FlixChatter Review: Clash of the Titans

Critics be darned once again! Clash of the Titans defied the dismal review (31% Tomatometer) to soar past $60 million to capture the number 1 box office spot (it’s already earned over 100 mil worldwide). WOW, it surely is kraken-ka-ching for honchos at Warner Bros, as it’ll make up its $125 million production cost quicker than you can say “RELEASE THE KRAKEN!”

My buddies and I saw this in 2D on Saturday afternoon, and glad we only paid 6 bucks for it as it definitely wasn’t worth even a penny more! This is quite disappointing as I’ve been pretty excited about this flick for about a year now, frequently blogging about it, even put it on my Top Ten Most Anticipated 2010 Flicks. Of course I wasn’t expecting an Oscar-caliber flick and knew full well this was going to be a lightweight flick with plenty of action, but still, I was hoping it won’t be THAT vapid and humdrum.

All those visual thrills, loud and bombastic action sequences left me empty, aching for someone, something to actually give a hoot about, but all we get is a reluctant – lackluster is more like it – hero with only two expressions to choose from: anger and despondent, practically nothing in between. Sam Worthington’s performance as Perseus made his Jake Sully character in Avatar look like a worthy Oscar contender! The biggest problem of the movie is definitely the script, so perhaps it’s the fault of the screenwriter to paint such an unsympathetic hero. I mean, if he didn’t seem to give a rat’s ass about fighting the gods (nor saving mankind) in the first place, then why should we?? The only sequence I thought was pretty cool was the Medusa chase and how seamless the special effects was in creating the beautiful but hair-raising (literally!) monster.

If anything though, it certainly sparked a good discussion with my hubby afterwards, we even watched some of the clips of the original on Youtube. So the full review below is courtesy of Ivan, a.k.a Mr. Maramis! 🙂

When it comes to a movie remake – which happens a lot these days with Hollywood’s lack of creativity – you can become a harsher critic, especially when you were quite fond of the original version, no matter how cheesy that movie is (or was). That’s what I experienced when I watched the 2010 Clash of the Titans this past weekend.

I’m not going to elaborate the plot here (that’s what Google is for), but essentially the story centers around Perseus, half man, half god–son of Zeus. The gods have conflict among themselves (that’s what happen when you have more than 1 God), meanwhile human rebels against the gods. Zeus got antsy and eventually decided to RELEASE THE KRAKEN (essentially a humongous godzilla from underwater). Human have the option to either sacrifice Andromeda (a beautiful princess), or kill the Kraken. That’s when Perseus comes in (to kill the Kraken, not to sacrifice Andromeda… just to be clear).

I remember watching the original version as a kid, in awe of the visual effects of all the creatures, Perseus adventure, the occasional humor, and all the action that kept you at the edge of your seat throughout the movie (kid doesn’t really understand storyline, so…). Keep in mind this was all created before CGI era (1981).

Fast forward to 2010. When I saw the trailer, I was so excited. I really had high expectation. After all, with all the technology we have today, fantasy movies like Lord of the Rings can actually be considered as high quality production with excellent story line. Right? And then I saw the movie. 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes later… meh. An hour later, I’m getting even antsier than Zeus is. From there on, I was just staring at the screen hoping for some occasional cool CGI, which is not that spectacular anyway.

So by now you know I’m not too crazy about this remake. And maybe I would’ve had a different experience if I had not ever watched the original version. But even when you compare movie like this to the Lord of the Rings series, Chronicles of Narnia or Gladiator, I still feel this movie falls short. I never got attached to any of the characters and the acting were just flat and even felt lazy. Maybe the only character who I could feel empathy for is Perseus’ earth father. And he was only there for 5 minutes (sorry, spoiler).

Zeus to Perseus: I’m your father!

I mean, c’mon… when Perseus finally found out that he was the son of Zeus, he looked somewhat surprised for like 2 seconds. But then after that, he just looks the same, expressionless throughout the movie. There was this scene before he entered the lair of Medusa (a creature whose hair is made up of snakes, and can turn you into stone if you stare at her eyes), where he supposedly gives a speech of encouragement to a half dozen people who’ve been following him faithfully. And the pep talk didn’t really make you want to root for to good guys even more. Maybe because I didn’t believe the characters relationships are that genuine.

Using Lord of the Rings again as a benchmark: I believed Frodo & Sam friendship is genuine, but not on this one. I believed that the willpower of Sam, Aragorn, and all the people who stand behind Frodo to make sure he fulfills his mission is genuine–but in Clash of the Titans, I feel like the majority of the good guys are just there, waiting for their time to die.

The gods convene in Olympus

Now switching focus to the superior beings–the gods: Heck the clearly-CGI-ed lion in Narnia looks much more charismatic and omnipotent than Liam Neeson’s Zeus, who looks just like a really confused guy w/ bad makeup and botox, wearing something made out of aluminum paper in high-school science project. Again, in the LOTR, when you first see Rivendell (where the superior race Elves live), you believe that superior beings live there. But Olympus, where Zeus and the other gods hang out, looks like a cheap white gazebo with lots of reflective materials, and a really bad miniature of earth in the middle of it. Seriously, Zeus lives here?

