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

Upcoming Flix Spotlight: Clash of the Titans Featurette & The Bounty Hunter Set Photos

A couple of updates on two upcoming movies I’ll be seeing this Spring.

First, we’ve got the Clash of the Titans‘ new behind-the-scene featurette. I saw the TV spot during Chuck last night and boy, I’m really psyched to see this! Don’t know about you, but every time I see Perseus riding his horse into the sunset with the camp 80s rock music blazing just gets me going! 🙂 It’s the kind of movie I just want to enjoy for the special effects and the story/acting is icing on the cake, you know, it’s not a ‘historical project’ by any means as Sam Worthington points out, and that’s totally fine by me. Like Zeus… er, Liam Neeson says, “it’s going to be incredible entertainment!”

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Directed by Louis Leterrier (The Incredible Hulk), the Greek mythology tale centers on Perseus, a man born of a god and raised as a man who is helpless to save his family from Hades (Ralph Fiennes), vengeful god of the underworld. With nothing left to lose, Perseus volunteers to lead a dangerous mission to defeat Hades before he can seize power from Zeus (Liam Neeson) and unleash hell on earth.

You can see the first featurette I posted a while back and the full trailer on my top ten list. The lineup in this flix is impressive as well. Worthington, Neeson and Fiennes are joined by the largely European cast of  Danny Huston, Gemma Arterton, Mads Mikkelsen, Jason Flemyng, Alexa Davalos, Izabella Miko, Nicholas Hoult, and Pete Postlethwaite. It’s set to arrive on April 2nd, a week later than its original release date as it’ll be distributed in 3D. Not sure that one week is enough time to do the digital conversion, but perhaps it just doesn’t want to compete with Dreamworks’ How to Train Your Dragon animated feature (also in 3D) out on March 26. In any case, release the Kraken already, I’m ready for some rollicking good time with this fun action adventure flick!

Courtesy of Chris Gampat

And thanks to GBGals via Twitter, I found this photographer’s blog who shared his photos of Gerard Butler on the set of The Bounty Hunter. Here’s what he has to say about the actor:

I admire Gerard though. Not only because he’s a confident, talented and respectable young man in the industry. But Gerard gave me perhaps my first pleasant experience shooting a celebrity. He didn’t have loads of guards blocking him and he acted, well, like a normal human being. He was very down to earth and even talked to some of the on-lookers. It seemed that he even tried to pose for the camera at times. You can see those in the compilation shots of him in the opening photo.

He didn’t seem like the diva-types that require you to not even walk on the same side of the curb as them. That was nice to know.

You can read more about his experience as a celebrity photographer on Chris Gampat’s blogThanks for letting me post it here, Chris!

As for the movie itself, I’ll probably still see it because of Butler. It looks like fun at least, it’ll get me my Butler ‘fix’ until Ralph Fiennes’ Coriolanus comes out hopefully later this year. Besides, surely this can’t be much worse than The Ugly Truth, that one’s barely worth a rental! Check out the trailer here, the movie’s set for wide release on March 19.

This Just In: Clash of the Titans Teaser Trailer

I must’ve been asleep all day yesterday that I completely missed this. The YouTube clip has been yanked off but luckily AOL still got it. Check it out below:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Well, well, well, that was one heck of an action-pack teaser. I’ve been waiting for this one ever since I saw the whimsical on-set featurette a couple of months ago. Initially, the teaser makes my head spin with all the mishmash of scenes jumping at me at unrelenting pace. But on second and third viewing, I actually quite like it. It’s as kick-ass as one would expect from a flix like this. Definitely enough to wet my appetite for the movie — which is what a teaser is supposed to do — before they come up with an in-depth version that reveal the story more and introduce the characters (for those unfamiliar with the story, check out my previous post on this topic). Sam Worthington as Perseus clearly looks believable as an action hero, unlike say Jake Gyllenhaal in Prince of Persia.

The comparison to previous swords & sandals flicks are to be expected given the subject matter, but I don’t think the similarities extend beyond the visual style and color tones. Here’s what Worthington said in the Empire’s cover feature article: “This is not what people originally thought, another 300. This is a romp. We’ve been trying to make it funnier. Originally they were saying, it’s gonna be gritty like Gladiator; dirty and brutal. It is dirty, but only because we’re in a mud mine! It’s gonna be fun. It’s gonna be buoyant.” Director Louis Leterrier (The Incredible Hulk) addedIt’s a family movie.” So based on that, we can safely guess the rating is going to be PG-13, and more in the vein of Iron Man than Gladiator. In that same article, Worthington also assured us that “we’re not in f-in’ Harryhausen mode anymore.” Now I haven’t seen that one other than the various clips here and there, so I can’t compare it other than to say I’m glad the stop-motion stuff is gone, as well as the cheesy lock of Harry Hamlin.

