Clash of the Titans (2010; Review)

CLASH OF THE TITANS
(4/02/10; Fantasy)
Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Alexa Davalos, Gemma Arterton, Mads Mikkelsen, Jason Flemyng, Pete Postlethwaite, Polly Walker, Danny Huston
SCR: Travis Beacham and Phil Hay & Matt Manfredi
DIR: Louis Leterrier
MPAA: PG-13 for fantasy action violence,
some frightening images and brief sensuality.
BOX: $163,693,297

The Greek mythology tale of Perseus, Medusa and the battle between man and the gods seemed ripe for retelling. Despite being a great idea for a movie, the 1981 original was a weird mix of fading legends (Lawrence Olivier) and dated stop-motion animation sequences (it was famed FX man Ray Harryhausen’s final film).

Alas, 29 years later, director Leterrier keeps the action and the CGI effects moving so fast, this seems less a clash of the titans than a Pirates of the Caribbean sequel without Johnny Depp.

It also reeks of studio intervention and last minute chopping. Action sequences are frenetic and sloppily-edited, and only a few times does the film inspire any sense of wonder. Speaking of which, as the god Zeus, Neeson not only doesn’t have the depth of hammy Olivier, but frankly was more regal in The Phantom Menace. I just never felt like Nesson nor Fiennes (playing Hades) were particularly godlike, nor did Worthington’s Perseus (a demigod in a 21st century crew cut) inspire much awe.

For some reason, the filmmakers retained the battle with the big scorpion things but included the mechanical owl Bubo (the ’81 version of R2D2) long enough to use as a throwaway joke (literally). For a movie with a flying horse, a gorgon, a battle between gods and man and the all-consuming kraken, it all seems terribly average.

FLASH OF THE TITANS: There was a lot of nudity in the PG-rated original but these days, there shall be no boobies where Happy Meals exist. Even Medusa wears a black bra! (Warner Bros.)

— DENNIS WILLIS

Author: Dennis Willis

Dennis Willis is an award-winning producer, TV host, producer, director, editor (he preferred Avid until a torrid affair with Adobe Premiere, and the rest is history), author and film critic (print and radio). Dennis produced and hosted the TV programs Reel Life, FilmTrip, Soundwaves (1983-2008) and produces the annual Soundwaves Xmas program. He is currently the film critic on KGO Radio in San Francisco, and a member of both the San Francisco Film Critics Circle and the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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