Clash of the Titans… WTF!!!

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Clash of the Titans… WTF!!!

I rarely feel the need to write a movie review, even if I feel strongly about a particular film. I didn’t even get too emotional about the newer Star Wars movies or Lord of the Rings (LOTR). But when I saw Clash of the Titans last night, I knew I had to say something…

I’m going to get right to it… The 2010 version of Clash of the Titans was a missed opportunity. Several things are completely wrong in terms of mythological context. Pegasus is supposed to be white. Not black. White is the archetypal color of good. Why would you make the good guy’s flying horse black? And the traditional Pegasus of lore was WHITE.

Perseus (played by Sam Worthington) looks like he got kicked out of 300, and just didn’t do it for me as a hero. We need the wimpy guy with curly hair for this to work. And oh yeah, you get a freaking sword from the gods and you are going to toss it aside. Heck with that. Fight fire with fire. Poor casting I think. Same goes for Zeus (played by Liam Neeson). A lesser-known actor may have been better. We are still recovering from Phantom Menace. We don’t really get Ammon (formerly played by Burgess Meredith), which is a shame.

Hades (Ralph Fiennes) makes entirely too many appearances in this film, making you feel like you are in Hell with him. He (wrongly) delivers the “10 days” message when it should have been an obviously CGI head of Aphrodite. At least it can act. Argos features some great LOTR-like mountain vistas and city structures, and the interiors appear to be recycled sets of the HBO series “Rome” (they also recycled one of the actresses).

The only reason I can think of the recommend this film is if you are curious about how modern effects will be used to tell the story. Do not bother to go see this film if you are anticipating Bobo to be rendered in 21st Century CGI glory. Forget it. He’s shown once, and tossed into a box. Even my uncle who got out of prison last year after serving 20 years was looking forward to Bubo. How could they do this? I suppose they blew their CGI budget on all the damn scorpions, so Calibos looks instead like a Klingon.

We get a full 5 minutes (or more) of slow-motion Kraken swimming and slashing… I guess that is something. But then once you see him, you immediately think of the Rancor from Return of the Jedi. In other derivitive news, most of the guys helping Perseus look like they got kicked out of Lord of the Rings or The Scorpion King (there’s that ^*%^&%-ing scorpion fetish again).

The Stygian Witches scene is brilliantly paced in the original film. In 2010 we are rushed through it like Perseus needs to get to the bathroom and there is more weight placed on getting him to learn about his fate than Medusa. They could have still gotten there without rushing. Take out a couple scopions for crying out loud!

River Styx = amusement ride complete with what looked like an animatronic Halloween skeleton. And not a good one.

Medusa battle – Again a matter of pacing. The original is creepy. You can feel the tension. The shadows crawl across the screen and everything is believable in its own way. In 2010, Medusa’s lair looks like a B-side level of Prince of Persia and there is way too much going on. Medusa herself is too cute. She’s actually kinda hot. But I don’t want to be turned on by a snake-headed cursed being. Her face gets a little more scary as her powers take hold, but the original was much more scary and effective. Here we see way too much of her.

Here was one chance to just keep it simple. Instead we get additional plot elements (like the djinns… WTF!) and pimped out scorpion caravans. What a waste. For those of us who grew up with and cherished the original film, the 2010 version is a slap in the face. For the folks that do not know the original, we can only hope they will go back and give it a chance to set the record straight. Ray Harryhausen’s stop motion animation really was ahead of its time, and informed everything that came after. When you have a perfectly good story with a need for effects that was ahead of its time, all you need to do is keep that great story and update the visuals to pay tribute to the original.

Review version 1.0

Addendum…

Forgot about the whole 2D vs 3D thing… we saw it in 2D purposely so we wouldn’t be disappointed from that standpoint. The retrofitting of 3D for this film was enough to turn me away. So we’re glad we paid matinee price for 2D – that was quite enough.

As for the music. It too was terrible. Far too often the music was time-synced to actions on screen in such a bogus way as to be too noticeable. Orchestral hits to accent battle sequences and even Pegasus wings. That stuff works (sometimes) for contemporary action movies (cop/robber, modern military), but it was just way too noticeable here. Some directors, like Tarantino, make that style work. A good soundtrack makes its mark subliminally. It should not call attention to itself unless it is truly great in and of itself. Not so here. Even from a purely musical standpoint, I found some of the motifs too repetitive and cheesy. I honestly don’t recall the soundtrack from the original, but imagine it was better too (will have to check).

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jjdeprisco

Owner of Pepperhead Studios, guitarist in Fricknadorable, and Electro-acoustic sound designer/experimenter.