The Attempted Review of Clash of the Titans

Posted by WhenYourGodGivesYouLemons On 1:04 PM

Lois Leterrier's remake of the 80's cult classic is one of the most anticipated movies of the year. This anticipation is partly derived from its epic premise (Greek Gods ya know, Clashing) and partly due to its implementation of post-production 3D brought on by the success of Avatar. The question is does the film live up to the hype?

What it's all about: Clash of the Titans focuses on Sam Worthington's Perseus a boy who is found at sea by Pete Poselethwaite's character Spyros. Spyros raises him as his own, teaching him his trade, fishing. One day the family witnesses the destruction of a statue of Zeus (played by Liam Neeson) by soldiers from Argos, a rebellious city of men. Hades, God of the Underworld (played by Ralph Fiennes), kills all those involved in retaliation and Perseus's family are unfortunately caught up in the crossfire. What builds from there is a story of revenge, betrayal and the Gods as Perseus undertakes a quest to save the city of Argos and seek vengeance on Hades all set to a backdrop of the decline of the gods and the rise of man.

What it did well: Visually the movie was as good as you'd expect from an epic blockbuster. I saw the film in 2D, how it was meant to be seen, and the opening sequence in the stars was gorgeous while all the creatures, especially the Kraken, looked brilliant.

Seriously after seeing this you'll think Pirates of the Caribbean gave Kraken's a bad name. This thing is freaking huge and is quite bad ass. I just wish it would have had some more screen time, possibly at the start where they tell you it defeated the Titans? It almost seems wasted not having it feature more.

Anyway the action is as good as you would expect when you are drawing from ancient Greek Mythology. It's constant, varied, sometimes comical and usually enjoyable to watch. The scene with the giant scorpions was particularly well choreographed and presented.

The gods, Zeus and Hades, and Mads Mikkelsen’s Draco are also quite well portrayed. Neeson and Fiennes bring their usual strong performances to a movie where, quite frankly, I could have seen them phoning it in. Fiennes excels in all his Voldermort like evilness as the villain, with his dry, soft voice sending a chill down your spine while the smoke and brimstone affects used to portray him as God of the Underworld are fantastic. Neeson, to me, portrayed the troubled father role well. The film really focused on Zeus as both a father and a leader who had to juggle the wishes of his fellow gods with his love for those he has created, man. Also I couldn't think of anyone better to play a pimp god who sneaks into people's bedrooms for a one night stand. I mean I'd let Mr Neeson do that to me anytime. Finally, Mikkelsen plays the leader of the Argos legion escorting Perseus. He just oozes coolness whenever he is on screen and his discontent for the gods and mistrust for Perseus are easily recognizable and give his character some depth. I also just generally think he is a quality actor who is rather under used.

What it didn't: Apart from the above mentioned elements the film, to me, felt like a bit of a shambles. I can't comment on the post-production 3D but it has been covered in numerous other reviews and it hasn’t got a glowing reception.

I found Sam Worthington's portrayal of Perseus stale and wooden. He lacked the depth and emotion that would have made him a true hero and instead he seemed a little mechanical and stiff in his actions. He just doesn't seem to act naturally, it all seems very forced. His accent was also annoying, not because it was Australian, but because it wasn't consistent. It was like he'd forgotten how he sounded in the last scene and what he came up with in the next was as good as he could come up with.

The story, while being set during an interesting time, never really advanced past showing promise of being something that was both interesting and engaging. It seemed to branch off into too many side stories that were not really given time to be explored. There was Hades overthrow of Zeus, Perseus's backstory, a confusing romance, a confusing Zeus who never seemed committed to gods or humans and the random religious heretics in Argos and their ‘leader’ to name a few. They all took some of the focus away from the main story without really adding much to it.    

The script also contained some terrible dialogue. For instance Worthington is given one modern day action hero line just before they battle Medusa which seemed ridiculous and out of place. Zeus and Hades also repeat themselves a lot which was disappointing as their scenes were generally enjoyable. We get that Zeus survives on their love and Hades survives on their fear, so there is no need to repeat that several times. It was also one of those movies where you found yourself laughing at moments that, necessarily, weren’t meant to be funny (the ferry across the river Styx scene) and moments that were generally trying to be funny felt forced.

The film also struggled with pacing. It started off really slow and you wondered how Perseus would become this great hero and then, all of a sudden, he's on this epic journey where he's kicking ass and taking names. He didn't grow into his role he just realized he was a demi-god (part god part human) and therefore awesome. Also when the journey is taking place a lot of characters die but, because the film moves so quickly and didn’t take the time to really introduce the men of Argos, the deaths have no weight to them and you're left thinking  'who was that guy?' The final battle also seemed over too quickly, like they were rushing to finish it. Considering a lot of money would have been spent developing the Kraken I was surprised it didn’t get a greater role.

Also one thing that really bugged me was the monster hunters. When they arrive on the scene they make this big deal about how they know how to kill all these mythological creatures and that they simply must come along. I'll admit I got a little excited to see how they would deal with the creatures they would come across because they appeared to be specialists. In the end I was sadly disappointed because they do almost nothing. When it actually comes to killing one of these mythical creatures they bail before they get there. I'm sorry but didn’t they sign up for killing mythical creatures not running away from them? They just seemed to serve no purpose in the film apart from a tiny bit of comedic relief.

Memorable moment: It has to be the Kraken. The thing is epic and huge and probably cost a boatload of money to make. As I said before I would have liked to have seen it used more but my god it was impressive when it was on screen.  

What it all means: Clash of the Titans is a mostly enjoyable monster mash that struggles from the usual blockbuster issues of story and character development. To me it questions Worthington's credentials as an action star but it brings good performances from Fiennes and Neeson as well as some great CGI creatures. It’s a watchable action flick that should please fans of the genre but didn't quite reach my expectations. 

6 out of 10




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