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Clash of the Titans (A PopEntertainment.com Movie Review)

Clash of the Titans

Clash of the Titans

CLASH OF THE TITANS (2010)

Starring Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Flemyng, Gemma Arterton, Alexa Davalos, Tine Stapelfeldt, Mads Mikkelsen, Pete Postlethwaite, Nicholas Hoult, Luke Evans, Izabella Miko, Liam Cunningham, Hans Matheson, Ashraf Barhom, Mouloud Achour, Ian Whyte, Vincent Regan, Polly Walker, Katherine Loeppky, Luke Treadaway, Elizabeth McGovern, Alexander Siddig and Danny Huston.

Screenplay by Travis Beacham and Phil Hay & Matt Manfredi.

Directed by Louis Leterrier.

Distributed by Warner Bros.  106 minutes.  Rated PG-13.

Apparently they have completely run out of popular films from the 80s to remake because with stuff like this and Tron Legacy they have taken to remaking films that were huge box office disappointments in their day.  Should we be on the lookout for new versions of Flash Gordon, One from the Heart and Heaven’s Gate next?

At least Tron had uniqueness going for it – it literally pioneered a revolution in filmmaking as the first film to be nearly completely created with computer animation.  Of course, to today’s eyes Tron’s computer animation looks antiquated, but that is no surprise considering the film was made the same year that MS-DOS was first released.  It took another fifteen years before Pixar and Toy Story would make this type of animation viable and popular, but Tron deserves props for being way in front of the curve.  Plus, Tron Legacy is a sequel, not a remake.

The original Clash of the Titans, on the other hand, was a bit of a relic even when it was released.  It was the final film by stop-motion animation legend Ray Harryhausen – who had used the technique to create classic 50s b-movies like It Came from Beneath the Sea, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad and Mysterious Island.  Still, by the time Clash of the Titans came out in the post-Star Wars era, the special effects in the film looked horribly dated and precious.  Despite the fact that the film had performances by the slumming royal likes of Sir Laurence Olivier and Dame Maggie Smith – as well as starring a pre-LA Law Harry Hamlin – the film was considered a box office dud and when all the studios passed on a sequel idea, Harryhausen retired from active filmmaking, only occasionally popping up for acting cameos.

Clash of the Titans was… and is… a fanciful and somewhat action-packed take on Greek mythology.  On Mount Olympus, the Gods – mostly Zeus (played by Liam Neeson) and his evil brother Hades (played by Ralph Fiennes) pass out judgments on the humans, demanding the prayers and loyalty of people of the ancient land of Argos in return for a good life.

I will stop here to point out that this is the first time that Neeson and Fiennes have worked together since Schindler’s List.  Imagine that – going from Schindler’s List to Clash of the Titans.  Take a moment to let the shudder of revulsion to pass and we will continue.

The humans are tired of being play toys for the Gods and start a rebellion.  Hades, who has been stoking the fires of rebellion behind the scenes, demands that the humans sacrifice the beautiful princess Andromeda or a giant monster will lay waste to the town.

The only hope that the humans have is Perseus – who is played by Sam Worthington, who apparently has become THE action star of the moment (also starring in Avatar and Terminator Salvation) despite the fact that he has not shown any great skill as an actor in any of the three roles.  Perseus is a demigod, the bastard son of Zeus who was conceived when the God apparently essentially raped Perseus’mother and left her to die at the hands of her jealous husband.  Yet, somehow, Zeus expects his son to be happy to learn that Zeus is his father.

I will give the makers of the current Clash of the Titans the fact that they are now technically able to make the story look stunning.  The effects – particularly the evil Medusa and a huge mythical monster called a Kraken – look amazing.

Still, it is more of a question of whether this specific story is worth sprucing up in the first place.  Just like the original, the new Clash of the Titans feels like just so much mythological clap trap, piling on adventures and stilted dialogue with little grace, nor much common sense.  The storyline is hackneyed and unrealistic – even in the film’s fantasy world – and in the end the movie is really surprisingly dull for a film with so many action sequences.

Just because you can remake something doesn’t mean that you should.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2010 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: April 2, 2010.

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