If I could pick on something, it’s the hard rock/heavy metal music playing in the background. They obviously went with the Nine Inch Nails type music in 300 (which worked really well), than the ethereal-sounding one in Gladiator. Who knows, maybe it’s intentional that the modern rock music ‘clashes’ with the ancient greek visuals? Beats me, but I’m not digging it. And another thing, what is up with the lame tagline?! TITANS … WILL… CLASH? Forget corny, it’s just downright retarded. Oh well, let’s hope they get it right in the actual trailer.

Final thoughts: The geek in me is still pumped to see this one come next March, but then again I’m a sucker for Greek mythology stuff. The flix also boast a great cast: Liam Neeson is Zeus, Ralph Fiennes is Hades; as well as Vincent Regan, Mads Mikkelsen and Gemma Arterton. Let the battle begin!

Flixchatter’s Most Anticipated Movies of 2010 – revised

Flixchatter's

I posted my top ten anticipated 2010 movies list back in early September. After some consideration, I’ve decided to remove Valentine’s Day. I know one can’t judge a movie from its trailer, but something about it just screams bland and vanilla to me despite its all-star cast (or because of it?). In any case, The Rum Diary should’ve been on this list all along anyway, as I’d rather spend my ten bucks seeing that than a rom-com any day!

1. Clash of the Titans (March 26th, 2010)
As a fan of swords/sandals flicks, this one looks like it’s going to kick lots of @$$! Haven’t seen the original but hope this is more  in the vein of Gladiator and Sam Worthington’ll be the hottest Aussie import since Russell Crowe.

2. War of Gods (July 16th, 2010 TBD – see updated news)
Two people involved in this movie got me excited: Tarsem Singh who did the marvelous The Fall, and Henry Cavill, who finally got the lead role after failing to bag Bond/Superman/Batman/Twilight‘s Edward roles all in the last 5 years!! Under Singh direction, it’d be visually breathtaking for sure, and methink Tinseltown could use a brand new leading man, so I sure hope Cavill delivers!

3. Inception (July 16th, 2010)
Christopher Nolan is probably the only director whose movies I’ll always watch. Ever since the groundbreaking Memento, he’s consistently done great work. Even his so-so flick like The Prestige was still far better than most. Inception is promised to be a contemporary sci-fi thriller about a CEO involved in a blackmailing scandal — and the rather bizarre & mysterious teaser trailer gets me even more fired up about it.

4. Toy Story 3 (June 18th, 2010)
Woody, Buzz and the toy gang were hugely entertaining in the first two, and judging from its trailer, they’d be just as fun in their third outing. Michael Keaton joins the cast as the voice of Ken, Barbie’s boyfriend. John Lasseter passed the directing torch to Lee Unkrich this time, who was the co-director for Finding Nemo and Monsters, Inc., so we should expect the same quality craftmanship.

5. Iron Man 2 (May 7th, 2010)
This movie actually surpassed my expectation, as I was snickering (in a bad way) when I first saw the trailer. It’s now become one of my top 10 favorite super hero flicks and mostly because of Robert Downey Jr.’s performance. Mickey Rourke is scorching hot right now after The Wrestler, so I’m curious to see how he’s milking his comeback.

6. Rum Diary (TBD, 2010)
I blogged about this back in July with the on-set pics in Puerto Rico. Johnny Depp in an adventure drama is enticing enough, throw in Aaron Eckhart and it’s definitely a must-see in my book. I’m not a huge fan of the Pirates series so it’s nice to see Depp look like himself and the morality tale story line is definitely intriguing.

7. Robin Hood (May 14th, 2010)
Russell Crowe teams up again with Riddley Scott, which always brings back memory of the glorious Gladiator. I wish they had stuck with the original idea of making the Sheriff of Nottingham as the main character (see my previous post) but I’m still curious to see how this pan out. Plus, I love Cate Blanchett so I’m glad she’d be Maid Marian instead of Sienna Miller.

