The much hyped remake of “Clash of the Titans” finally unfurls on screens pretty much everywhere, and is greeted with the skepticism usually reserved for a Barry Bonds home run. The 1982 original holds a dear place in many fanboys hearts, so the remake better be up to snuff. It tries, but sadly it just doesn’t make the grade
“Clash of the Titans” opens by explaining how humanity was created by Zeus and the gods on Mount Olympus, for the purpose of mankind’s worship providing sustenance for them. But the seaport city of Argos rebels against their creators, toppling a monumental statue of Zeus. Hades, the god of the underworld, decides those pesky mortals need to be cut down to size and convinces Zeus to let him offer Argos an ultimatum — either sacrifice the fair Andromeda to the Kraken, or the beast will annihilate the city. But is Hades’ plan meant to restore the gods to their proper stature, or is he looking to rule Mount Olympus himself?
What Hades hasn’t counted on is a wild card named Perseus (Sam Worthington). Perseus is a rarity known as a demigod — his mother was mortal, while his father is Zeus himself. Only Perseus stands in the way of the Kraken, but the path to victory isn’t going to be easy. He’ll need to fight giant scorpions, cycloptian witches, his evil-powered stepfather, and the Medusa herself. After making it through all that in one piece, he still needs to destroy the gargantuan Kraken, a beast spawned from Hades himself.
Perhaps the biggest complaint leveled against “Clash of the Titans” is the 3D conversion, and truth be told it rarely detracts from the film. It’s not really noticeable save for the occasional instance when it adds perspective. The cinematography by Peter Menzies Jr is nicely done, adding some gorgeous scenery to the mythological soap opera. Louis Leterrier handles the directing task equally well, proving up to the job of helming a big production. The action scenes are given a fair dose of adrenaline, and you walk away feeling like Leterrier put his own unique stamp on the production to make it his own.
As Zeus and Hades, Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes own every scene they’re in, making you wish they’re in it a lot more. In fact, most of the gods are given the short shift in favor of following the sullen Perseus. That’s a big problem since Sam Worthington gives Perseus all the charm and charisma of an old man’s nut sack. Worthington is suppose to play the hero, a man people are willing to rally around and risk death for, but he’s mainly just grumpy, complaining about how he doesn’t want to be a god and refusing efforts to help him. The film needed a charismatic action hero, but instead we got Abe Vigoda.
“Clash of the Titans” is a good way to pass 110 minutes. It can be fairly entertaining and has some good performances, but considering all the talent involved, it never lives up to its full potential. That’s a shame, since now we’re only left to dream of the film that could have been.
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Louis Leterrier (director) / Travis Beacham, Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi (screenplay), Beverley Cross (1981 screenplay)
CAST: Sam Worthington … Perseus
Liam Neeson … Zeus
Ralph Fiennes … Hades
Jason Flemyng … Calibos / Acrisius
Gemma Arterton … Io
Alexa Davalos … Andromeda
Tine Stapelfeldt … Danae
Mads Mikkelsen … Draco
Luke Evans … Apollo
Izabella Miko … Athena
Liam Cunningham … Solon