CLASH OF THE TITANS (2010) MOVIE REVIEW
The original “Clash of the Titans” released in 1981 had such a huge impact on me as a child that I immediately devoured everything pertaining to Greek mythology. Ray Harryhausen’s imaginative stop-motion animation may look archaic now, but back then, it opened a whole new world to children like me.
Yet for all its gods and monsters pomp and circumstance, the original “Clash of the Titans” starring Harry Hamlin as Perseus was loveably cheesy and campy. So I’ve always thought that the film would benefit from a remake. I was wrong.
The new “Clash of the Titans” has all the necessary ingredients to become an engaging mythical adventure. The film has eye-popping special effects and Ralph Fiennes stealing scenes as the god of the underworld, Hades.
The one main element that the new film lacks is the most important component in this genre, and that is magic. If the old “Clash of the Titans” was magical and pure, then the new version is second-rate with a bigger budget.
Propelling audiences into the “Clash of the Titans” world is Sam Worthington. The “Terminator Salvation” and “Avatar” star steps into Hamlin’s sandals as Perseus, the demigod that is destined to save the city of Argos and its Princess Andromeda (Alexa Davalos).
When his family dies from one of Hades’ attacks, Perseus volunteers to lead a dangerous mission to defeat the vengeful god. What Hades really wants is to steal the thunder from Zeus (Liam Neeson in a thankless role) and unleash hell on earth. It is the ultimate battle between good and evil after all.
Beverley Cross’ original script has been sliced and diced by remake writers Travis Beacham, Phil Hay, and Matt Manfredi. The new film tries too hard to explain the mythology surrounding Perseus and his adventure.
I heard that director Louis Leterrier (2008’s “The Incredible Hulk”) ambitiously envisioned a trilogy with the new film. That’s probably why it feels like this remake is missing a couple of chapters.
But Letterier and company did a good job in paying homage to the original. Medusa, the Gorgon, is defeated using the same techniques Hamlin’s Perseus utilized. Pegasus also makes a grand entrance, only this time, the white flying horse has been turned into a black beauty. Even Bubo, the Owl of Brass, makes a comical appearance.
The scorpion-like scorpiochs are back bigger and meaner. The Kraken also makes a giant comeback. The mythical sea monster of gargantuan size is still the star of the film’s monstrous finale.
My favorite among the new creatures in the remake is the harpies, the winged monsters unleashed by Hades. Fiennes gave a memorable performance in the film although he’s just doing a slight variation of his Lord Voldemort character in the “Harry Potter” movies.
As much as I admire Worthington’s skills, he failed to fill in Hamlin’s togas. The actor lacks the battered innocence that Hamlin exuded in the original. Besides, Hamlin had to do much of his acting either with a mechanical owl, a flying horse, or a bumbling Burgess Meredith as Ammon.
Worthington’s Perseus, on the other hand, gets a lot help on his quest. He has the Argos Soldiers and Io (Gemma Arterton), his mysterious spiritual guide. It’s a lot easier for the actor to emote with fellow actors rather than mechanical creatures.
So I’m left wondering if children will be affected by the new “Clash of the Titans” as I was with the original back in 1981. When they look up at the skies, will they be able to recognize the constellation of Perseus, or Andromeda, or Pegasus?
“Clash of the Titans” gets 2 ½ Toga Toga Toga kisses
Country: United States
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