Clash of the Titans – Movie Review

As a kid I enjoyed 1981’s uber-cheesy Clash of the Titans. It’s one of those films I only saw once but the slithering Medusa left a very lasting impression. It’s a film I’ve resisted from revisiting over the years because I’ve always had a feeling that the excitement I found as a child would wear off and the bad 80’s haircuts and dialogue would be too much to bear.

2D or 3D?
I decided to see Clash of the Titans in 2D. It was shot in standard 2D then was converted to 3D in post production. Unfortunately, there are many more like this to come. I’m not a big fan of 3D conversion. If a film was made in 3D (like the current 3D gold standard Avatar) them I’m fine with 3D. Otherwise I feel Hollywood is just trying to milk a few extra bucks out of the viewer by offering a sub par 3D experience at a costlier price.

Plot synopsis from IMDB:
“Perseus (Sam Worthington) raised as a fisherman, but is actually a demi-god. Perseus is the son of Zeus (Liam Neeson) who is about to take on the gods after the death of his family. Zeus’ brother Hades (Ralph Fiennes) was the one who kill his family, and Perseus wants to kill him. However, it is Perseus’s destiny to rescue the city of Argos from the ruthless rage of Hades and his Kraken monster. With nothing to lose, Perseus leads a band of soldiers on a quest to defeat the Kraken. In doing this, Perseus will prevent Hades from overthrowing Zeus and in turn destroying mankind. Douglas Young (the-movie-guy)”

Onto the review:
The 80’s version was basically a visual spectacular created to show off the work of legendary stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen. Going into the new Clash of the Titans I was really looking forward to see what the creative team would do with today’s technology. Most importantly, I wondered, would Medusa be just as frightening?

Clash of the Titans has a few good things going for it. I was surprised at how good the film looked overall. The colors were bold and bright, which I have read is not the case with the 3D version. (With the 3D conversions 30% of brightness and color is lost.) It’s really nice to see a film that has a more natural look and hasn’t been totally desaturated like so many filmmakers have been doing lately (think 300, Saving Private Ryan, Twilight).

The story is serviceable but it lacks refinement to truly hook the viewer on an emotional level. Clash of the Titans really wants to be an epic adventure ala The Lord of the Rings but it takes itself way too seriously and plays out too quickly to offer more than spectacle (which if done right isn’t always a bad thing). The actors do an admirable job but the heaviest hitters, Neeson and Fiennes, don’t have much screen time. Worthington is fine as Perseus, he’s a competent actor and never seems out-of-place but the role could have used someone with more charisma. I found myself liking the secondary role of Solon (Liam Cunningham) more. Maybe because his character was one of the lone sources of humor.

Spectacle wise Clash of the Titans is a bit of a mixed bag, some of the effects were quite good, like Hades and his split entities and the way he apparates. Pegasus looked really cool flying and landing, until he was being ridden, which was not so great. The Cracken was fine but is so massive it would probably never look truly real. I hate to report that my biggest disappointment with the effects was that of the most important character, Medusa. She was the most CG’ed looking character in the film. Her movements and textures were unconvincing. It really seemed that she came from a film made 5 years ago compared to the rest of it. On the plus side however, Medusa’s lair was quite impressive looking.

Bottom Line:
A – for effort, B – for execution, C – for character, D – for Medusa. Clash of the Titans is not truly great or really bad it’s just… okay.

Rated PG-13: In theaters now.

How about you? Have you seen Clash of the Titans? What did you think?

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