Archive for April 5th, 2010

Clash of the Titans

You don’t go into a movie like Clash of the Titans expecting anything original or meaningful. This isn’t Schindler’s List afterall, despite having two of that movies starts.  Like Schindler’s List, Ralph Fiennes is by far the best thing in it, unlike Schindler’s List it is poorly written, weekly directed and hugely forgettable.  The story is very loosely based on the Greek myth of Perseus, the illegitimate son of Zeus and Danaë who went on to marry Andromeda after rescued her from the Cetus, a large fish/whale type sea monster.  He also killed Medusa.  Some of these storylines make it into the movie in one way or another others don’t.

The movie begins with a narration explaining how the current gods, the Olympians created the Kraken (we get to see this later, to no great surprise, its on the poster and in the trailer) to destroy the Titans, their creators/parents.  Then Zeus (Liam Neeson) became the King of Gods, his brother Poseidon (Danny Huston) the Lord of the Seas but he tricked his other brother Hades (Ralph Fiennes) into becoming ruler of the Underworld.  So in the first couple of minutes we discover the title Clash of the Titans and the imaginative tagline “Titans Will Clash” are both lies. “Titans once clashed this is the story of what happened years later” is less catchy but more accurate.  It’s a bit like buying a ticket for the FA Cup Final and getting to Wembley to be told you have missed the final but a couple of Sunday league teams are going to have a kick around.  So that’s what it isn’t about, what is it actually about?

Unhappy with the gods, the men of Argos destroy a statue of Zeus (their creator) in what amounts to a declaration of war against the gods.  Perseus (Sam Worthington) and his family (Pete Postlethwaite & Elizabeth McGovern) are inconveniently passing by on their fishing boat as this happens.  Rising from the underworld, Hades kills most of the men then destroys the boat killing Perseus’ family.  He is fished out sea and taken to Argos were the Queen, Cassiopeia (Polly Walker) angers the gods further by rather unwisely comparing the beauty of her daughter, Andromeda (Alexa Davalos) to Aphrodite (supermodel Agyness Deyn).  Hades (Ralph Fiennes) appears and demands the people of Argos sacrifice Andromeda or he will release the Kraken on the city in ten days. Perseus (Sam Worthington).  Perseus who discovers that he is the son of Zeus and a demigod, then leads a small group of soldiers further than any man has ever travelled (although it only takes them a week to get there mainly on foot) to find the Stygian Witches who can tell him how to kill the Kraken.  Along the way discover there is a little more to Hades’ plans than first thought.

There are no great surprises in the plot and the outcome is pretty much what you would expect (unless your knowalage of Greek mythology is better than your ability to read a film, in that case their will be lots of surprises!).  There are lots of recognisable faces including Danny Huston as a virtually anonymous Poseidon; Jason Flemyng as Acrisius the husband and killer of Perseus’ real mother; Nicholas Hoult and Mads Mikkelsen as two of the soldiers who accompany Perseus and Gemma Arterton as Io another demigod from Greek mythology looking less Bovinae than she appears in myth.

There is actually nothing particularly terrible about the movie; there is nothing that is very good either. The acting is okay, the direction isn’t too bad. The effects are acceptable. The greatest problem is the writing. Greek Mythology is full of stories of great quests so why bother remaking a film that itself was cobbled together from various bits of myths? On the subject of the 1981 movie, look out for a “cameo” by the mechanical owl. Despite my well publicised dislike for 3D I did opt for the 3D option and really wonder why I bothered, the best thing I can say about it is that most of the time I forgot I was watching a 3D movie. On a couple of occasions I remembered that I was watching a 3D movie but couldn’t see much 3D about it, I took the glasses of a to see that large sections of the movie where not 3D. I think it’s the worst kept secret in the world at the moment that 3D is a silly gimmick; unfortunately people like me keep going to see them.

In conclusion the movie is okay at best and a little tedious at worst, it feels longer than its 105 minutes. My advise to anyone who likes the sound of it wait for the DVD, or even better look out a copy of the original movie that is far from brilliant in its own right but a true classic in comparison to this one.

Two stars out of Five

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