Sunday, April 4, 2010

Clash of the Titans - Movie Review


Starring Sam Worthington, Gemma Arterton, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Mads Mikkelsen, Alexa Davalos, Jason Flemyng, Pete Postlethwaite, Polly Walker, Hans Matheson and Liam Cunningham.
Directed by Louis Leterrier.

First I'll address the 3-D. This movie was not filmed for 3-D, and whatever process they applied afterwards, it didn't work. It was dark, it wasn't textured right, it just looked messy, almost as bad as the old 3-D with one blue lense and one red lense. I came out wishing I'd just seen it in 2-D.

In fact, there were previews for two movies that WERE filmed in 3-D, and neither of them looked good. Piranha 3-D looks bad, where you can barely tell what the fish look like, and Step Up 3-D just looks cheesy. Does anyone have a pressing need to see dancing in 3-D? I'll just wait for the next season of America's Best Dance Crew.

Okay, back to the movie. I've seen the 1981 version at least three times, so my experience was going to be colored by that. Let me address the gods next. Liam Neeson was a fine Zeus. Can't top Laurence Olivier's, but this Zeus is different. He draws his powers from man's prayers. He's a little more Yahweh than the lecherous Zeus from actual Greek mythology. Hades, meanwhile, draws his power from man's fears. He proposes to Zeus to let him unleash some havoc on the world to humble man, and Zeus agrees. There are other gods up there, but they might as well not be there. It's the Zeus & Hades show. Why cast Danny Huston as Poseidon if he's only going to have one line? I remember interaction with Hera, Aphrodite and Thetis in the original, but I'm pretty sure only one goddess has one line here.

Meanwhile on Earth, Perseus, son of Zeus, grew up not knowing his demi-god status. An angry Hades kills Perseus's family, collateral damage when he's actually killing soldiers who dared cut down a statue of Zeus.

The movie still retains many of the trappings that made the first one fun. Medusa still has the lower body of a giant serpent. Humans are still figures on Olympus to be moved around the board. The giant scorpions are there, the Kraken is ten times bigger and with slashing tentacles, and even Bubo the mechanical owl makes a cameo. I loved that Polly Walker of HBO's Rome was cast as Cassiopeia, even if her role is brief.

One dynamic I did not like was Perseus's stubborn refusal to use the gifts Zeus would send to help him on his way. Perseus's pride caused the deaths of many Argonaut soldiers, and I was waiting for Draco, leader of the Argonauts, to slap some sense into Perseus.

If you haven't seen the original, maybe you'll get some enjoyment out of it, and for those, I recommend saving yourself some money and going the 2-D route.

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