A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Clash of the Titans (2010)

November 9, 2010

Clash of the Titans (2010)

Aside from the title, the Kraken and some of the character names from the 1981 movie this one bears very little resemblance to its forebearer. I kind of thought as we put this in tonight that I knew what I was going to be watching. I thought it was going to be the same basic movie as yesterday, but with modern big-budget effects. In truth it bears more resemblance to the God of War series of games – but with a slightly less unlovable hero.

The core quest – to slay Medusa and use her head to stop the Kraken from destroying a city and save Andromeda remains the same, but all the motivations have been changed around, and the mythology is far crazier than even in the first movie. Right from the beginning it’s established that there’s some big conflict between the gods and mankind in this movie. Humans are sick of being playthings for the gods and have decided to just stop worshiping them. Perseus’ adoptive father Pete Postlethwaite says that men have “declared war” on the gods when he sees a giant statue of Zeus being toppled into the sea, but really it’s more like men have just kind of decided it’s too much bother all that burning sacrificial cows and whatnot and are kind of hoping if they ignore the gods that the gods will just leave like unwelcome party guests. Of course they go too far and start bragging about how they’re the gods now, which kind of upsets the big folks on Mt. Olympus.

Then things get even more muddy. It seems that Hades has a plot to depose Zeus by forcing people to fear him, thus depriving Zeus of his worshipers. It’s like the writers of this movie learned everything they know about Greek mythology from the Disney Hercules movie. I don’t actually recall much quarreling between Zeus and Hades in the myths. Most of the time it was Zeus and Poseidon (who here is played by some guy who REALLY wants to be Brian Blessed, but only gets about two lines.) Or Zeus and his jealous wife Hera – because he was always sleeping around with mortals. Hades was the quiet guy with his own entire kingdom to rule who fed pomegranates to visiting princesses or something. I never got the sense that he was dissatisfied with his lot aside from maybe being a little lonely.

Anyhow – Hades is going to release the Kraken (who in this version was a tool used to defeat the Titans who begot the gods.) He gives the people of Argos (which in this movie has not been destroyed already) the choice of letting their city be destroyed or sacrificing their princess Andromeda. Our lumpy hero Perseus in this movie doesn’t really care either way. He arrives in Argos all pissed off because he has just seen Hades kill his entire adoptive family in retribution for the destruction of Zeus’ statue – which they didn’t even participate in. We can tell he’s the hero because he’s the only man in all of Greece who doesn’t have tragically awful hair – everybody else has sort of dreded out braids but he has a buzz cut. Anyhow, he doesn’t give a damn about Argos or about Andromeda (who seems like a nice enough girl who is fully willing to sacrifice herself to save her people) and he’s not too thrilled to find out that he’s the son of a god. Along comes Io – who here is the scrappy female companion and romantic interest for Perseus – and she somehow convinces him that if he doesn’t get off his ass and make with the quest ting this whole movie is for nothing, so he becomes a reluctant hero and along with a rag-tag band of lovable caricatures who are clearly doomed he sets off. There’s the laconic old guy, the gawping new recruit, the bitter commander who only wants to spit in the eyes of the gods, a couple of local hunters for comic relief and a bunch of cannon fodder besides.

You know what? Who cares about the plot. The motivations aren’t there, the hero can’t decide if he wants to be a hero and has this complex about being just a simple fisherman, the entire conflict between Zeus and Hades seems contrived and the “romance” between Io and Perseus seems almost laboured. Perseus has absolutely no reason to want to save Argos so it’s odd that he just keeps on going through all these obstacles to do it. After the group on their quest defeat some giant scorpions in a big action set piece a bunch of undead Djin show up and I had to just throw my hands up in submission. Now it seems that this God of War inspired Clash of the Titans movie is throwing in stuff from the most recent Prince of Persia game – it’s just silly. After a while I just stopped caring about anything in the movie except for the action scenes, and maybe that was what the creators intended. The action scenes are fun, I suppose. There’s the scorpions and there’s Medusa, and there’s the climactic chase scene through the streets of Argos with Pegasus and a bunch of flying demon-things that have stolen Medusa’s head, and there’s the Kraken, which is big and breaks a lot of stuff. It’s nice to look at, I suppose, but when you don’t really care about anybody involved it loses some of its impact.

Ultimately I feel like this movie is simply forgettable. It’s a soulless effects laden summer blockbuster with none of the charm or heart of the movie it was based upon. It will be remembered mostly as a footnote. Its most memorable feature I suppose was that it started a sad trend of slapping 3-D effects onto a movie in post production at a time when 3-D was perceived as being the next big thing in cinemas. (Don’t get me wrong – I love 3-D movies and fully intend to get a 3-D television in the next couple years, but post-production fiddling is absolutely the wrong way to go about it.) Amanda tells me now that there’s a sequel to this in pre-production. I hope it involves an ash-covered bald Spartan and his quest to kill his father Zeus… or maybe time travel and steampunk robots – at this point I’d believe they’d throw in just about anything.

November 9, 2010 - Posted by | daily reviews | , , , , , ,

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