Written by J.T. Johnson
Louis Leterrier, the director of 2008’s “The Incredible Hulk”, returns with a remake of the 1981 film “Clash of the Titans”. Unfortunately, this version of the film contains shoddy special-effects and a rushed story with only one or two characters of any interest beyond Perseus. It’s a shame considering that the movie has a top-notch cast.
The film, like the original, is very loosely based on the Greek myth of Perseus (Sam Worthington). After Spyros (Pete Postlethwaite), a fisherman, finds baby Perseus in a coffin with his original mother, he chooses to raise the child as one of his own. He does not know how Perseus came to him or why he was in the coffin.
Perseus’ family is eventually killed in an attack by Hades (Ralph Fiennes) against soldiers who declared war on the gods by destroying a statue of Zeus (Liam Neeson). After Perseus is taken to Argos, he realizes his true heritage. He also discovers that he must learn how to stop the Kraken from destroying the people of Argos and their princess, Andromeda (Alexa Davalos).
There is more about what goes on in the movie but it would take forever to set up an ultimately lackluster film. The movie is all about being an action/adventure ride with great effects and great battles. Even on this level, the film fails to capture the audience’s imagination.
The special-effects are choppy and look so bad that they might as well have gone with Ray Harryhausen’s original stop-motion animation from the original film. The scorpions often seen in the trailers for the film look like they should appear in a video game rather than in this movie. Perseus flying on the back of Pegasus is also completely unconvincing while Medusa is completely uninspired and does not even look like she was completed before the film had to be released. When one considers the huge leaps made in the realm of computer generation, it was sad to see a film take a step in the opposite direction.
Another sad thing about the movie is that the set direction is awful. The entrance into the Underworld looks just like the other place where they find the Stygian Witches. The rest of the time, it just feels like they’re in a dessert the entire time.
There is a good cast lined up in the film. Worthington makes a good Perseus, Gemma Arterton is both beautiful and strong as Io, Fiennes is appropriately freaky as Hades and Mikkelsen is good as the leader of the Praetorian Guard, Draco. The problem is that they are playing characters that end up being nothing more than 2D cutouts of the mythological beings.
In fact, there are not any other characters that are all that memorable. There are two rogue men that come along for the ride but are also completely unnecessary to the film. Then there is an older soldier that tries to be the comic relief but most of the jokes fall flat. These characters are so forgettable that it is not even worth it to remember their names by the end of the film.
Getting to see Neeson as Zeus is probably one of the biggest highlights of the film. Also, while the rest of the set direction was bad, the design of the gods’ throne room on Mount Olympus was done just right. Above the shining thrones of the gods, there are millions of small statuettes resembling every man, woman and child in the world. This set was so brilliantly designed that it was a shame that the story did not spend more time there.
In the end, though, “Clash” was marketed as an action/adventure film with brilliant special-effects. Unfortunately, the film features rushed effects and uninspired action in addition to a rushed story with almost completely forgettable characters. This makes it a rather forgettable movie.