Monday, April 5, 2010

CLASH OF THE TITANS (2010)

Written by Travis Beacham and Phil Hay & Matt Manfredi



Directed by Louis Leterrier


Where & When: AMC Burbank 16, Burbank, CA. April 4, 2010 1:50PM


I am not a fan of films being remade.

The only thing more ridiculous and misguided is movies based on classic television shows. Most of these films flop at the box office and yet, Hollywood insists to keep on making them.

I understand why films are remade or "re-imagined", as Hollywood likes to refer to these, but the problem is that the film makers tend to think that all they need to do is just fill this new version with great, modern visual effects and that will be enough to convince an audience to come. They fail to realize that these most of these original films were a reflection of a specific time and were made by people who had something to say and not simply about making a fast buck off a previously successful and established idea. Besides, in this day and age with cable television and DVDs, why watch something like Tim Burton's inferior remake of "Planet of the Apes" (2001) when you can still watch the much, much better original?

So, this brings me to the latest recreation, "The Clash of the Titans" which is based on the original 1981 film. Now, I was old enough to have paid adult admission to see the first film but too young to be able to buy an alcoholic beverage in California at the time so I don't hold any childhood nostalgic admiration for this movie. I thought the film was not great but slightly entertaining. This is probably one film that you could easily improve on since the original is not considered a masterpiece.

The story, which is based on Greek mythology, is about a time when people believed in not one God but many Gods. Zeus, (Liam Neeson) was the King of the Gods and ruled the heavens while his brothers, Poseidon (Danny Huston) ruled the oceans and Hades, (Ralph Fiennes) was tricked into ruling the underworld and he has been holding a big grudge every since.

A fisherman (Pete Postlethwaite) discovers an elaborate box floating in the ocean. He retrieves it and opens it to find a dead woman and a baby that is still alive. He takes the child home to his family to raise and they call him Perseus.

Years later, the family is out fishing when they see soldiers from the city of Argos destroying a giant statue of Zeus. This act angers the gods and Hades rises up and kills many of the soldiers and sinks the family's boat. Avatar's Sam Worthington plays Perseus, now a young man and he tries in vain to save his family but he is unable to.

Perseus is rescued by the surviving soldiers and taken to Argos where he is brought before the royal family. During a celebration, the King and Queen proclaim that they are as great as the gods and their daughter, Andromeda (Alexa Davalos) is more beautiful than the goddess, Aphrodite.

This causes Hades to return where he causes more destruction and attacks Perseus. Perseus is unharmed which makes Hades realize that he must be a demigod and the son of Zeus. To punish the people of Argos for their insolence, Hades will send out the Kraken to destroy the city in ten days unless they sacrifice Andromeda.

Desperate to save his daughter's life, the King seeks the help of Perseus to destroy the Kraken. He wants him to travel with a small group of soldiers to seek the advice of the Stygian witches on how to do this. Perseus wants no part of this but Io, (Gemma Arterton) a beautiful demigoddess who has been watching over Perseus since he was an infant, convinces him to agree to the King's plan so he can also avenge the death of his family.

The group begin their journey where they first encounter Acrisius (Jason Flemyng). He is the one who, in a jealous rage, sent his wife and the baby, Perseus to their deaths when he found out that Zeus was the father. Now a servant of Hades, he is given super powers by the god to try and stop them and kill Perseus.

After fending off Acrisius, Perseus continues on where he and the group fight off giant scorpions, team up with the Djinn, who are magical sand-creatures, deal with the uncooperative witches, and battle for the head of the snake-haired, Medusa before Perseus flies back to Argos on the winged horse, Pegasus. Will he get back in time to save the princess and the city?

This "Clash" takes itself much more seriously, has better special effects and is certainly less campy but to say it's a better film is a bit of a stretch. It's like comparing a Fuji apple to a Granny Smith apple: They are slightly different but they both still apples. The film is busy, loud and visually stimulating, mindless fun which is how, I guess, you could describe the original film.

I don't know if Mr. Worthington was necessarily the best choice for the lead in this film but he does do a good job as Perseus. Mr. Fiennes does sinister very well but my favorite character in this was Medusa. I thought it was great how she was actually part reptile, part beautiful woman and I loved, although it was too brief, her entire battle sequence in the film.

This is the latest film to be done in 3D but it was added after the film was completed and it is obvious. The effect adds absolutely nothing to the film and I could barely tell the film was supposed to be in 3D.

While this "Clash of the Titans" is a slight improvement from the original (and owes a big debt to "Gladiator") but I think it is very safe to say that this film will not be revered by anyone twenty six years from now.