Film review: Clash of the Titans

The Carillon, Vol. 52, Issue 24 | April 15 – May 26, 2010

Another in a long, long chain of reboots, remakes, retcons, and reclamations, Clash of the Titans is yet another symptom of that most modern of diseases: the desire to take an older movie that was revolutionary in its time, lobotomize it, throw on some glitter, and sell it in conjunction with $6 sodas.

The plot should be familiar. Humans fight monsters, gods bicker with one another, and the Kraken gets early parole. Perseus (Sam Worthington) is the son of a god and a human, and must prove himself a hero.

Admittedly, the special effects are often entertaining, as the Kraken is simply awesome and the Stygian Witches are delightfully strange. These comprise the only good 10 minutes of the film.

Unfortunately, Medusa’s serpentine movements are choppy and artificial; her Claymation counterpart was much more terrifying. The scorpion desert fight is both pointless and painfully reminiscent of last year’s Transformers 2, while the Sand-Demons are tiresome throwaways. It gets even worse when the actors start talking.

I didn’t see the movie in 3-D, but unless the glasses can somehow make awful dialogue and wooden acting seem brilliant, I don’t think that it made that much difference. The most interesting character in the whole movie is the mysteriously indifferent bald eagle that never leaves the side of Zeus’ throne.

The gods are really only interesting as special effects, since their human forms are dull and listless. Hades (Ralph Fiennes) is imposing as a black cloud of black dust, but somewhat less terrifying as a snivelling, bug-eyed hunchback. Zeus (Liam Neeson) parades around in inexplicable shiny armour, while the rest of the gods stand around with thousand-yard stares and recite flat lines. They seem more moody than majestic.

You have to give Worthington credit. He tries his best to fulfill his role of an incredibly stupid and petulant Perseus. He rejects gifts from Zeus because he bears a grudge against Hades, but his petty stubbornness gets a fair number of people killed, to which he seems indifferent.

Unfortunately, this attempt to create a badass anti-hero backfires, since Perseus spends too much of his  time whining and moping about nothing in particular. Watching him is painful; paying for the privilege is worse.

Special effects aren’t worth it. Want to “rebel against the gods?” Save your money and play God of War again.

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