October 28, 2010

Rabid Rewind: Clash of the Titans (2010)

Clash of the Titans
starring Sam Worthington, Gemma Arterton, Ralph Fiennes, and Liam Neeson
directed by Luoise Leterrier
screenplay by Travis Beacham, Phil Hay, & Matt Manfredi
Warner Bros./Legendary (2010)

Release the Kraken!

Those words might have carried more gravitas had I not heard them a thousand times in the movie trailer for weeks, plus seeing brief glimpses of the actual Kraken. That's a moment of the film that should have been kept under wraps until after its release. Still, it was pretty cool seeing that giant squiddy thing once it showed up in the movie.

I can't remember the original Clash of the Titans, it's been so long, but I have a feeling the special effects are what carried that film as well, even if horribly dated by today's standards. And that's precisely what this modern revamping of Clash of the Titans is: a glitzy special effects feast.

I watched in on good old-fashioned 2-D, not that over-hyped 3-D malarkey. If a movie can only be appreciated by wearing those god-awful glasses and paying over-priced ticket fare, it's not a movie that's worth my time. I think Clash was originally filmed as 2-D and was later processed into 3-D to capitalize on that Avatar 3-D craze--thank you very much, James Cameron. So, I guess I saw it as it was originally intended. Either way, it was a very fun action movie. It was, at least, when there was some action on the screen.

It's when the movie slowed down and filled up with dialogue that the chinks in the armor started to show. Listening to Sam Worthington as Perseus spiel off his lines for any longer than a few seconds and it becomes apparent that this guy is not likely to win any acting awards--provided there is some dignity left in Hollywood ... never mind. Ralph Fiennes as Hades is enjoyable, though it seems like he's only summoning the spirit of Voldemort a la Harry Potter at times. As for Liam Neeson, I'm left wondering who thought he was the man to play Zeus in this film. He carried all the godliness and imposing will of a high school principal. I have a feeling it will take watching The A-Team to see Neeson in a more poorly cast role.

Forget the actors, though. And while your at it, forget the plot. This movie is all about CGI-laden set pieces with wonderfully designed monsters, strung together by the thinnest of threads. The gods are titanic, that's for sure, and the monsters who serve them are even bigger. Some giant scorpions show up in one of the earlier action scenes and threaten to spike the cheese-meter, but as the scenes carries on they look less cartoonish and more imposing. As for the Kraken, it's on such a scale that it's hard to fit it on screen without rendering the cast as dots in the background. But its role in the climax of the film comes off as a bit disappointing.

Maybe that's how I can sum up the movie: Immense and vivid, but comes off as a bit disappointing.

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