“Clash of the Titans,” a remake of the much loved 1981 Ray Harryhausen stop motion epic, is part history lesson, part Saturday afternoon matinee popcorn flick. Avatar’s Sam Worthington stars as Perseus, the half human, half god made famous by Harry Hamlin in the original film.
In the film’s opening minutes Perseus is rescued from a watery grave by a weathered looking fisherman (Pete Postlethwaite) and his wife (who appears to be at least one hundred years younger than old Pete). Years later, a grown up Perseus (Worthington) witnesses the death of his adopted parents at the hands of Hades (Ralph Fiennes). They are the unfortunate collateral damage of a war between the gods and the aggressive Argos, a warring culture determined to starve the gods of human prayers and thereby diminish their power. Temples are burned, statues toppled in the beginning of their heretical era of “man.” Hades makes a deal with the Argos—if they sacrifice their princess he’ll call off the attack of the dreaded Kraken, the most fearsome creature known to man or god, and save their civilization. Enter Perseus, who, as it turns out is a demigod and the only person alive capable of killing the Kraken and ending the tyranny of the gods. His odyssey is played out amid double crosses and much slow motion.
Like the original the cheese factor is high. Bring Lipitor. There’s so much cheese on screen I could feel my cholesterol levels rising by the minute. From Zeus’s (Liam Neeson in the role originally played by Laurence Olivier) shiny Olympus disco suit to the bad jokes that litter the script it’s an unparalleled cheese fest. It’s also a lot of fun.
After a slow start the action picks up with a battle between some giant not-so-soft-shelled crabs and an exciting show-down between Medusa (complete with a hairdo of snapping snakes) and Worthington and company. The battles with the mythical creatures are a holdover from the original, but where Harryhausen used plaster and steel armatures to bring the creatures to herky jerky life this time around they’re made of binary code. It makes for a bigger spectacle, but are they better? Well, yes, in a way, but they are not as cool as Harryhausen’s handcrafted creations.
Either way the action sequences are a blast but aren’t aided by the murky 3D technology added in post production. In this post “Avatar” world convention Hollywood wisdom says that all action movies must be in 3D, but if this is what retrofitted 3D looks like, no thanks. Other than a bit of depth it doesn’t add anything to the film, except a few extra dollars to the price of the ticket.
“Clash of the Titans” is good cheesy fun that pays homage to the original film.
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