Monday, April 5, 2010

Clash of the Titans (2010) Movie Review

Humans scratch away at the barren lands under the shadow of immortal beings who know no pain or suffering and demand unwavering worship. When men scream toward the heavens in protest, they are smacked to the ground. When the armies of man launch a campaign of defiance against Zeus himself, the god allows Hades to issue an ultimatum. Sacrifice the princess of Argos, or the Kraken will be set loose on the world! WHO will save them? Legend tells of a man with a shaved head and Australian accent who will lead a dour band of soldiers on a quest for the one weapon that will slay the Kraken. If Hollywood has taught us anything in the last year, it’s that Sam Worthington is the savior of us all.

When attempting to remake any movie, you come up against the fans of the original. When remaking Clash of the Titans, you also face the added wrath of the fans who revere the work of the great Ray Harryhausen above and beyond the original film itself. On one hand, stop-motion animation is extremely antiquated and could be easily surpassed in a “Wow Factor” scenario. Another viewpoint is that stop-motion animation is timeless, making any scene instantly more awesome with the addition of little puppets poised to battle and/or eat humankind. Whatever side you may be on, all the Clash redux would have to do to capture the imagination of a whole new age is deliver fantastic monsters attempting to devour characters we give a damn about. Unfortunately, Clash 2010 fails at both.

Clash of the Titans (2010)For reasons unknown to us, the men of Argos learn that Perseus (Worthington) is a demigod (half man/half god) and, therefore, the only being who stands a chance of killing the colossal Kraken. The film then introduces us to the scrappy band of misfits charged with accompanying Perseus on his quest, the bulk of whom do their best to provide comic relief to incessant speeches about man’s disgust of the gods. *Cue Worthington’s now trademark anguished howl* "DAAAAAMN YOUUUUU, ZEUUUUUUS"! Clash even stacks the deck with two scruffy assassins who are obviously introduced for wacky antics, and the duo are great at their jobs but inexplicably quit the fight early in the movie with nary a joke to send them off. Odd.

Thirty-two one-liners later (all of which fall flat), and we are no closer to caring about any characters except maybe for Io (Arterton), who is cursed with looking hot for all eternity. To make matters worse, every spectacle the film has to offer (which we’ve already seen in the ten plus clips and nearly one hundred stills showing it all that have popped up online) is introduced with the artistic eye one might see on "The Deadliest Catch" when one of the fishermen holds a giant crab aloft in triumph. The best effect of the movie is no doubt the scene stealing Pegasus, the black winged horse. Medusa comes off looking like a high quality comic book drawing, the Kraken is less than awe inspiring, and the giant scorpions may as well have been stop-motion puppets. At one point in the flick we see a giant claw next to one of the warriors, and I swear it swayed like a puppet on strings. "Thunderbirds" are GO!

Clash of the Titans (2010)Rather than offering viewers anything resembling emotionally driven content to hold their attention during the ill explained conflict we're being treated to, the film instead attempts to replace tension and feeling with overly charismatic characters. Unfortunately, there are none here. Our band of warriors seem to have no love for each other so why should we bother to care about them? Of course, there is the forced relationship between Io and Perseus, which is painfully obvious from her first appearance, but even that fails to exact the pulling of any heartstrings.

I couldn’t help thinking that maybe I might be too jaded as I watched giant monsters battle ancient warriors and still found every scene tiresome. Would this blow the mind of some little kid? Maybe so, but I am an adult who has been looking forward to this film since day one. Why am I slowly ... falling ... asleep? It should be noted that I watched Clash in 2D, thereby sparing myself the annoyance of shaky imagery converted to 3D, but the thought of any scene playing better because monster phalanges are being thrown at our heads is fairly inconceivable. Clash of the Titans is a dull, uninspired mess with the emotional depth of a Sid and Marty Kroft TV special. Wait for this on DVD and use it to keep the kids amused in between episodes of "Sponge Bob Square Pants".

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