By Brian Lafferty
April 2, 2010 (San Diego's East County)--Clash of the Titans is the newest in a seemingly neverending long line of Hollywood remakes. Directed by Louis Leterrier (director of The Incredible Hulk two years ago) it is a splendid remake of the 1981 classic of the same name. That movie starred future L.A. Law actor Harry Hamlin and was the last to feature special effects master Ray Harryhausen’s famous stop-motion animation. This time Perseus is played by Sam Worthington, coming off of last year’s megahit Avatar. The stop-motion has been replaced with CGI.
The movie begins with the people of Argos rebelling against the Gods. Schindler’s List stars Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes are reunited as Zeus and Hades, respectively. Zeus is upset at this betrayal and Hades has a plan that is sure to have their worshippers on their knees (both literally and figuratively). He appears to the people of Argos and decrees that in seven days Princess Andromeda is to be sacrificed to the Kraken. If not, Argos and its people are to be destroyed. The people enlist Perseus, a demigod who is the son of Zeus but born to a mortal. At the beginning he refuses to accept this role and the fact that he’s part god. Unfortunately for him, he will have to accept it if it means saving his people.
Thus begins an adventure that is breathtaking and fun. The CGI in this picture is so good I hardly noticed it. I suspect this is because the special effects do something that many filmmakers seem to not grasp: they help tell the story, not overwhelm it. Yes there are great action scenes and the battles are epic. But there wasn’t a single solitary moment where I felt the story was in danger of being hijacked in favor of spectacle.
The movie’s story, based on Greek myth, appropriately felt mythological. It had nothing to do with the special effects. It had everything to do with the characters, their inner and outer struggles, and the quest. The dialogue is very believable and well-written for the most part.
The cinematography and art direction are gorgeous. It is these two elements that help add to the epic feel. There are many wide shots reminiscent of those seen in John Ford movies. There’s the barren desert riddled with giant scorpions, Medusa’s lair, the cold mountaintop where the Stygian Sisters reside. Then there is the Sea of Argos, which is the site of film’s most epic battle.
I saw this movie in 3D. I loved Clash of the Titans and I wholeheartedly recommend it. However, I believe it is best seen in 2D. It looked to me like it was shot in 2D and then converted afterwards. It shows in many scenes, which were too flat. If I had seen it in 2D I wouldn’t have lost any sleep. I suggest you save the extra few bucks and see it without the glasses.
A Warner Bros. release. Director: Louis Leterrier. Screenplay: Travis Beacham, Phil Hay, and Matt Manfredi, based on the 1981 screenplay by Beverley Cross. Original Music: Ramin Djawadi. Cinematography: Peter Menzies Jr. Cast: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Flemyng, Gemma Arterton, Alexa Davalos, Mads Mikkelsen, and Pete Postlethwaite. Runtime: 106 minutes. Rated PG-13.
Brian Lafferty welcomes letters at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow him on Twitter: @BrianLaff.