Clash of the Titans

Release Date: April 2, 2010

These girls will *not* go out with you!

On the Big Board
Position Staff In Brief
117/123 David Mumpower Excitement on a par with dropping a letter in the mailbox, but mailing the letter doesn't take two hours.
181/190 Max Braden How bad is it that the original Clash of the Titans made more sense in the motivations of the gods? (I loved the original)

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The original Clash of the Titans is a strange movie. Not because it is essentially about a boy trying to rescue his true love from a giant sea lizard with the help of a flying horse and an adorable mechanical owl, but instead because of all the people I know who are old enough to remember the film, very few of them can actually recall much about it. For what was such a successful movie, it seems to have vanished into obscurity, remembered fondly by movie buffs and fanboys but somewhat forgotten by everyone else. It is possible that having had the misfortune of being released in the midst of the original Star Wars trilogy, Clash of the Titans has been somewhat wiped from our collective consciousness through no fault of its own. But having watched it again recently, I am pretty comfortable saying that it is pretty much the movie that I remember. It's a good but not great film, very visually striking and still very easy to enjoy. And I have to admit that when it was over, the boy in me had mixed feelings about a remake.

Cynics will tell you that Hollywood is bereft of ideas - simply dusting off every old flick ever made in a workmanlike assembly line of needless revivals. But with the recent success of franchises such as The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, not to mention the runaway hit that was Zack Snyder’s 300, ideas that might have been laughed out the room a few years ago are getting a long hard look today. In this environment, a Clash of the Titans remake was almost inevitable, and I’m a little surprised that it took this long. The original is remembered primarily for two things, the first being a rather lavish cast primarily composed of master thespians who lent their combined credibility to a movie that might not otherwise have been taken very seriously. But the real star turned out to be the visuals coordinated by effects wizard Ray Harryhausen. Though dated even at the time, his incredibly detailed stop-motion animations are still a marvel to behold. They give the film a vibrant, crudely surreal aesthetic that is almost impossible to look away from, let alone re-create with computers. But while undeniably entertaining, Titans was weakened (in my opinion) by an excess of camp, no doubt meant to offset the rather grim subject matter. Some found it endearing, while others cringe at the thought of it – as I am doing even now.

For 2010, director Louis Leterrier (The Incredible Hulk, Transporter 2) seems to have felt the same way, as he’s clearly put together a film that is considerably less light on its feet. The newest trailers for Clash of the Titans are permeated with monochromatic gun metal blue tinted vistas populated by scowling, sword swinging warriors dressed in soggy leather armor. There are raging seas swallowing ships whole, angry gods hurling thunderbolts and giant scorpions impaling people left and right, all to the beat of a pulsing industrial rock soundtrack. The prevailing trend in action movies today is toward brooding darkness, and it doesn't look as though this film is looking to buck the system. Where the original was genteel and reverent, this version looks like it wants to push you off your bike and take your lunch money. An eclectic collection of talent has once again been cast, but in keeping with the sharper visual tone, they’re a much brawnier bunch than before. Liam Neeson, Sam Worthington, Ralph Fiennes and Mads Mikklesen are on hand to breathe new energy into the stodgy Bronze Age plot of the original with a darker, sexier and substantially more violent story tailor made for the 21st century. I will risk epic understatement to say that Worthington's Perseus looks to be a far cry from the virtuous, doe eyed choir boy Harry Hamlin portrayed all those years ago.

I don’t mean to imply that this is guaranteed to be a successful film. Let’s keep in mind that not only are the writers of Aeon Flux behind the screenplay, it’s still a little hard to believe that it took more than one person to write something that bad. The fact remains that no matter how good a movie looks on paper, it’s on the screen that is has to succeed and the first trailer for Clash of the Titans was not promising. But based on their second try, I am definitely buying what Warner Brothers is selling - despite the fact they may have given a bit too much away. What originally appeared to be another derivative knockoff of 300 looks instead like it might turn out to be a bold re-imagining of a story that wasn't too bad to begin with. Whether or not audiences are ready for another bloody swords and sandals epic is anybody's guess - but for those who are, I have a feeling they just might get their money's worth. (Bruce Hall/BOP)

Vital statistics for Clash of the Titans
Main Cast Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes
Supporting Cast Alexa Davalos, Izabella Miko, Mads Mikkelsen, Jason Flemyng, Gemma Arterton, Pete Postlethwaite
Director Louis Leterrier
Distributor Warner Bros. Pictures
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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