Monday, April 5, 2010

Movie Review: Clash of the Titans

Clash of the Titans *
Directed by:
Louis Leterrier.
Written By: Travis Beacham and Phil Hay & Matt Manfredi based on the screenplay by Beverley Cross.
Starring: Sam Worthington (Perseus), Liam Neeson (Zeus), Ralph Fiennes (Hades), Jason Flemyng (Calibos / Acrisius), Gemma Arterton (Io), Alexa Davalos (Andromeda), Tine Stapelfeldt (Danae), Mads Mikkelsen (Draco), Luke Evans (Apollo), Izabella Miko (Athena), Liam Cunningham (Solon), Hans Matheson (Ixas), Ashraf Barhom (Ozal), Mouloud Achour (Kucuk), Ian Whyte (Sheikh Sulieman), Nicholas Hoult (Eusebios), Vincent Regan (Kepheus), Polly Walker (Cassiopeia), Luke Treadaway (Prokopion), Pete Postlethwaite (Spyros), Elizabeth McGovern (Marmara), Alexander Siddig (Hermes), Danny Huston (Poseidon).

If nothing else, Clash of the Titans proves that if you are going to make a 3-D movie, then you damn well better spend time and money to fully utilize the process. The 3-D effects in this movie are absolutely horrid – they make everything look kind of blurry and shiny. There is little reason to doubt the reports that said the movie was shot for 2-D and had the 3-D effects added later. They do not work at all. If you’re going to use 3-D, then you need to do what James Cameron did in Avatar, and take the time, effort and money to do them properly – otherwise what is the point?

The 3-D is not the only problem is Clash of the Titans though. Even if I had seen it in 2-D, it still would have gotten a horrible rating. The film is poorly written, directed and acted throughout. The basic outline of the story makes it sound like a rollicking sword and sandals epic. Perseus (Sam Worthington), is the son of Zeus and a human woman. He is raised by a couple who finds him floating in a coffin alongside his dead mother. Years later, the Gods, including Zeus, are angry with humans, who do not worship them the way they once did. Zeus (Liam Neeson) agrees to let Hades (Ralph Fiennes) unleash fury upon the humans if they do not change their ways. They have a week to either sacrifice the beautiful Andromeda (Alexa Davalos) or face the Kraken. Only Perseus, furious with his father, can beat the Kracken. Perseus, and his merry band of men, set out to find what they will need to beat the horrific Kracken.

As Sam Worthington proved in last year’s Terminator Salvation and Avatar, he is not the most expressive actor in the world. He is rather bland and generic in his roles, and he is here as well. It certainly doesn’t help that the screenplay doesn’t give him any interesting lines to say – they are all a variation on how pissed he is at the Gods, and how they will pay for what they have done. The rest of the men who join him on his journey are pretty much nameless, faceless drones. I could barely recognize such great actors like Mads Mikkelsen (so great as the villain in Casino Royale) or Liam Cunningham (the sensitive priest in Hunger), let alone begin to tell you who their characters are, or what their purpose is. With Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes as Zeus and Hades, you would be forgiven for thinking that the movie had at least some good roles for these two fine actors – but it doesn’t. Neither of them are given anything interesting to do either – and Neeson is reduced to playing the kind of benevolent mentor we have seen in movies like Gangs Of New York, Batman Begins and Kingdom of Heaven, whereas Fiennes simply tries to do Voldemort in bad makeup and a wig.

Perhaps many of these sins could be forgiven if the movie had decent action sequences, or was entertaining enough for us to overlook its flaws. It doesn’t. Directed by Louis Leterrier, who has had a spotty career directing crap like Transporter 2 alongside decent movies like the underrated Unleashed with Jet Li, Clash of the Titans has action sequences that don’t make a lot of sense and serve to only add more confusion to the mix. Who are these people fighting, and why are they fighting? Where do all these scorpions come from? And why does Medusa look so hideously fake? Even the final battle against the Kracken lacks any real excitement or drama.

Clash of the Titans was obviously made to try and please the same audience that made 300 a huge hit a few years ago, and then they decided to add 3-D effects in to try and cash in on Avatar. It find it impossible to believe that fans of either of those movies will be satisfied by this horrid movie.

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