Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Danny Huston, Gemma Arterton, Mads Mikkelsen DIRECTED BY
Louis Leterrier SCREENPLAY
Travis Beacham, Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi MPAA RATING
Rated PG-13 RUNNING TIME
118 Mins. DISTRIBUTED BY
After having read a review of this Clash of the Titans rehash by friend and fellow critic Ed Johnson-Ott of Nuvo Newsweekly, whose line regarding "Release the Kraken" continues to leave me giggling, I was tempted to simply provide a link to to his insightful and entertaining review.
Alas, as much as Ed's review left me chuckling away there's at least a modest difference when it actually comes down to the film itself and, despite the complete absence of a line even remotely comparable to his, it behooves me at least a bit to give this remake of the Laurence Olivier and Harry Hamlin-led 1980's original flick a treatment of my own.
First off, and this is important, do NOT see Clash of the Titans in 3-D. It doesn't need 3-D, it wasn't filmed in 3-D and, quite honestly, 3-D adds virtually nothing to the cinematic experience. So, save yourself a few bucks on this one and see it in its intended 2-D original format.
Trust me, you'll thank me.
Directed by Louis Leterrier (The Transporter, The Incredible Hulk), Clash of the Titans stars Sam Worthington (Avatar) as the demi-god Perseus, son of Zeus (Liam Neeson), who finds himself smack dab in the middle of a war between gods and humans and attempting to protect the health and welfare of a princess (Alexa Davalos) while Zeus and Hades (Ralph Fiennes) go whupass on each other.
If you've seen the original Clash of the Titans, then you have enough of the basics to understand this film...not that necessarily understanding the film or its story or its plot is actually necessary. Whereas the original film, the last stop-motion creation from Ray Harryhausen, had an abundance of goofy charm and larger-than-life cuteness going on for it that compensated for its abundant flaws, this 2010 version is simply abundantly flawed without half of the original's charm, underlying humor or campy techno fun.
Instead, Leterrier simply tries to make an updated, bigger and badder Clash of the Titans and, as a result, creates a film that is neither memorable nor, for that matter, particularly entertaining. While there weren't any truly memorable performances in the original, the entire cast seemed to at least comprehend what type of film they were in and acted accordingly. Here, it seems as if Worthington is shooting for beefcake action star while both Neeson and Fiennes over-act as if their lives depended upon it.
Even the special effects aren't exactly more impressive than they were in the original film, a film that may be most memorable for that rather godawful owl that we all hated but will likely never forget. Here, the kraken itself is certainly large and beastly but, well, it's all got a sense of "ho-hum" about it. Clash of the Titans may be cinematic proof that bigger isn't always better, not even when one is releasing a kraken.
Harryhausen fans are likely to notice a few winks to the original film, while moviegoers familiar with both films may very well marvel at how little Leterrier capitalizes on the technological advances of the last 30 years.
But, in a war between the 1981 original and this buffed up remake, I'll take Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith and Harry Hamlin anyday.