Review: Clash of the Titans updates `80s camp

Review: Clash of the Titans updates `80s camp

Source: AssociatedPress

By: Jake Coyle

Critic's Rating: 3/5

Tuesday 06 April 2010

Movie Title

Review: Clash of the Titans updates `80s camp


Louis Leterrier

Star Cast

Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Flemyng, Gemma Arterton, Alexa Davalos

Who wants to be a god, anyway?

That's the principle twist inserted into the new Clash of the Titans, a remake of the sometimes fondly recalled, technologically dated 1981 film about the fury of the gods of Mount Olympus and the rise of the young, earthly demigod Perseus.

This time, Perseus (Sam Worthington) bears a distaste for his godlike nature: He just wants to be a regular dude and do normal guy stuff ? like ride his winged horse Pegasus on the beach.

It's perhaps a fitting updating of the film for an era marked by distrust for political leaders and Internet-empowered masses. Now, even the gods are spurned in their own movie: Deity is so out.

On Mount Olympus, that golden round table in the clouds, Zeus (Liam Neeson, in the part played by Laurence Olivier in the original) is angry at an ungrateful mankind and lets loose his brother Hades (Ralph Fiennes) to destroy the city of Argos. As a new citizen of Argos, Perseus (the son of Zeus) doesn't much like this. He embarks on the familiar journey (particularly familiar for those who saw the recent, bouncier teen version Percy Jackson & the Olympians) in defeating a number of mythical creatures, including a serpentine Medusa and the sea monster Kraken ? which, rest assured, is eventually released.

Directed by Louis Leterrier (2008's The Incredible Hulk), The Clash of the Titans will likely lure moviegoers chiefly by its digital effects (which are largely quite good but forgettable) and its promise of 3-D spectacle (which disappoints altogether).

Like several blockbusters being released now in the post-Avatar environment, Clash of the Titans was made in 2-D but converted to 3-D in post-production. Audiences will hardly notice any increased depth. Though this is preferable to the distraction of most 3-D, it's surely not worth the hike in ticket price.

Worthington, the Australian actor who stared in Avatar, knows a little something about 3-D. Here, he trades aqua blue-colored skin for an equally artificial bronze spray tan in the mold of 300 torsos.

Worthington was largely eclipsed by the surrounding effects of Avatar; it's an interesting irony that few would be able to name the star of the biggest box-office grosser of all-time. In Titans, his presence is more explicit but also less substantial.

With a crew cut atop his almost perfectly spherical head, Worthington grits his way through the film and does plenty of dramatic leaping while brandishing a sword. But he doesn't supply the charisma that the movie needs and the whole thing feels like a joyless slog.

Fiennes's appearances provide a jolt. Arriving always with his head curiously fixed within a cloud of swirling black smog, he knows how to make an entrance. His part is surely the best in the movie and he's clearly having fun. He hisses in a horse whisper: "What could be more beautiful than death?"

But that's not nearly enough to engender the kind of fondness people feel for the original Clash of the Titans, campy though it is.

Clash of the Titans, a Warner Bros. Pictures release, is rated PG-13 for fantasy action violence, some frightening images and brief sensuality.

Running time: 106 minutes

Rating: Two stars out of four

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