Apr 2010 02

Clash of the Titans is a an unoriginal, pretty dumb, sword and sandals epic that looks great, has solid action and effects, with some superb art design/production values and the result is an entertaining and fun flick that I enjoyed even when I was chuckling at the cheesiness.

Perseus is the son of Zeus, his mother was human, and he was raised by an adoptive human family that found him in the watery grave of his mother.  Raised as a fisherman and a strict follower of the Gods, Perseus’ family is wiped out by Hades when they are in the wrong place and the wrong time as Hades wipes out a group of Argos soldiers and takes out Perseus’ family boat for good measure.  Dragged to Argos as a possible accomplice in the encounter, Perseus, is taken to a party where the Queen of Argos claims her daughter, Andromeda, is more beautiful then any Goddess and the King declares this the time of men which pisses off Zeus who sends a once exiled Hades to mess with Man.  Hades tells the city that they will fall to the Kraken if they do not sacrifice Andromeda by the soon coming eclipse and this in turn sets out Perseus and the last remaining Argos soldiers to try and find out how they can destroy the titan they call Kraken.

Now, is there a lot you could complain about here, you bet.  Andromeda seems like she should be the romantic interest for Perseus and had a major part throughout the film, but she is regulated to only a couple scenes once the soldiers set out and we never really connect to the potential sacrifice; nor do we really care when she is put on the blocks.  Almost all the characters are types as well, the young rookie soldier, the old grizzled comic relief, the veteran mentor, a goofy rouge duo, or the awesome half man/half beast sorcerer; wait, scratch that last one.  The film also doesn’t give that inspired of an inspiration for Perseus and his revenge plot and while it services the plot it is nothing new.  The Io character is also very unnecessary and only there to state the obvious and provide eye candy for Perseus and the viewers.  Oh, and the 3-D will get slayed by a lot of people, but more on that later.

The thing is most of theses issues never really bothered me while watching and fit into what the movie is, a big, fun, adventure/action fantasy.  There was also a lot to like beyond not being bothered by what might get to some.  The art design on the creatures, Hades, the sets, Olympus, and just about everything in the film looks great, if a tad familiar; looking at you witches (mouth of Sauron rip-off).  The movie never really drags, isn’t afraid to kill people, and has some quality action sequences throughout on top of looking great and I think it will please most individuals who are looking forward to seeing this.

The 3-D though is a mixed bag and everyone that has been following this rushed last minute conversion by WB shouldn’t be surprised, though I am interested to see what the general public thinks of the 3-D work in the picture.  Some shots look fine and do an solid enough job, but there are plenty of awful, ugly, and horrible looking 3-D effects sprinkled throughout the film; especially the first half of the film.  From weird looking hair lines, heads that look like they have another head hiding behind it, and 3-D that can’t quite keep up with some of the action at times.  When it looks bad it looks awful, it never looks anything better than solid, and nowhere near the level of Coraline, How to Train Your Dragon, or Avatar’s very high bar set.  Not an essential 3-D movie and in fact I recommend you see it in 2-D over 3-D personally; spend those 3-D dollars on How to Train Your Dragon.

The cast does good work throughout, starting with Sam Worthington who does a fine job as the finding his power demigod that is rising to hero status.  The supporting cast is full of plenty of familiar faces, Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes both do great work as usual as Zeus and Hades, respectively, but one can’t help but ask why you hire the great Danny Houston to play Poseidon to utter one line?  This makes me think they cut down on the rumored re-shoot stuff they supposedly added in to give the God’s more to do at one point.  Gemma Arterton and Alexa Davalos look pretty as the females in the picture but neither is given much to do.  Same goes for the soldiers, all the actors fill their parts well and do a fine job but no one delivers anything amazing or extraordinary.  Mads Mikkelsen was my favorite of the soldier characters, playing the veteran mentor to Perseus and while one note, he does it well and carries himself as quite the badass.  And Ian Whyte played the sorcerer Jin, Sheikh, was awesome and they really missed an opportunity to give him more to do.

In the end, Clash of the Titans does what it sets out to do and does it just fine.  I was entertained, had fun, and didn’t really have a problem with the clichéd or unoriginal nature of the story and themes.  The action was solid, the look of the film was great, and there wasn’t anything that really disappointed me.  With that said there were plenty of missed opportunities and they could have taken this to another level if they took a few chances here or there.  Plot wise it plays it safe, but remains solid throughout and will even impress from time to time, I just wish there was more of the Jin sorcerer; he was awesome.

Clash of the Titans is a B-


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