First, I’m not claiming to be an unbiased movie reviewer here – I admit my love of the first Clash of the Titans has fully influenced my impression of this new one. It brought out the little girl in me and I pretty much couldn’t stop smiling throughout the movie, intellectually knowing that I was watching a very imperfect, kinda crappy flick, but emotionally swept away and feeling happy and giddy and embracing the big, dumb, fun with all my heart. So if you’re expecting some sort of intellectual, unbiased New York Times-ish review of Clash, ain’t gonna happen here.
Hit the Jump to continue reading The Elf’s spirited review of the new, 2010 Clash of the Titans…
“Trying to compare the classic Clash to this 2010 Clash is kind of like comparing Los Angeles to NYC (kind of pointless). Obviously technology has made giant leaps since 1981, but they didn’t destroy the camp of the original.”
Second, I’m just gonna come out and say it: I had more fun watching this new, silly Clash of the Titans than I did watching Avatar. Sue me, crucify me, call me a loser, I don’t mind, it’s the truth! I’m definitely not saying the new Clash is incredible or even really, really, great, but damnit it’s FUN, and it’s not trying to hit you over the head with a bunch of pseudo-spiritual we-are-the-world, one-love messages like Avatar did so self-consciously and, well, annoyingly. I don’t need my “deep” life lessons spoon-fed to me by what should be a big, dumb, fun action movie with pretty people running around, thank you very much! OK, I said it. I feel better now and we can move on.
Yes, Louis Leterrier’s Clash is fun AND pretty dumb, and after investigating both sides of the fence, you really don’t need to see it in 3D. In fact, don’t. You can kind of tell the shots and little moments where they tried to slip the 3D thrills in, and for me it just takes away from the experience of seeing the movie. And speaking of the visuals, trying to compare the classic Clash to this 2010 Clash is kind of like comparing Los Angeles to NYC (kind of pointless), but a girl can try. Obviously technology has made giant leaps since 1981, but they didn’t destroy the camp of the original. In fact, they paid tribute to it, in a subtle way, so good for them. The Gods’ lair still is a little disco-y, and the visuals in general kind of winked back at the original from time to time while still saying to the audience, “This is 2010 people, we’re getting rid of the silly little mechanical owl and we’re making the scorpions GIANT, like, super huge! We’ve advanced!” Yes, they show the little owl for a second, when the slightly dim Perseus with the weirdly Aussie accent asks, “What’s this?” and he’s told to “leave it behind.” Poor Bubo barely gets a cameo. Smart on their part. Trying to stay too close to the classic would have been a mistake, and nerds like me would probably be bitching if they had tried to make a literal remake. I mean, it’s cool that Pegasus is black now, not white (probably tougher looking – a warrior on a white winged horse might come across as pansy-ish these days, right? Not that Harry Hamlin didn’t look pansy-ish, but it was 1981, weren’t straight men still wearing tight, shiny bell bottom pants back then? So a hereto hero on white winged horse was probably more acceptable. Probably.)
I did miss Andromeda being carried to Calibos every night in the cage, by that turkey-falcon thing, but I give them props because this new Calibos scared the hell out of me! He was freakier than the Kraken. Every time he was on screen, and especially during his first fight with Perseus and his men, I found myself cringing. I wouldn’t want to pass this Calibos in a dark alley. Not so with Medusa. While they took Calibos and made him Freddy Kruger-ish and terrifying, their Medusa was a watered-down, too pretty take on the original. And her lair was way too brightly lit! The original Medusa moved in that jerky way that was and is so wrong and weird and nightmare-ish. And she was UGLY. U.G.L.Y. This Medusa had a face that looked like a sweet, pretty model chick that occasionally turned ugly when she got REAL mad. I was so amped up for the Medusa sequence and as soon as she appeared, I pretty much relaxed back into my seat, my shoulders slumped like a pouty kid. What were they thinking? I guess they were trying to make Medusa sexy, since the other women in the movie (Andromeda and Io) are kind of… blah. Doesn’t work. If you need a break to get popcorn or whatever, Medusa might be a good time.
Speaking of the female characters – YAWN! I mean, if Andromeda isn’t the love interest then what the hell is Perseus’ motivation for going through all this crap and risking his life for and fighting giant scorpions and snake-headed ladies? The original Andromeda wasn’t much more than a pretty face, but at least there was a love story. And you knew why Perseus risked life and limb. This new Andromeda is about as exciting as a slightly cute girl on a Greenpeace ship. She’s a pretty do-gooder, yay for her, but I for one was more worried about the citizens of Argos (except that annoying as hell little street urchin with the bun on his head) than about the princess. Let the Kraken eat her so the citizens of Argos are saved! We’re supposed to believe that Perseus is going through with all of this because his beloved “father” (not his real father, the Daddy Warbucks of the skies, Zeus, but his adoptive father, the salt of the…sea…fisherman) told him that “someone has to take a stand” against evil. Sorry, but that’s not a strong enough reason for me. Maybe the real problem is that Sam Worthington, sexy as he may be, just can’t act. I gave him the benefit of the doubt in Avatar because he is so pretty, but in Clash, my love quickly faded. He just sort of stands there. I didn’t care about him, didn’t root for him. That’s a big problem. I cared more about the warrior Draco (Mads Mikkelsen) than about Perseus – Draco’s a true warrior! I mean, maybe his daddy couldn’t give him a magic sword to use, but he was tough. At least Harry Hamlin’s Perseus accepted the fact that he was kind of a spoiled, trust fund kid and he took the magic sword and helmet and wore them shamelessly. This Perseus spends the entire movie whining that he doesn’t want daddy’s help, and he wants to triumph “as a man”, but in the end he winds up using the magic sword AND when daddy performs a very convenient magic trick in the end (which I won’t spoil here in case you haven’t seen it), Perseus accepts it with open arms. What happened to his principals? Where’s Russell Crowe when you need him?
Liam Neeson (Zeus) and Ralph Fiennes (Hades) manage to elevate the movie a little because they can ACT, unlike Worthington, and Gemma Arterton as Io is interesting to watch even though her character is more of a prop than a real person. This woman needs a juicy role! She was the best thing about the last Bond movie, until she was killed by that hotel-room oil slick. Alexa Davalos as Andromeda is just fine. Probably not her fault – I mean, expecting fully drawn characters in a sword and sandal epic may be way too much to ask, I realize. I do think we can expect the leading man, the HERO, to get under our skin though. And Worthington isn’t that hero. When’s Hollywood gonna figure that out?
It probably seems at this point like I hate this new Clash of the Titans. I mean, it has its faults, sure, but like I said I had FUN watching it! The audience clapped at the end! There was a smile on my face the whole time, even as I was making a mental checklist of its faults. But the best, most wonderful thing about this new Clash? It makes me love and respect the original all the more.