8. The Town (September 10th, 2010)
Ben Affleck is back in the director’s chair again in his second feature film since the excellent Gone Baby Gone. The crime thriller is set in Boston (Affleck’s hometown) which centers in a love triangle between a female bank manager, a longtime thief who stole more than her heart, and an equally smitten FBI agent trying to bust the crook and his gang before they can pull another big job. Affleck plays the thief opposite Mad Men‘s Jon Hamm as the agent. The plot sounds ok but I’d love to see these two hunky leading men square off on screen. Oh, and did I mention Chris Cooper is in it, too? Great character actor I haven’t seen in a while.

9. Leaves of Grass (April 2, 2010)
I blogged about this back in July when it was announced it’d premiere at TIFF. Edward Norton playing two very different characters is enough to get me interested, but according to IMDB, he was ‘so desperate to star in this movie that he took a pay cut, stating in an interview that he “actually got paid half what I usually make”‘ Hmmm, what is it about this role that is worth half his pay? I’m eager to find out!

10. Edge of Darkness (January 29th, 2010)
Mel Gibson’s been absent from the acting business ever since the unexpected blockbuster The Passion of the Christ. I quite like him as an actor so I welcome his comeback. In this dark thriller, he plays homicide detective Thomas Craven who investigates the death of his activist daughter. He uncovers not only her secret life, but a corporate cover-up and government collusion that attracts an agent tasked with cleaning up the evidence. Martin Campbell who successfully revived the Bond series with the hugely entertaining Casino Royale is at the helm. I never tire of a smart, solid thriller, and this one just might fit into that category.

Added 1/4/10
Honorable mentions:

Time Traveling with Sam Worthington

Sam Worthington’s got to be the most enviable young actor working today. Though he’s not exactly a novice acting-wise, most US audiences have only seen him recently in Terminator Salvation. Yet, instead of working his way up in supporting roles or ensemble cast type of stuff, Hollywood readily entrusts him to be the next big leading man. Thanks to James “Titanic” Cameron who entrusts him to carry a 200 million blockbuster on his shoulders, offers keep pouring in for the 33-year-old actor. Within the next 12 months alone, he’s set to star in five feature films — two of them huge blockbusters — with meaty roles ranging from period/futuristic pieces to classic drama/thrillers. Now, I haven’t even seen any of his films, other than the trailers and clips of TS & Avatar, but from what I’ve seen so far I can definitely say this guy’s got the manly presence and charisma of a real movie star. Just read his interview with Esquire and tell me if he isn’t the next Aussie brute force since Russell Crowe. Some people may call him arrogant, like they did Crowe, but I say he’s got panache. I have no problem with that, especially if he’s got talent to burn.

Worthington as Perseus and Jake Sully
All armored-up as Perseus and CGI-ed in blue as Jake Sully

In any case, Worthington’s been doing some time traveling lately since his stint in the futuristic world of Terminator. In Avatar, he’s once again transported to a distant future, and next year in Clash of the Titans, he’ll be going back in time to ancient Greece to fight the gods as Perseus. A new batch of stills from two of the most anticipated films have just been released. UK film mag EMPIRE is featuring Clash on the cover (which means I got to make a stop at Barnes & Noble this weekend), and you can see all the photos on their website. He totally resembles Crowe in some of the poses, and the costumes looks somewhat similar to Gladiator as well. As for Avatar, FirstShowing has six new hi-res photos on their site. WOW, the intricate details of the images are quite amazing. As I said in my previous post about Avatar day, this is the kind of movie to fully experience in 3D.

Worthington with Jessica Chastain in The Debt

This busy dude isn’t taking any break any time soon —  but when you get offers like he does, why would you? — he’s got two more flicks out in 2010 that is currently in production. One is a thriller set in the mid 1960s called The Debt, which reminds me a bit like Spielberg’s Munich, about a rebel Israeli Mossad agent hunting down a notorious Nazi war criminal. But before you label him the Aussie action hero, he aims to prove he’s got range by starring in a romantic drama Last Night — a love triangle with Keira Knightley and Eva Mendez, heh, that’s a dreamy gig even for an established actor! He’s even got yet two more flicks slated for 2011, The Candidate (about a DA blackmailed for murder of his one-night-stand). Worthington instead opted to star in – and produce — The Last Days of American Crime. According to MTV blog, the movie takes place in the near future where the U.S. government is about to implement a new technology that will make it impossible for anyone to commit a crime. Worthington will portray Kevin Cash, a safe-cracker recruited by a career criminal who may be a dangerously unstable sociopath.

