG-13 for fantasy action violence, some frightening images and brief sensuality
Appropriate for ages 13+

    I was nine years old when I first saw the original Clash of the Titans and I have always had fond memories of the experience.  Sure it was a bit hokey and the special effects looked bad even then, but the sense of amazement I experienced from that film stuck with me for the rest of my life.  And this new version almost ruined it.

    The story is supposed to be about a young demigod named Perseus (Worthington), son of god Zeus (Neeson), who sets off on a series of quests that will eventually save Princess Andromeda from the god Hades (Fiennes) and his gargantuan Kraken.  I probably shouldn’t make the claim that the film was supposed to be anything, because it is what it is, but instead of this story, Perseus could really care less about Andromeda, but is rather seeking revenge against Hades for killing his father. 

    So while the original Clash had tons of Cheesy special effects, it had a decent story, and I’ll opt for story over effects any day of the week.  Here, Perseus is nothing but a revenge-driven action hero. 

    I’ll preface this by saying that first off – Hades doesn’t even kill his father.  Yes, he might be responsible for his death, but he merely destroys the ship his father is on and Perseus is unable to save him.  That’s a far cry from killing someone. 

    But I digress.  Perseus grabs a dramatic group of soldiers and mercenaries and heads off to figure out how to kill the Kraken.  Along the way he must kill a bunch of monstrous scorpions, mess with some witches with one eye between them, and face Medusa, a woman whose look can turn any man to stone.  And he’s not even remotely interested in the girl. 

    In the original myth, he needed the head of Medusa to save his mother.  In the first Clash he needed the head to save the maiden in distress who he also really had a thing for.  Now, all he wants is vengeance and forget the princess.  Revenge is an adequate goal, but nothing compared to saving your love.  And why couldn’t the filmmakers have gone for both? 

    Another example of the bad filmmaking, was the complete lack of curiosity and wonderment.  This really is all action and no adventure.  There is not a moment where Perseus looks like he is astonished that these things are happening to him for the first time.  He acts the entire time like he has done all of this stuff before.  At least give us that scene in the clouds with Pegasus, his winged stallion, as cliched as it may be, where he is dumbfounded and a little giddy by his new ability to fly.  Nope.  He calls Pegasus.  They take off.  Time to fight the Kraken.  Lame. 

    And finally, while the special effects are pretty good and the production is overall decent, the 3D looked like it was an afterthought.  It seemed out of place.  Too much of it was a strain on the eyes that could have been greatly comforted by seeing it in a 2D theater.  D+