Friday, April 9, 2010

Clash of the Titans (2010)

Title: Clash of the Titans (2010)

Director: Louis Leterrier

Cast: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Sam Worthington

Written By: Travis Beachman, Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi


Wow, I haven’t been this disappointed with a film in a long time! Normally, when I write a review, I give a bit of a backdrop to the film, but with this movie I’m just going to go right out and say it: this movie was freaking awful! It was such a disappointment on so many levels! Im not a remake hater, I like to give remakes their chance, and Ive actually been one of the ones who has been anxiously awaiting for this movie for a while now. The original Clash of the Titans (1981) was such a classy film. Lush production values, a great sense of adventure, an amazing musical score, and the unforgettable stop motion animated creatures of the legendary Ray Harryhausen. So of course I was pumped to see this film! I even took five of my friends with me to see it, because I thought this remake was going to resemble the original, and maybe improve a thing or two. Sadly, after the film was over I got all the blame for taking them to see this terrible remake. Where did this movie go wrong? Well, they changed some story elements around. I’m going to do a lowdown on the changes they made, just to keep you, my readers informed.

Louise Leterrier the director of this remake. Somebody please, unleash the Kraken upon him!

Thematically speaking, the first film was a love story. It was all about Perseus trying to find a way to kill The Kraken, a gargantuan sea monster that’s supposed to destroy the city of Argos. He wants to destroy this creature because he is in love with the princess that is supposed to be sacrificed to it. At heart, the original Clash of the Titans was two things: First a monster movie and second, a love story. On this new one, the filmmakers decided to make it about revenge. They changed, what was originally a lighthearted adventure story into a story about revenge, about men going against the gods. In this sense I think the movie looses some of the innocent charm that the original had. Why does modern and contemporary have to equal gritty, dark and angry?

Perseus circa 1981, and modern day Perseus

Thematically speaking, it is true that this movie is angrier. I guess that’s to be expected considering the times we are living. Many people are angry at governments, religions and generally, the way things are being done in society. This movie tries to mirror those feelings by having its main character, Perseus reject his rights as the son of Zeus. Zeus and his gods represent governments in power, and how in their lost for money and power they are forgetting about the people and their suffering. Considering how films are mirroring what happens in our world, I understood that the movie wanted to go in that direction. People are not so easily fooled anymore, people know whats going down. Or at least have a decent idea of the incredible amount of injustice that is going on in the world. On this film, humans suddenly reject the gods, destroying their statues and burning their temples. Declaring this era as “the era of man”. I liked that line of dialog when the Queen says “we are the Gods now!” To be honest, this was really the only thing I enjoyed about this remake. Too bad these themes were not backed up by a good film.

The residents of Mount Cheese Ville

And speaking of dark and angry, on this film Perseus is just that. He is angry at the gods for having killed his family. Hades is the god responsible for this, so Perseus wants nothing more then to destroy Hades. Along the way, he will also save the people of Argos and the Princess, but love is no longer what motivates him. It’s anger, its revenge. This goes in contrast with the Perseus from the original, who was simply a guy in love, who accepted the gifts from the gods and did what was right. The new Perseus wants nothing to do with the gods! He is fine with being “just a man”, he wants to stick with humans and their suffering, suddenly turning into a Christ like figure. By the way while watching this movie based on Greek mythology, I was paying attention at just how much Christianity copied elements from Greek mythology and incorporated it into their mythology. It is an interesting game you can play while watching this movie, trust me, you are going to need something to keep you awake, because believe it or not, this movie has its slooow moments. Perseus even rejects this awesome "gift from the gods" that turns into a sword only when he holds it, kind of like that sword He-Man used in the Masters of the Universe. In one scene, Perseus even calls upon the power of Zeus and lightning comes down from the skies and hits the sword! Just like He-Man! Maybe Leterrier is saying he wants to direct that new Masters of the Universe movie that is in the works?

