Clash of the Titans opens April 1 late into the evening!

I think the only way to start this is by saying that I love the 1981 classic Clash of the Titans. Harry Hamlin running around fighting a slew of Ray Harryhausen’s beasties is one of my most cherished memories of film growing up. Constantly it was regular watching on the television for my brother and me. Even now, I can recount almost every detail of the 1981 classic and I haven’t watched it in years.
Unfortunately, a name is the only thing that the 1981 version and this new 2010 version have in common. I mean, there a few other things that they share, of course, but in terms of the warm fuzzies I get when I hear Bubo the owl whirl and twirl, not even close.

Directed by Louis Leterrier (Transporter 2, The Incredible Hulk), Clash of the Titans is an effects-riddled tale of angst, loosely based on Greek mythology. The story, cut down is simply this: Perseus, played by the new “it-boy” Sam Worthington, is adopted by a simple family in a time when unrest and hate has risen in the hearts of men against the Gods.  Seeing the opportunity to seize control, Hades (played by Ralph Fiennes who has decided to channel Voldemort) makes a deal with Zeus (Liam Neeson) to bring the humans back to fearing the Gods. In the meantime, Perseus winds up in Argos, which, conveniently is the base for the rebellion against the Gods and is thrust into an odyssey when it is discovered that he himself is the son of Zeus. Things happen. Scorpions. Medusa. Pegasus. Kraken.

The end.


All right, it’s not so much the story that is the problem. I mean it is and it isn’t. The problem is that with a name like of Clash of the Titans, you have some expectations. By no means is the original a masterpiece of film. But it worked. The story, the action, the special effects. They all worked together. Even with the limitations of 1981 versus now, it worked. This 2010 version by comparison is just a louder, dulled down, experiment in tepid ideas with some bad special effects at times and nothing new to offer. I mean seriously, this film decided to take a Lord of the Rings/300 mixture of actors and scenes and serve up something that clashes with all of your senses. There’s even a dude that tries to resemble Legolas. Come on.

I guess, to be fair, there are a few things that are worth watching. A few scenes call back to the original and are kind of cool and Gemma Arterton as Io does well as narrator and token, team beauty. Liam Neeson makes a good Zeus, but honestly, all I really wanted to hear him say was “Release the Kraken!” And I guess there are a few lines of dialogue (what little dialogue there is) that either brings a good laugh or is just good tough guy speak.

But after that, nope.

From the blurry special effects that never completely deliver to the random “Chewbacca” character that joins the team, nothing really helps this film become a good experience. The scenes or moments that are similar to the 1981 version are rushed and try so hard to be over the top that they just kind of fail. Case in point, the Medusa scene. In the original, the Medusa scene was paced at a speed that was tense, a little frightening and intelligent in its build-up and strategy. The Medusa scene in the new film – flat, predictable and rushed. 1981 version, Perseus prevailed using skills and smarts. 2010 version – Perseus wins by luck. Seriously. In films, it’s always the little things that matter and here the little things have been stepped on, forgotten and run over by a computer generated thing that could use a few more hours in the rendering room.

Of course, I did get a chance to see this film in 3D so that had to make it better … right? Nope. Listen friends, just like ketchup can’t make burnt grossness taste better, 3D cannot better a film. The issue here is that the film was not shot in 3D. 3D was an afterthought to join the bandwagon and it does not work. If you want to see a film that knows how to use the 3D medium, please see Avatar or How to Train Your Dragon. Here, it’s just a distraction and probably makes the film even worse. That saying about lipstick and bulldogs comes to mind.

So what’s the final word? I think the fact that only about two people clapped (and they kind of sounded like pity claps) at the end of the film says it all. There will be a few people that will enjoy the ride at first and probably because of the hype and the sun finally shining, opening weekend will see good results, but in the end nothing special. Usually “disappointed” is a strong enough word but here, I don’t think so. I had such high hopes for this one and believe me, I wanted to like it so much, but I guess if I want to clash with the Gods on Olympus, I’m going to have to get in my DeLorean or hot-tub time machine and travel back to 1981.
2 out of 5 Stygian Witches (and yes, I know that there were only 3)

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