Whew, I’m exhausted just listing all the projects this guy’s got going. The roles seem pretty diverse, I don’t know how he keeps it all straight! I sure hope Avatar is a good one, but if not, his career is probably going to remain unscathed. Well, with a decade-worth of projects in just the next couple of years, he’ll still be riding his success for a while now.


Thoughts on Sam Worthington? What’s your favorite of his film so far?

LAC and Clash of the Titans Featurettes

I love behind-the-scenes stuff, those are almost as much fun as the movie itself. It’s also a great marketing tool that big studios are obviously aware of. That’s why Law Abiding Citizen director’s uses Twitter to send links to making-of videos, including the latest one on the scoring session with composer Brian Tyler:

If you look closely, you could get a glimpse of some of the scenes playing in the background, albeit a bit fuzzy. So far, I’m impressed with the score and how involved F. Gary Gray is with the entire production.

Cinematical revealed the final poster, which is a rework from the teaser posters but with some added grainy effect and a splash of color. The site also said some good things about the vigilante story, “…the sheer breadth of its explosiontastic search for justice – which looks like Die Hard: With a Vengeance swallowed Ransom, Death Sentence, and Se7en – is enough to draw a new line in the vigilante sand.” This definitely makes me even more pumped to see the movie!

I also found Clash of the Titans set-visit featurette from MTV news that gives a glimpse of the filming in Wales (in the rain!), as well as interview snippets with main actors Sam Worthington, Mads Mikkelsen and Gemma Arterton. One of my top ten anticipated movies of next year, it could be the next Gladiator in scope and popularity. Greek mythology is always an interesting subject matter, and I for one loves swords & sandals flicks that promises lots of action and dramatic scenes.

The video offers a brief glimpse of what director Louis Leterrier (Hulk) has in store for us. It’s cool to see the actors goofing off and seemingly having a darn good time on the set, too. Take a look:

Battle of the Greek Mythologies: Theseus vs. Perseus

Cavill's Theseus vs. Worthington's Perseus
Cavill's Theseus vs. Worthington's Perseus

I brought up the remake of Clash of the Titans a couple of weeks ago, and I just learned recently that Hollywood is releasing a very similar genre flick called War of the Gods at around the same time next year. Clash will be out first in Spring, and War in late Summer/early Fall. (See my updated post regarding release date and casting info)

Ok now, I don’t quite get the strategy behind this (if there’s any), I’d imagine they’d be eating out of each other’s box office take? In any case, the leads of both flix are largely unknown (Aussie Sam Worthington and Brit Henry Cavill), which makes it all the more interesting. Sam Worthington was probably the more recognizable of the two, having been in Terminator Salvation this past May, whilst Henry’s been doing Showtime’s The Tudors for the last 3 seasons (more on him in a bit).

At first glance, looks like Clash would have the edge too, with the all-star cast that includes Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes. But War is directed by Indian native Tarsem Singh, whose last film The Fall was so visually stunning it took my breath away. Under his direction, it could very well have a distinctive flavor that’ll stand out above the rest of the pack. Having Henry Cavill as the lead can’t hurt, either.

Ok, regarding Henry, I’ve been watching this guy’s career ever since I saw him in The Count of Monte Cristo. I was working on featuring him on my blog in regards to him being dubbed the ‘most unlucky man in Hollywood’ by EMPIRE magazine, but The Playlist beat me to it. No matter, it was a great article that exemplifies how much this talented guy’s been overlooked time and time again! I mean, he’s been passed over for not one but FOUR iconic roles: James Bond, Superman, Batman (for The Dark Knight) and Edward in Twilight (despite him being Stephanie Meyer’s first choice). It’s probably a blessing in disguise regarding the last role, he’s too good to be trapped in a teenybopper’s flix like that for years (sorry Twilight fans!). I’d rather he mixes things up, doing indie films as well as big studio fares. I wouldn’t be opposed to him doing Bond once Daniel Craig’s contract is up though. He’ll be the right age then and being tall, dashing, British, and with charisma to boot, what else do you ask for? The Dunhill fashion house obviously recognized that. Check out his Dunhill fragrance commercial. Can you say, Bond, James Bond? Fingers-crossed War of the Gods will finally put him on the Tinseltown map the way 300 did for Gerry Butler.

Back to the flix in question, I’d be curious to see how these two play out next year. I love Greek mythology stuff, so I definitely be watching both of them. Let the battles begin, on-screen and off!