03 April 2010

Clash of the Titans


Starring Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Gemma Arterton, Ralph Fiennes, Mads Mikkelsen Written by Lawrence Kasdan, Travis Beachman, Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi
Directed by Louis Letterrier

Release: 02 April 2010

Legendary Pictures, Rated PG-13

"Someday, somebody's got to make a stand. Someday, somebody's got to say enough is enough."
- Foreshadowing much?

Plot: Everyday fisherman Perseus finds out he's a demigod and his father's Zeus, and he's luckily stuck in a situation where he needs to stop Hades from unleashing total destruction to the land of Argos in 10 days all the while renouncing his Godly heritage.

2010's Clash of the Titans is a action movie through and through, don't mistake that. Just enough human drama and declarations of heroism and destiny thrown in until the next ferocious beast rears its ugly head to royally piss off our heroes and thus bring about more action. That's definitely good news for blokes who just want some hard action and check out pretty ladies for two hours; me, on the other hand, I was sort of expecting a epic film not too dissimilar from The Lord of the Rings. And by that, I certainly don't mean that I expected the story to be given the three-film treatment, just that the same level of care to the material and a heightened level of imagination would be present here.

Alright, seems I'm getting off on the wrong foot here. Simply put, I had high expectations for the film, and it didn't meet that sadly. However, that's not to say Clash isn't a good film. On the contrary, it's immensely entertaining, boasts some really amazing visuals, has some very fine performances, and a deliciously grand storyline, all delivered in under two hours with brisk, scene-necessity only editing.

The screenplay takes only certain elements of the 1981 original (Perseus, the Gods, Medusa, and the Kraken) and molds them into a brand new story. Basically, it's a pissing fight between the Olympians, and one of them (guess who! *cough*Hades!*cough) seizes the opportunity to overthrow his brothers and sisters. The humans re renouncing the Gods, and the Gods don't like that, so they send one bad thing after another to shut them up. The people of Argos, in turn, force the newly revealed to be demigod Perseus to be their Champion. It's a interesting storyline, one that could definitely have some serious dramatic opportunities that unfortunately wasn't explored (at least in the theatrical cut).

As mentioned above, Clash of the Titans runs a little under two hours, and given the magnitude of everything accomplished within that running time [a 10-day journey through deserts to the Underworld], it's only given there's some very tight, fast editing. I personally would not have minded a extended running with to include more personal, character building scenes and to better establish the people, the environment...basically, the world the characters inhabit. However, I get what Leterrier wanted to achieve with the theatrical version - a action flick that was just so damn fun, you'd want to see it multiple times. At that, I can't help but say he achieved his goal. But here's hoping a Extended Edition with another hour of material hits DVD/Blu-Ray around August/September.

Visual effects are very well rendered. Notably, the Kraken (in the scattering few shots we got of it) and the Scorpions were beautiful to behold. Unfortunately, Medusa wasn't nearly as well realized; it just screamed 'Fake CGI character here.' The good news is that there's also plenty of physical creations - the Witches for instance, who are absolutely freaky and bonkers, and quite reminded me of the Furies. We also got Acrisis, the King who had thrown Baby Perseus into the watery depths years ago, who is now cursed and ugly looking like a deformed hunchback - and absolutely hellbent on wrecking havoc on Perseus.

Sam Worthington (Terminator Salvation) is making quite a name for himself. As a action star, I'd say he's quite good - he can bring a bit of emotion to the role, and he can definitely swing swords and shoot guns (Avatar) with zero problem. Definitely somebody who could do a wide range, as long as he doesn't make Dwayne Johnson-like choices. Ralph Fiennes (Voldemort in Harry Potter) plays Hades, and I'm honestly not sure how I feel about this interpretation of the character - he has a raspy voice, sort of hunched down it seems, and doesn't at all look menacing. Steve Coogan, I believe, was a stronger presence as Hades in Percy Jackson earlier this year. Fiennes' Hades feels like a threat, but the man himself - not so much, which isn't exactly a good thing with he's supposed to be your main antagonist. The best part of the whole film? Liam Neeson as Zeus. I can never watch a Zeus character again without wishing deep in my heart that Liam was taking up the role. Liam Neeson is Zeus.

Hell, I didn't even have any problems with his sparkly-ness. Suck on that, Edward!

All the other cast members are just fine; nothing exceptionally noteworthy. Well, there are the two attractive female leads - the under-appreciated Alexa Davalos (Chronicles of Riddick) as Princess Andromeda [BTW, look for the hilarious plot gap after the resolution at Argos - a particular character dies that neither Perseus or Andromeda actually SEE dying, but yet they're talking it over. It was funny], who doesn't have many scenes (although their is a gripping sequence where her father and mother compare her to the Goddess Aphrodite, and all Hell breaks loose) but she brings her A-game nonetheless. Then there's Gemma Arterton (Quantum of Solace) as Io, a supposedly immortal hottie cursed with agelessness who has watched over Perseus all his life. Love interest. Sad story.

Overall, Clash of the Titans is a fun movie, and is definitely recommended for anybody into Greek mythology (though you'll undoubtedly be nitpicking at its inaccuracies), sword & sandals epics (Scorpion King), or just some really awesome action sequences. I liked it enough that I'll see it again, and I will purchase the home video releases. The only thing it did wrong for me is that it didn't meet my rather high expectations, and I can't really diss a movie for that. But be warned - 2-D is just fine; don't bother with the 3-D conversion. Really. Honestly. Don't.

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