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Film Review: "Clash of the Titans"
March 31, 2010
by: Jared Counts
(Warner Brothers Pictures. 1 hour, 58 minutes. Rated PG-13 for fantasy action violence, some frightening images and brief sensuality. Directed by Louis Leterrier.) Sam Worthington (Perseus), Liam Neeson (Zeus), Ralph Fiennes (Hades), Jason Flemyng (Calibos / Acrisius), Gemma Arterton (Io), Mads Mikkelsen (Draco). Music by Ramin Djawadi.
Perseus (Worthington), demigod son of Zeus (Neeson), attempts to avenge his adoptive parents after their deaths at the hands of Hades (Fiennes). With the help of the warriors of Argos (led by Mikkelsen) and the mysterious Io (Arterton), Perseus sets out to defeat the Kraken and save mankind. A competent remake that somewhat improves on the original.
I only recently saw the original Clash of the Titans, so I am not armed with nostalgia. The original had a certain low-tech charm (mainly due to Ray Harryhausen's puppetry) and plenty of unintentional humor to offset the groan-worthy script. This new version polishes some of the rougher edges, adds some impressive special effects and avoids much of the cheesy dialogue. However, reworking the plot, while a net positive, presents some new issues, such as Hades's plot not really making much sense (he's working with the gods, but against them and also on his own agenda?). Worthington shows slightly more range than Harry Hamlin did, but basically swaps out befuddled blankness for glowering. Neeson and Fiennes (much like Laurence Olivier and Maggie Smith in the original) are acting well below their pay grade (Fiennes's Hades comes across as a mopey Voldemort), but they do seem to enjoy themselves. And that's the thing: I can critique the effects and plot all I want, but I was entertained by the movie. It's by no means perfect, but it's a well-made update to a cult classic.
On a technical note, this movie was originally shot in 2D and hastily converted to 3D, presumably to cash in on this latest fad. The hastiness of the conversion is apparent throughout, detracting from the proceedings with dimmed colors and blurry action. I'd recommend ditching the glasses and saving yourself a few extra bucks.