Perseus then and now

The story of the remake is quite different than that of the original version. Which is fine by me. Obviously the technology used is much better today than the stop-motion technique used back then. When I watch back the original version in YouTube today, I laugh & cringe because of the production quality, Harry Hamlin’s big 80s hairdo, and the inferior editing technology of the old days. But at least I was still curious enough to sit through and follow Perseus’ perilous journey and the dialog – as cheesy as it was  – actually had a plot. It was still entertaining to watch, more than ‘just for old time’s sake’. As for the 2010 version? Let’s just say I’m glad I didn’t pay for the 3D admission fee. I would’ve been even happier if I just waited until it came out in DVD… maybe even in YouTube one day.

1 out of 5 reels

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18 thoughts on “FlixChatter Review: Clash of the Titans

  1. Husband and wife teaming up on the review. Way to go! 🙂

    Disappointing to hear that it’s not very good but a little bit predictable from the trailer and the fact that they delayed the movie less than a month to convert it to 3D…

    1. Ha..ha.. yeah that’s a first 🙂 I kept bugging him to contribute and since he was quite passionate talking about it, this was a fitting subject for him to do so.

      It really was disappointing, Castor, good thing I listened to the critics this time and not pay the 3D admission fee. I read somewhere that James Cameron thought the 3D conversion was horrid, and he of all people would know that.

  2. I am going to watch this movie next week…not my most anticipated movie tho…Just like to watch all the effects and filling the space till my most anticipated movie arrived in July.

    Let’s see, will I feel the same way as you or not.

    1. Let me know what you think, Novroz, just don’t set your expectation too high 🙂 Let me guess, your anticipated flick, is that Inception??

      1. I’ll stop by this post again once I watched it 🙂

        Hehehe you are 100% right!! I keep waiting for a movie that can stand side by side with one of my all time fav movies, The Matrix, and I have strong feeling that Inception will be that movie and it has Cillian as a bonus.;) plus Leo is there too.

        My last anticipated flick, Shutter Island has lived up to my expectation

        1. I have yet to see Shutter Island, probably when it arrives on DVD I might see it. I’m not a huge fan of Scorsese in general, I think I’ve only seen 2-3 of his films, though I LOVE The Age of Innocence, it’s such a refined and poignant costume drama!

          1. Both Scorsese and Leo were not my reason to watch Shutter Island…the trailler is the reason. The moment I see it I know that this is my kind of psychological thriller.

            I’ve seen Clash today…I don’t think it was that bad…I wouldn’t call it great either…it was a so so movie from the story side. Sam’s act is indeed so bad…but I like the effect and the fighting scene (what can I say? I’m a visual effect freak)…so I quite enjoy the movie.

            My favorite moment is whenever Hades appears with those black clouds around him…that was so cool.

            1. Ah I see. I don’t mind a good psycho thriller and sounds like that is one of them. I’ll check it out on dvd one day.

              Yeah well, the sfx isn’t bad in Clash, but NOT great, and for a movie that has a weak plot and terrible acting (especially from the lead actor!) the sfx has to be spectacular to balance things out. I think Fiennes as Hades is one of the best things in the flix, and yeah the black clouds are pretty darn cool, I agree.

    1. Yeah, just rent this one, Dan, we’d have done the same in hindsight. But at least I didn’t waste more $ on the 3D version like Marshall did, I just commented on his review.

  3. Mike B.

    Ray Harryhausen is having a chuckle I bet. His one-man stop-motion animated low-budget original sounds like it had more heart than this 150 million buck computer generated thing has. I guess Ray’s gonna be 90 here in a bit. Just think, he’s worked with some of the animators that made the original King Kong. Think I’ll avoid this one thank you …

    1. I know, Mike, I was kind of scoffing at it when I saw clips of ’em before I saw this movie, mostly regarding how cheesy the special effects are. But it’s not fair to compare the technology as it was 20 years ago, but at least that one still had some kind of a plot and like you said, had more heart instead of just throwing one mind-numbing combat after another!

  4. rockerdad

    Yeah, the first Clash had a lot of charm – given that Hamlin himself wasn’t cherished by any means. But the whole Harryhausen touch (and Laurence Olivier!) really gave it something every 10 year old got excited about. I’ve been seeing some broadcasts of Jason and the Argonauts and the Sinbad trilogy on Turner Classic. While the protagonists in no way earned my emotional strings, Ray Harryhausen’s effects really stimulated the imagination. I feel like I’m 10 again when seeing his films.

    1. Yeah, I have respect for the guy now. I mean, Hamlin might’ve been an odd casting choice but Olivier and Maggie Smith more than made up for that. I think the fact that he was able to inspire and stimulate people’s imagination was definitely kudos-worthy. This one only inspire you to get your money back!!

  5. “I’m not going to elaborate the plot here” and “I’m glad I didn’t pay for the 3D admission fee” a flippant or sarcastic person may suggest you aren’t elaborating on the plot because there wasn’t one and that paid extra for the 3D version the only place you would have noticed would have been in your wallet, certainly not on the screen.

    1. Ha…ha… you’re right about the plot (or complete lack thereof). When the only 3D you notice is in your wallet, that’s definitely a bad sign. Yes, glad I listened to the critics this time about seeing it in 2D.

  6. I was a big fan of the campy 80’s version. That one had heart. I was going to see it this weekend, but I’m starting to feel pretty talked out of it by everyone. Seems like another case of the trailer being better than the actual film.

    1. That’s exactly how I feel, Heather, the trailer was sooo promising. I know they’re supposed to be far more enticing than the actual film – that’s what advertising is all about – but this is just ridiculous. Save your money and just rent this one instead. I should’ve just gone to see ‘Train your dragon’ instead after reading your review!

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