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clash of the titans

Clash of the Titans
Reviewer: Kyle Retter
Director: Louis Leterrier
Cast: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Flemyng, Gemma Arterton, Alexa Davalos, Mads Mikklesen, Luke Evans

Sam Worthington is having a pretty great year as far as actors go.

He came out of nowhere last June when we were introduced to him in the sub-parTerminator Salvation as a half-man half-machine saving the world from Skynet alongside of Christian Bale.

Then the entire world saw him as Jake Sully in the groundbreaking Avatar, a half-man half Na’vi, who tames the beast and saves Pandora.

To round out the trifecta Mr. Worthington stretches his acting capabilities to the limit, playing Perseus in Clash of the Titans, a half mortal, half God, who tames Pegasus and is destined to save Argon.

Apparently casting agents see something in him.

So how does Worthington fair in his third attempt to save the world?

Well, let’s not put this all on him.

I wanted to like this movie, I truly did. However, I did go into the theatre with lowered expectations; I was not confident that it would hold my attention and keep me entertained. It truly didn’t…even with a head start.

The epic journey of Perseus’ quest to save the Princess and exact his revenge on the Gods who so carelessly took his family from him should jump off the page when read and should be a compelling story to watch on the big screen. While the screenplay may have garnered some smiles from studio execs who recalled growing up with the original, the final product had to leave them feeling betrayed.

There were moments during Clash of the Titans were the CGI looked comparable to the stop-motion of the 1981 original (the scorpions in the desert). Liam Neeson as Zeus looked equally tacky, the light shown off his armor in a way that seemed…out of focus. Maybe in theory that was the thing to do, but I just found it…annoying.

Now lets get real, a $70 million budget wasn’t enough to realize this movie as we can realize it with our imaginations. They should have knocked it down to $30 million, used stop-motion animation, and thrown in some more blood or sex among the Gods, at least then it would have had character, it may have beeninteresting or even risqué.

The set-up of the 2 hour film is trite, followed by cluttered action scenes, expository dialog, more hard to follow action, blah-blah-blah, a lot of walking/riding and a rather lack-luster climax. The whole film builds up to the release of the Kraken but it was no more a spectacle than what I had seen in the trailer.

Aren’t action adventure stories supposed to be fun and suspenseful? I never once thought to myself; “how the hell are they going to get outta this one”? Clash of the Titans was like a really short, bland, Hobbit-less Lord of the Ring trilogy.

At the 15minute mark of the movie the sound cut out for about two seconds. For two seconds I imagined a world were the God’s had had enough with the mortals portraying them with unimaginative CGI tricks and emotionless dialog and abolished all theatergoers to the lobby… for a refund and a voucher for a free popcorn. Then the sound came back on and Sam Worthington said something cliché.

For two seconds, it was like heaven.

My Vote: This could become an 8-year old boys favorite movie…unless he has seen any other action/adventure movie ever made.


clash of the titans

Clash of the Titans
Reviewer: Ricardo Barberini
Director: Louis Leterrier
Cast: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Flemyng, Gemma Arterton, Alexa Davalos, Mads Mikklesen, Luke Evans

The ancient Greeks had this gift for creating convoluted myths about their ancestors and even the ancestors of their enemies.  The most famous of those tales is the story of Helen and the City of Troy followed by the escapades of Hercules.  Then there is Jason and the Argonauts.  Also there is the story of Ulysses. Let’s not forget the Minotaur.  They have all been made into movies.   Perseus is about the adventures of a demigod who  performed many daring deeds and also fathered the race of their neighbor and enemy, the Persians.

The real Greek version of the story,  somewhat parallels to the story of Moses in the Bible.  According to the Greek mythology, Perseus was the son of Zeus (god of gods) and Danae, the daughter of Acrisius, the king of Argos.  An oracle (that is the person who can see the future!)  tells the king that his daughter’s son would slay him.  So Acrisius the king imprisons her to keep her from copulating with any man.  Zeus appears in a shower of gold and impregnates Danae who gives birth to Perseus.  The king, who is too scared to kill the son of Zeus, puts his daughter and the infant Perseus in a box and sets them adrift on the sea. Perseus and Danae are eventually washed ashore and are taken care of by a fisherman.

After coming of age, Perseus being a half-god (demigod) undertakes many ventures.  He is helped in his quests by other gods.  Athena gives him a magical shield; Mercury lends him his sandals so he could fly and a magical sword.

First Perseus hunts down and kills Gorgon the Medusa whose face could turn men into stone.  Gorgon had been a very attractive woman with beautiful hair.  She had decided to defile the gods by mating with Poseidon, the Sea God, in the temple of Athena, the goddess of Wisdom and War. Athena punishes her by turning her into a hideous monster with snakes sprouting from her head. 

After killing the Medusa, on his way back home, he lands in the Kingdom of Ethiopia and uses the head of Gorgon Medusa to Kill the monster Cetus, Kracken, who is threatening the people of that kingdom.  He marries, Andromeda, the daughter of the king of Ethiopia and has five sons and two girls.  The Kingdom of Ethiopia was supposed to be where Lebanon is today, not Africa.

Now comes the Hollywood version. 

Perseus’s mother is actually the wife of some mythical king who is impregnated by Zeus who flies in as an eagle to mate her. The enraged husband sets wife and child adrift.  Perseus is saved by a fisherman and the rest of the story is similar to the ( real?) myth with some logical gaps.

In the movie, the immortals, that is the gods, do not have much of a role. Perseus, repeatedly, refuses the help of his father and other gods.  Also, according to Hollywood,  Gorgon Medusa was an innocent girl who ran for safety to the temple of Athena and was, nevertheless, ravished by Poseidon.  The Hollywood rendition may not be accurate, but  who cares?  It is a story based on a myth! So, it is a myth upon a myth and the producers live happily ever after.

Like many recent Hollywood movies this film, being in 3D, relies heavily on special effects with acting and direction taking second place.  Ralph Fiennes and Liam Neeson are finely honed British and Irish actors.  Sam Worthington, is a new rising star since his success in Avatar.   However, any muscleman down the street, could probably play Perseus as well as Sam can

The director and the producer seem to have focused their efforts on showcasing Sam Worthington as the star for the sake of future sequels.  I would not be too sure of that.   Sam does not know how to act. So far, life has been just a series of lucky breaks for him.

The supporting actors are great and that what makes this movie passable by any standard.  Without them and the special effects the movie would have collapsed horribly.

Almost thirty years ago, the original Clash of the Titans was directed by Desmond Davis.  It starred Lawrence Olivier, probably the greatest actor of the twentieth Century, as Zeus. He headed a star cast that included Harry Hamlin as Perseus, Maggie Smith, Flora Robson and Sian Phillips.  The producer was the great Special Effects magician Ray Harryhausen.   The move was rich in special effects, for its time, but the acting was way above what you get from this lot.  Liam Neesom is a very good actor, but he is no Lawrence Olivier!

Ralph Fiennes as the king of Hades is supposed to be a pathetic underworld god who is trying to scheme his way into overthrowing his brother Zeus and assuming the mantle of the god of gods.

 There are also a lot of undertones about resisting the tyranny of gods and freedom of men to chose their own destiny.  To me it sounds like a message from the 1960’s rather than the 2010’s.

Director Louise Leterrier-Transporter 1 and 2 and Incredible Hulk- will not win any Golden Globes or Academy Awards for this flick but the special effects are quite interesting. 

Having said all that, this movie is still worth seeing in 3D.  We give it starstar1/2 for being entertaining and viewable by all members of the family.