Clash of the Titans Movie Review - Mania.com



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  • Starring: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Flemyng, Gemma Arterton, Alexa Davalos, and Mads Mikkelson
  • Written By: Travis Beacham, Phil Hay, and Matt Manfredi
  • Directed By: Louis Leterrier
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Clash of the Titans Movie Review

Clash of the Titans: Smiting For All!

By Rob Vaux     April 01, 2010


Clash of the Titans Movie Review
© Mania/Bob Trate

 

 
BIAS ALERT: For all its cheesiness, the original Clash of the Titans holds a special place in my heart (1981 was a really good summer to be nine). I don't believe my borderline loathing of this film has anything to do with those rose-colored memories, but it bears mentioning. One could also cite the blatant disregard for Greek mythology in the epic failure of the new Clash of the Titans, but that's disingenuous too. Popcorn films are allowed to play fast and loose with their material in the name of good clean fun. Clash of the Titans, however, proves unwilling to live by the rules of its own plot, which it breaks and rebreaks so many times that its narrative becomes an utter hash.
 
Moreover, its slavish reliance on admittedly strong F/X destroys any sense of dramatic pacing. We just get an orgy of Greek monsters plucked from the first film and shoveled at us without rhyme or reason. The actors remain either bored or wooden (you can actually see Liam Neeson spending his paycheck in his head), and the rudderless storyline crashes against more rocks than Odysseus himself. Fault director Louis Leterrier, who hides his lack of storytelling acumen behind copious effects like so many studio hacks before him.
 
The basics remain the same as in the original. Perseus (Sam Worthington), bastard son of Zeus, quests to find the head of the Medusa--the only thing capable of destroying the monstrous Kraken. The vengeful gods are preparing to set the beast loose on the city of Argos, razing it to the ground unless the people put their princess Andromeda (Alexa Davalos) up for sacrifice.
 
That much is clear. Delve any deeper into the particulars, however, and the proceedings quickly collapse into a big wet pile of stupid. For starters, men hate the gods: defying their will at every turn and declaring themselves exempt from divine rule. It's part of the screenwriters' ill-conceived notion to depict Perseus as the child of two worlds; his quest an effort to declare his allegiance for humanity and overthrow the gods' rule once and for all. Zeus (Neeson) is understandably irate at all of this and responds… by sending Perseus a magic sword to help him out.
 
Then there's Zeus's brother Hades (Ralph Fiennes), who volunteers to go down and smite the mortals on Zeus's behalf. Why the king of the gods can't do his own smiting is something of a mystery, especially since he nails King Acrisius (Jason Flemyng) with a ginormous lightning bolt early in the proceedings. But no matter. Hades heads to Earth to lay the smackdown on mortaldom… then says he'll spare them if they sacrifice Andromeda. Given free rein to commit wholesale genocide, he settles for a single hot chick, a move which will doubtless get him tossed out of the Evil Mastermind's Guild on general principles. It's all part of some scheme to seize control of the universe from Zeus, which involves stopping Perseus for reasons never made entirely clear.
 
Leterrier shows no interest in untangling these thorny knots, content to leave the audience sputtering in bewilderment while the monster mash kicks into high gear. Even then, Clash of the Titans might had prevailed if said monster mash displayed any sense of grace or timing. But the fight scenes are edited into pointless sound and noise, defined only by the particular CG beastie which Perseus and his pals are fighting at any given time. The Pegasus shows up to aid him at one point--black instead of white to emphasize how much more bad-ass this version is than the original--but Leterrier has no sense of how to properly set up such a concept. The horse just gets thrown into the mix haphazardly until it becomes indistinguishable from the other sights onscreen.
 
So too do Perseus's companions appear to us in a random hodge-podge. As if realizing that Andromeda doesn't register enough screen time to make a proper love interest, the script provides Perseus with a guide, Io (Gemma Arterton), who delivers ungainly chunks of exposition and differentiates which monster is which as they come barreling at us. The slapped-on 3D imagery don't help matters, darkening the film's palette and rendering the action even less comprehensible. If there's any justice, it will crash and burn in 3D and put a quick kibbutz on this burgeoning gimmick to which Hollywood suddenly seems addicted.
 