So we’ve replaced love for anger and revenge this time around. Fine, this movie is darker. But was it a good monster movie? This is actually one of the few things that pissed me off about this new Clash of the Titans. Let’s take the Medusa sequence for example. I remember the original sequence in which Perseus and his men are venturing into Medusa’s temple as being a truly eerie and mysterious sequence. It had lots of suspense and atmosphere to it! Medusa was a horrifying monster! She had snakes on her head and scaly skin! She was green! She was for all intents and purposes a monster! And when we finally get to see her, what a movie moment! Not so on this new one. For some reason, they decided to make Medusa a hot chick with snakes on her head. Such a disappointment! Medusa is supposed to be horrifyingly ugly, that’s what her curse was all about, making her horrendous! To top things off, the creature itself was not well achieved. The CGI looks like CGI (never a good thing) and in my opinion, these new Medusa didn’t do a “one up” on the original Ray Harryhausen creature. The original Medusa was better! What a wasted opportunity to do something cool.

Heres another example of a missed opportunity. The director also decided to do a homage to Ray Harryhausen’s Jason and the Argonauts (1963) by including these black winged demons flying around, pestering our heroes. Unfortunately, these little winged demons ended up being another bunch of disappointing CGI creatures. All you see is a blur, you don’t really get a good look at these creatures which is always something bad in a monster movie. In a monster movie, the audience will always want to get a good look at the monsters or else they will feel cheated. And that’s exactly how I felt with these little winged demons. I could hardly take a look at them because they were moving so fast! Cheap and lazy animation? You be the judge! One of the many things that the original Clash of the Titans got right was how it relished that moment when they finally reveal the creatures! Because that’s what we came to see, cool Greek mythology monsters! I got an idea for you Mr. Leterrier, if your going to pay homage to a classic, make sure you do it right!

Another downer: the scenes that take place in Olympus were so cheesy! Zeus and his god buddies got nothing better to do then stand around on top of pedestals, looking at each others shinny armor! Ha! In the original, Mount Olympus had this grand majestic feel to it, not so on this one. Mount Olympus was actually kind of laugh inducing! When you make class a actors like Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes look bad, you know you are in a bad movie. Sam Worthington is not a likable hero on this film, for most of the film; he simply does not look like he wants to be there. He doesn’t infuse life to his Perseus, it’s a very stale and uninspired performance. When you have a hero that audiences cannot identify with, you got a problem.

Our angry, angst ridden hero

The movie did get a thing or two right. The Kraken is freaking gargantuan and gigantic, I liked those scenes with The Kraken emerging from the ocean with those giant tentacles. I just wish his scenes would have been a bit more extensive and that he could have caused a lot more havoc. As it is, he emerges for a couple of minutes to wiggles his tentacles around a bit. He had to be a much bigger menace considering his power and his size. Still, The Kraken was an awesome sight to behold. Another thing this movie did a one up on was The Pegasus. On the original film, Pegasus was a stop motion effect that I was never happy with. Apparently, animating feathers was not an easy task, so the final effect of Pegasus flapping its wings around and flying wasn’t that well achieved in my book. Not so on this new one, Pegasus really does look like a horse that can fly. I was happy with the effect for Pegasus this time around. The Scorpion scenes stand out as one of the highlights of the film, but then inexplicably, the same creatures that attacked the good guys in one scene, end up helping them out in the next. There are a lot of little inconsistencies like that one in the movie, for example, exactly how does Perseus remain so clean cut and shaven? He looks like he just shaved! How does he get his hair cut so perfectly short, while all his fellow adventurers have beards and long hair? Why do the princess and many of the other actresses wear eye liner and lipstick?

And finally, I want to extend a hearty FUCK YOU to WARNER BROTHERS PICTURES, for having duped me into believing I was going to see a 3-D movie. Yes, I had read all the complaints about the 3-D, but honestly? I never thought it was going to be this bad! I went in thinking I was going to have fun with a little bit of 3-D, even if it was considered bad. What most reviews are failing to explain is that the film does not have the 3-D effect…EVER! You never feel as if you are watching a 3-D movie at any moment. My friends and I kept taking off the glasses to see if there was any difference. We realized after a while, there wasn’t really that much difference. This was just a low blow from Warner Brothers to the movie watching audiences. It was simply a quick way of making some extra cash. Riding the 3-D craze that is sweeping the nation for all its worth. I felt cheated, I really did! I hope Warner Brothers doesn’t pull this type of sleazy move on its audiences again, after all, if it wasn’t for us, they wouldn’t be here. The least they could do is treat us with respect and give us a decent 3-D movie if that’s what you say I’m going to be watching. I’m surprised nobody has sued Warner Brothers for their shameless faulty advertising. I got an idea: somebody unleash the Kraken upon Warner Brothers! Please!

