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Clash of the Titans

I was never a particularly big fan of the original Clash; I like Ray Harryhausen as much, or in many cases more, than the next guy, but by the early 80s his stopanimation technique had just about seen the end of its days. That Clash was a final hurrah for an art form that had prospered in Hollywood for the better part of sixty years; but technology had eclipsed it. I also didnt like Harry Hamlin much, and crap like Bubo the owl generally irritates me to no end. So whatever memories I have of the film arent terribly rosy. I was somewhat interested in seeing this movie based upon my abiding interest in Greek mythology (the fact that my new manuscript mines the Greek Gods as fodder didnt hurt) and because, well, the special effects looked cool. I was pretty much on the fence about going until I checked the Rotten Tomatoes website, which gave the film an aggregate of about 30% positive. I could wait for DVD. This Clash stars Sam Worthington (you know, the human dude from Avatar) as Perseus, a bastard son of Zeus raised by Pete Posthlewaite, who is accidentally killed when the gods avenge some foolish mortals for toppling one of their statues. Perseus thus has a grudge, and when he is captured and taken to Argos (whose king is played by the guy who was Brad Pitts go-to guy in Troy), hes pretty pissed off. In Argos they are spouting off about how they dont fear the gods and how the princess Andromeda is prettier than Aphrodite (its Alexa Davalos, so hey, not that much of an exaggeration), so the gods get really pissed and send down bad-ass Hades (Ralph Fiennes) to threaten them with destruction if they dont sacrifice the royal hottie blah blah blah. The Argosians figure out that Perseus is half-god, so they blame him for all this, and make him go out and fix it. Their plan, as far as I can make out, is to send a bunch of extras from 300 with Perseus to kill Medusa and use her ugly noggin to stop Hades creature the Kraken (of Release the Kraken fame) from going Godzilla on Argos. Oh, yeah, and Gemma Arterton stops by as a truly irritating know-it-all immortal named Io; she continually tells Perseus what to do, since hes apparently not bright enough to figure stuff out. The acting, well, come on, this is a B-movie with A-level effects (unlike the original, which was a B-movie with B-effects); no ones going to win any awards here, its little more than a paycheck to most of these people. That being said, Mads Mikkelsen (he plays some hard ass Argos soldier) is a lot of fun, and seems to be the only one enjoying himself. Worthington is okay, but is mostly there to be pissed off at the gods, and the rest of them Fiennes, Postlewaite, and Zeusicus Maximus Liam Neeson (hey, if Bond can be Scottish, why not a Greek God?) all seem vaguely embarrassed to be here. Arterton is just irritating. The action sequence with the stalking and killing of Medusa is exceptionally well done, from Medusas updated design to the way she slithers around her brokendown lair (though why she was in the Underworld is anyones guess). The character came off as dangerous and threatening, and was very cool. Pity that cant be said

for the rest of the movie. Pegasus comes off kind of flat (come on, we just saw this dude on flying beasts in Avatar, and they were way cooler), and the Kraken (of Release the Kraken fame), well, you know, Harryhausens jerky titan was actually better designed, cooler, and more menacing. This thing just makes a lot of noise and breaks a few digital buildings in Argos. Meh. As these sort of mindless Saturday afternoon things go, Clash is not the worst thing you could do with your time (or money). I wouldnt pay to see it in a theater (and the 3D crap was cheesy and obviously an afterthought); some of the production design was okay (Charon the boatkeeper was suitably creepy), but this is a mindless action film made by people who knew little or nothing about Greek mythology (Zeus wears a suit of chrome plate mail? Really?) and didnt even bother going to Wikipedia to look anything up. Like its creators, Clash is mostly harmless and lazy not embarrassingly bad, but not very good either. April 21, 2010