Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Clash of the Titans: movie review

Tentacles! Men in skirts! GIANT SCORPIONS!!!

Come on, you don't need more than that in a review, do you?

Okay ... Clash of the Titans is a remake of the 1981 film of the same name, which happened to be Ray Harryhausen's last bash at stop-motion animation. It's based on the Greek myth of Perseus and Andromeda. The new version is in every way superior except one - the new Medusa isn't as scary (so good on you, Ray!). That's not actually setting the bar very high: the old film was really boring (and I say this as someone who adores the old Jason and the Argonauts) and starred a crap mechanical owl that was supposed to be comedic, and a cheesey-looking hero with a waxed chest.

The new version stars rent-a-grunt Sam Worthington as the half-god Perseus. I can't imagine why he's the only bloke in the movie with short hair, unless it is to annoy me.

Anyway, he's okay, though a total meathead. He picks up a bunch of rather appealing military sidekicks and goes off on a quest to seek the Stygian Witches (who have only one eye between them), so that he can fetch the head of the Medusa from the Underworld, so that he can turn the Kraken to stone, so that he can rescue the princess Andromeda and revenge himself on Hades, lord of the dead, who killed his foster-parents (are you following this?). There's a winged horse and a scarred superpowered ex-king called Acrisius whose blood turns into GIANT SCORPIONS and a bunch of Djinn involved on the way, but I'm not going to try and explain that lot.

Oh - I thought the Djinn were cool.

The action is fast and the CGI is overblown - exactly what you'd expect from a modern remake. This is not a great movie by any means. The script reads like it was much longer but has been trimmed  hacked about with an axe (Like, there are two "hunter" characters who make a big fuss about joining the party for the quest ... and then have practically no function for the rest of the film. Why bother with them at all? And the Witches prophecy that Perseus will die if he fights the Kraken - and then he doesn't! Look guys, you can't have prophecies that don't come true: don't you know anything about storytelling?). It tries for a harsh anti-god message but can't even pull that off properly because Zeus is too much of a softy. It is just eyecandy.

I am not going to waste breath complaining about Zeus' anachronistic High-Medieval French armour, I'm not, I'm ... Oh goddamn.

But at least there's no bloody mechanical owl, hurrah! Or rather, it gets an appearance (and I nearly shat myself, let me tell you) and then is thrown away. Best joke in the movie. And how can I really complain when there are GIANT SCORPIONS, eh?


Erobintica said...

I haven't seen this yet, but I want to. Hear it's so bad it's good! And I'm with you on the hair - and they probably DID do it just to annoy you. ;-)

Tentacles and men in skirts? I'll be there. Hahaha

Wintersinger said...

I was just a kid when the original came out and, holy crap, I had nightmares about the Medusa for months afterwards. She was terrifying!!

I was curious to see how the scene turned out in CGI, but it doesn't sound promising.


Janine Ashbless said...

"Tentacles and men in skirts? I'll be there."
They can put that on my tombstone, Erobintica!

As for the Medusa scene, Wintersinger ... it was definitely the highlight of the early version of the film. In this remake it's just another monster fight action sequence - you know, with cuts every six frames so that you can't really follow what's going on, and you never get a chance to really see the Medusa.
Or am I just getting old...?

Beth said...

You're right, I certainly don't need more of a review than "Tentacles and men in skirts". Specially as we weren't let in the Vision Bleak last night due The Purple Turtle in Camden having some kind of incomprehensible door policy which apparently meant you couldn't get in if you were OVER a given age - ?

Jo said...

I liked the owl!

But in my defense, I was quite small.

Janine Ashbless said...

It is the ONLY possible defence...

Jo said...

Well, we can't all be infant grave-robbers! :)