The effects themselves are solidly rendered, and Fiennes does well as the ostensible villain, reminding us how much he's going to rock the house as Voldemort this fall. But that's cold comfort for a film as clumsily delivered as this one, crushing the modest charms of its predecessor beneath soulless computer-rendered bulk. The creators of the first Clash had a keen understanding of how Greek mythology worked, with its capricious gods that you could outwit but never openly defy. This new Clash lacks the wit or insight to recreate such a notion, or even deliver half-decent action. The myths it presumes to reinvent serve only as empty grist for its effects houses, mangled by storytelling incompetence past the point of recognition. The gods should be thankful for that, at least: they don't need to take responsibility for the mess created in their name.

 

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COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 10 of 41
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jedibanner 4/1/2010 3:48:06 PM

Man...I so wanted to love this movie....now...it's not the first review I see where it doesn't look good. Maybe Leterier's chances for Avengers are disapearing slowly...

HudsonTaco 4/1/2010 4:06:37 PM

I stopped reading after "Bias Alert".

MrJawbreakingEquilibrium 4/1/2010 4:52:51 PM

I've read reviews where it says it's real good.  Funnily enough, all the bad ones I read like this one have a clear cut bias to it and you can tell.

gauleyboy420 4/1/2010 5:21:23 PM

Rob,

I've really come around to your style of reviewing, but I'm thinking the hate for this movie comes from your love of the original. I can't remember the original too well (I was only 5) but always like the original, but never loved it.

 

akiraakobus 4/1/2010 5:23:06 PM

Saw this movie last night, we screened it for the employees at the theater I work at, everyone loved it, it was fast paced and a lot of fun, I would definitely recommend it, my only problem with it is that it could have been longer.

As for this reviewers review of the film, it blows.

dragon261 4/1/2010 6:55:38 PM

When I saw who wrote this review I dismissed it out of hand he hates basically everything he reviews.

evilbeagle 4/1/2010 7:35:37 PM

I have yet to see the new film, but you may need to watch the old version again.  It's hardly a masterpiece, and I loved it too when I was young.  It was a staple in our family's top loading VCR, but the fact is--the original was slow, poorly scripted, and often made as little sense as the story you are describing above.

I'm not looking for an Oscar winning film here.  I just want to be entertained with good action, and it's your own damn fault for seeing it in 3D.  This film was not made for 3D--it was turned into 3D for money.  You can't blame the business for making a good business decision.  People need to be smart with their dollars and only see movies where the 3D was part of the conceptual design of how the movie was filmed.  I'll still be in the theater this weekend.

FilchX 4/1/2010 8:48:57 PM

I watched this last night, and it was awsome. Unlike the origonal that has so much minutia, this movie moves at a great pace. This one is no beter than the origonal(which  I  watched the night befor). Its just bad in a different way. the only thing that sucks about this movie is some of the quick cuting during the fight scenes. Oh and Go see it in 2D, the only thing about this review that was right was the 3D sucks.

raa2001 4/1/2010 11:50:04 PM

 I sorta agree with this review.  I just watched the early release and its nothing like the old Clash of the Titans.  I mean they changed so much it was ridiculous.  The original holds a special place in my childhood memories also.  I just don't understand what Hollywood's concept of a remake is.  Why change the entire plot? Of course the special effects are really amazing because we are in 2010, but this is one of those films that everyone loved because of the storytelling aspect of the film.  You can make many films about Greek mythology and you'd get about the same, but Clash of the Titans was one of those films that stood on it's own ground.  Man, I had high hopes for this remake and I came out of the theater a bit upset.  If it wasn't a remake of Clash of the Titans I'd have a more positive opinion, but because its a remake of a classic there's just no comparison other than better effects.

raa2001 4/2/2010 12:28:24 AM

Some more things that this movie lacked was the character development between the gods.  There was a lot more drama amongst the gods in the original.  The original showed Amphitrite's (goddess of the sea) anger towards Zeus for turning her demigod child, Calibos, into a hideous creature.  She was the one that placed Perseus into a foreign land when he got older, which also lead him to his quest to fight amongst mortals and lead him to meet his future wife, Andromeda.  Hell, what about Bubo, the golden owl.  They showed him for a second in the new one, but Bubo is the one that helped Perseus on his quest.  Zeus commanded Athena to send down her owl to help him, but she created a golden owl instead.  What about Calibos summoning his ex-princess, Andromeda in her sleep.  I mean there was so much they left out.  Aaaahhh  the anger  lol

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