Friday, April 12, 2013

Clash of the Titans (2010)

The world is coming to an end, all new movies are remakes!!!

I grew up reading the Greek Myths, and this retelling is different from any other that I have read or seen. In yet another epic retelling of the story of the Greek gods, "Clash of the Titans" is remarkable for the special effects. Sam Worthington is on a roll with his third major special effect movie in two years. A few jokes here and there, a fast paced action-adventure script, appearances from popular stars such as Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes as the two warring brothers-gods, Zeus and Hades, and a ton of excellent special effects and you have an hour and forty-five minutes of fun and excitement. Well worth plunking down the seven dollars (matinee fees in my neck of the woods) to see this film.

Featuring an international cast, they stand around with no real purpose, on display. "Clash of the Titans" retells the story of the Greek hero Perseus, the son of Zeus, a demi-god, living among the mortals. Thrown into the sea with his mother Danae, by her husband King Acrisius, Spyros, the fisherman finds Perseus and raises him as his own. Years later, after the soldiers of Argos destroy the giant statue of Zeus (Liam Neeson), his brother Hades, convince Zeus, as the rest of the gods are standing around glowing, that humans must be put in their place and show some respect, damn it. Perseus, delivered to King Kepheus/Cepheus (Vincent Regan) and the arrogant Queen Cassiopeia (Polly Walker from Caprica), witnesses the queens declaration that her daughter the beautiful Andromeda (Alexa Davalos), “more beautiful than Aphrodite (Agyness Deyn) herself.” Pissing Hades off, he ages Cassiopeia instantly and gives the King an ultimatum. Sacrifice his daughter or he will let loose his child, the Kraken upon Argos. Turning to Perseus, he outs him as half man-half god (something he didn’t know himself). Thrown into jail, the King’s men not knowing what to do with him, he the eternally young Io (played by the twelve-fingered Gemma Arterton) visits Perseus in jail and informs him of his lineage and tells him of his destiny. A team assembled; the quest outlined, and the adventure begins. The rest is just action adventure and special effect after special effect. A feeble attempt to add some comic relief, in the characters Kucuk and Ozal(they reminded me of Pintel & Ragetti the two goofy sailors on Pirates of the Caribbean series) who decide they don’t do the Garden of Stygia leave the group in the middle of the second act. Essentially one must remember the title of the movie, "Clash of the Titans,"  this is actually a battle of the two Olympian gods, Hades, the older brother who feels cheated and tricked by his younger brother Zeus who relegated him to rule the underworld.

Warner Brothers released the"Clash of the Titans""Clash of the Titans" in 3D and as a regular viewing, I chose the regular viewing. My own personal feeling is that if a studio offers a film in 3d it is probably lacking in either story or character. What the "Clash of the Titans" 2010 version lacks in character development, it makes up for it in the story. Yes, this film is fast paced, yes the cuts are quick, but I am sure Louis Leterrier and Vincent Tabaillon were thinking more about pacing than character development. The story outline shows Perseus as a fisherman, an ordinary man, his parents are killed by Hades and Hades issues the “call to adventure” or “the hero’s challenge.” Immediately Perseus resists, saying, “I tie knots in nets, I am not a soldier.” Accepting the challenge, persuaded by Io, explaining that his only choice is to accept the challenge and seek the Stygian Witches (Grey Women in Greek Myth) for consul on how to kill the sea monster or Kraken. Perseus dawns armor and goes with Draco (King Arthur veteran Mads Mikkelsen) or this is the “meeting of the mentor stage”, as Draco offers to teach Perseus how to sword fight. Ending the first act Perseus crosses the “first threshold by crossing into a special world” when he and his group are attacked and must fight off the man who threw him, Perseus and his mother into the ocean, Acrisius id now Calibos, a creature of Hades. Now, Perseus and the group must travel the “road of tests” when first they must battle giant scorpions created by the Calibos’s blood dripping onto the sand. The next test is dealing with the Djin, sort magical Tuskin Raiders or a kind of mystical Sandpeople (a Star Wars reference) who also want to fight the gods and provide Perseus fast transportation on the backs of the giant scorpions. On the backs of giant scorpions Perseus, Draco and the remaining men must enter the Innermost Cave and learn from the three witches, who share one eye and one mouth between the three of them, how to find the Gorgon, Medusa and how to kill the Kraken. After learning that story of Medusa, they travel to the underworld, meet the ferryman, Charon the transporter of the dead to “meet the goddess” and then he must go through the “ordeal of Life and death struggle.” At this point the screenwriters switched up the “Hero Journey” a bit and instead of giving Perseus his reward they showed us a “refusal of the return” as offers him a place with the other gods, then “test of resurrection,” and finally, Perseus becomes the “master of two worlds” and receives his reward. The story outline is classic, proven, and it works.

We go to movies like the"Clash of the Titans" for the adventure. We go to see something amazing, and we go for the special effects. As I remember the original 1981 version, I never thought the characterization to be very well developed in that version, and I didn’t expect this version to be any different. Watching the trailer, I was promised special effects and action. What I expected from a film of this nature is grandiose adventure, grandiose music, and grandiose special effects. The music helped to dramatize the story but otherwise unmemorable. However, the special effects team did an excellent job in helping to tell this story. I am a fan of Ray Harryhausen’s animation. I learned from him, but the world is changing and new generations demand a vivid picture, special effects that are realistic and modern.

Did Louis Leterrier go a bit too far with the overly shiny Olympian gods? I think so. Is that a reason for not wanting to see this movie? I don’t think so. If you are looking for a story with originality, this movie is not for you. If you are looking for a movie to dazzle you for an hour and forty-five minutes of escapism, then yes go see this movie at the theaters to get the full effect of the bigness of this film.

Movie Data

Genre:  Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
Year:  2010
Staring: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton and Mads Mikkelsen
Director: Louis Leterrier
Producer(s) Kevin De La Noy & Basil Iwanyk
Writer: Travis Beacham & Phil Hay
Rating: PG-13

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