At least Sam's skivvies don't make a cameo
Clash of the Titans
Directed by Louis Leterrier
Starring Sam Worthington, Ralph Fiennes, Liam Neeson, Lots of CGI
Goes well with: Avatar, Jason and the Argonauts, Clash of the Titans (1981)
When it comes to the box office, there's no greater god right now than Sam Worthington. He was the lead in last summer's Terminator: Salvation, and, of course, fronted Avatar, James Cameron's groundbreaking good-enough movie that's now the highest-grossing film of all time. But even gods have to die, and Worthington's quality cred takes a major hit with the remake of the 1981, um, classic Clash of the Titans.
In this one, which opens Friday, April 2, Worthington plays the Greek hero Perseus, a demigod raised by a simple fisherman (Pete Postlethwaite), who saved him from death and gave him a work ethic, the ability to deliver inspired speeches and, apparently, the only Gillette to be found in ancient Greece, since everyone else sports terrible facial hair. Perseus' voice is a strange accent of leather and Australia, and when someone finally asks him “Who's your daddy?” it turns out the answer is Zeus (a really smug Liam Neeson).
Anyway, Perseus hates the gods, because his family got between Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and the King of Argos, who has declared war on Mount Olympus. Soon, Hades vows to unleash the Kraken (sea monsters) on Argos unless the king sacrifices his daughter, the goody-two-shoes Andromeda (Alexa Davalos), forcing Perseus, his escort Draco (Mads Mikkelsen) and a collection of red-shirts to fulfill several quests that would be better taken on by Hercules, or maybe Xena. Then there's lots of walking. And some fighting. And some Muppet-looking mystical creatures. There's also some bullshit sibling rivalry between Zeus and Hades and some ridiculousness about Perseus wanting to accomplish all this as a man and not a god—which, of course, just gets a lot of men who aren't half-gods killed.
If it sounds like I'm not enthusiastic, that's because the new Clash of the Titans is both terrible and boring. Hell, it feels like it's only a matter of time before Hades laughs to himself and says “Stupid humans,” since Fiennes is dressed like John Travolta in Battlefield Earth. Neeson as Zeus resembles little more than a '78-era Cylon, and Mount Olympus, the home of the gods, is just some shiny place where the immortals stand around waiting for someone to ask them to dance.
It's not just the plotting. It's not just the acting. It's not just the dialogue. It's poorly made. The direction and the camera work are erratic and inconsistent. It's impossible to tell what's going on during the fight scenes, and the handicam shots during the group scenes are awkward and dizzying. To top it off, the 3-D just sucks. It isn't immersive, it lends nothing to the story or the movie and it makes the action scenes even more chaotic. Many of the effects, too, feel like they're straight out of Pirates of the Caribbean. The ride, not the movies. Sure, there's a Pegasus that's pretty well done, but didn't we just see Worthington flying around on a much cooler creature in Avatar? At the very least, though, they managed to cover up Perseus' panties, which can almost be seen under his skirt in several fast-moving action sequences.
The only redeeming feature of the script is that there's no standard love story, no extraneous, unnecessary hook-up. Oh wait—there totally is, and if you spend any time thinking about it, it's really creepy.
Look, the original (and, yes, there's a very small nod to those who remember the original) isn't very good, either, but at least it has camp value. Louis Letterier's new movie takes itself too seriously, desperately trying to be an epic when it's just a crappy remake of a cheeseball '80s flick. Now, I know, a movie like this is supposed to be critic-proof. But as Perseus' father tells him, and as he tells his men, and as I'm telling you, someday, someone will have to make a stand. Someday, someone will have to say “Enough!” If, for once, you're willing to listen to the gods—or just to me—this will be that day.
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