Saturday, 12 November 2011



Eh? Wasn't Clash Of The Titans enough of a stinker? Apparently not - and that's before we get the frankly unnecessary sequel in March 2012 - as this is basically treading the same territory, but far better shot and soaked in the comic-book visual flavour of Zack Snyder's 300: everything's bronze and metallic-looking, it's CGI'd to destruction and it frequently cuts to slow-motion action shots of muscular men in leather and skirts battling with swords and pikes. But while 300 got away with its oddly enjoyable mixture of Triumph Of The Will and gay fetish imagery, Clash Of The Titans was mainly dull and uninteresting (and incidentally not a patch on an already average original), and fusing the two together has produced nearly two hours of arrant nonsense, undeniably with a nice visual flair but which really doesn't work at all as either a drama or a dumb popcorn spectacular.

The Immortals aren't just the Greek gods on Mount Olympus, watching over mankind but bound not to interfere (rather in the manner of the Time Lords), but potentially any man who fights for the right things with enough passion and courage with no thought for himself. It's the 12th Century BC and evil King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke, overdoing it) seeks the legendary Epirus Bow with which he can free the Titans from underneath Mount Tartarus and bring down the Gods. Peasant Theseus (Henry Cavill), coached throughout his life by Zeus himself in human form (John Hurt), is driven to seek revenge against Hyperion for the murder of his mother and the destruction of his village. He is aided by Phaedra the Oracle (Frieda Pinto), whose visions could also reveal the location of the Epirus Bow to Hyperion.....

And so on. It's all absolute cobblers, it's too long, it's dull and it doesn't make sense. We don't find out how Zeus can repeatedly lay down the "no interference" law when he himself has been training Theseus from childhood. Nor is it satisfactorily explained why the Gods bothered to chain the Titans up for centuries in a giant box under a mountain (rather than wiping them out when they had the chance), or why they left the Ultimate Weapon lying around where pretty much anyone could find it by chance. That's because Tarsem Singh Dhandwar isn't that interested in plot or performance or character: he's only concerned with the visual look of it and pretty much every scene looks like it's meant to advertise exotic perfumes or expensive chocolates. He's very good at striking images, such as the unreal worlds of The Cell or the fantasy landscapes of The Fall, but not so hot on story and characters, so outside of the pretty visuals there's nothing interesting about Immortals at all. The look is more important that anything else.

More damagingly, it isn't any fun. It's certainly violent in its battle sequences and CGI monster fights (18 seconds was trimmed to avoid an 18 certificate) but no matter how many punches to the face and spears through the heart, it doesn't mean anything. Most of what you're looking at is just pixels on a hard-drive anyway so there's little sense of jeopardy as you never believe any of this is anywhere near real. I haven't seen the 3D version as it was shot in 2D and  converted in post-production; the 2D is dull enough, frankly. Perhaps it's an odd decision to release a movie about the imminent extermination of Ancient Greece while the economy of the real Modern Greece continues to disintegrate; as it happens, watching the news coverage of the financial meltdown in the Eurozone is far more compelling.


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