Wednesday, 14 April 2010



It's a long time since I saw the 1981 version, which starred Harry Hamlin and a clockwork owl (given a dumb cameo in this shiny new version for no particularly good reason) and Lord Olivier as Zeus. Now comes a CG-laden remake in which all the cheesy fun has been sucked out of it, and the result is humourless, undeniably spectacular, and more than a little bit silly.

The basic thrust of Clash Of The Titans is that Zeus' illegitimate demigod son Perseus (Sam Worthington) decides to fight the gods and monsters of Olympus when Mankind starts questioning the gods' authority, and the gods retaliate by visiting beasts and destruction upon the unbelievers. They'll send a Kraken to destroy the city and its entire populace unless the fair and generous Princess Andromeda is sacrificed. Perseus and his band of accomplices have to obtain the only weapon that can defeat the Kraken - the head of the Medusa.

The monster stuff is all perfectly well done in the computer and some of the creatures are very nicely designed: I liked Charon and Medusa. The problems are: firstly the presence of big star names like Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes - the former (Zeus) in the most ridiculously shiny suit of tinfoil armour, the latter (Hades) swathed in black smoke and basically Voldemort Mark II. Secondly, when the city threatened with divine annihilation is named Argos, it's all you can do not to shout out "Item number 174 to your collection point, please" every time it's mentioned. Surely the Brits in the cast should have pointed this out to someone, somewhere along the line. "Argos is under attack" - from whom? Woolworths? Thirdly: it's only amusing in its silliness; other than the inherent daftness of hearing Liam Neeson deliver the pretty well undeliverable line "Release the Kraken!" there's not a lot of fun to be had with it. And I don't expect the acting in these things to be Oscar standard, and it isn't: it's mainly functional (I don't think Gemma Arterton is much good, and I didn't think she was much good in Quantum of Solace either). I'm also still unsure about Sam Worthington: this is the third CG-drenched movie he's been in in less than a year (after Terminator Salvation and Avatar) and I still can't tell whether he's any good. Musically it's fairly unremarkable as well, but that's not unusual for modern cinema.

Despite the advertising for its three-dimensional presentation, it was actually made in 2D and only a few scenes were retrospectively processed for 3D, so you don't really need to pay for the upgrade and can get by quite happily in a flat screening. It's not a terrible film, but it's not a particularly good one either: I enjoyed it while it was on but I kind of miss the creaky charm of the Ray Harryhausen stopmotion effects. At least they were genuine and physical rather than files on a hard drive....maybe I'll dig the original out again sometime.


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