Rating: 2 ½ out of 5

Clash of the Titans (Snap Case)Jason and the Argonauts


Dreher Bear (...Where The Buffalo Roam) said...

Great write-up!

Franco Macabro said...

Thanks for stopping by!

Mr. Fiendish said...

hmm just what I thought. I'll stick with Harry Hamlin

good review.

Sharky said...

Ray Harryhausen, the man the living legend! Check out the Blu-ray 4-disc box set for only $40.31 at DeepDiscount.

The set includes all 4 Blu-ray discs:

-It Came From Beneath The Sea
-Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers
-20 Million Miles To Earth
-The 7th Voyage Of Sinbad

Jen said...

I agree, 100 %. I couldn't even write it up I was so disapointed. Stick with the original. By the way, Ralph Fiennes is so over the top and campy in this flick he almost makes it worth it. Almost.

Franco Macabro said...

Hey Jen, I will stick to the original, this one as far as Im concerned is not a better film. It had its moments of fun, with The Kraken and the other monster.

But I was disappointed with Medusa, they didn't turn her into a monster, she was this hot chick, with snakes on her head.

Calibus was turned into a henchman for Hades, while on the old one Calibus was the main villain.

They left out everything about the relationship between Calibus and the Princess, even that giant vulture that came to pick her up at night and took her to Calibos swampy lair. All that stuff, right out.

Calibos doesn't even look like a devil or demon, they replaced his tale and horns with some generic monster make up.

They even left out one of my favorite scenes, when the head of that statue breaks off all by itself and starts talking with the citizens of Argus. Awesome scene, but they left it right out.

They left out some of the good stuff in the original, and replaced it with some other poorly constructed characters.

SFF said...

I took a few young ones to see this today and they liked it. I liked it alright, but your review is right there. I didn't think it deserved any more than what you assigned.

I also read enough to heed the cautious words made LOUD and clear in your post and avoided the 3D version sticking with 2D. I knew it wasn't filmed that way and I had a feeling conversion to 3D would be more of a gimmick. I'm glad I went with my gut. I read your review after seeing it and clearly you have confirmed my decision.

It's funny. Ang Lee did shite with The Hulk and then this Director did more of the same CGI shite and now a Clash of shite.

Harryhausen was a genius and his Gorgon was the bomb.

The new film's Kraken was really nifty, but everso brief and the whole exercise was a bit phoned in. It really felt pretty close to the original without the charm.

Hell, they even tossed the golden owl back in the bin. Dang.

Franco Macabro said...

I had some fun with it Sci-Fi Fanatic, it had fun moments in it, but I kept comparing it to the original (cause Im such a huge fan of it, always have been) and it just didnt live up to it.

Glad you avoided the 3-D, cause you weren't really gonna get any 3-D, and all you would have ended up doing was wasting your extra cash.

Franco Macabro said...

P.S., and the tossing of the golden owl back into the bin was Leterrier's way of saying "this freaking golden owl was way to cheesy, we are gonna dump it, and even make a joke about it in our movie"

He should have tossed that magic monster dude with the blue flames, that was never part of the story. Plus, what the hell was he anyways?

Franco Macabro said...

If you want to see the reasons why this movie just didnt work, then read this excellent article written by the guys over at CHUD, it goes into detail why the script apparently doesnt make much sense, and why the movie blows as much as it does inspite of some nifty action/monster sequences!

It sounds to me like Leterrier shot an infinitely better film then the one that WB tinkered around with and treated like a cheap whore.

Heres the link to the article, its a great read!


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