Clash of the Titans (2010)
Starring: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes
Directed by: Louis Letterier
Written by: Travis Beacham, Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi
I grew up on the original Clash of the Titans (1981). It’s corny by some of today’s standard, but the movie still holds up overall. The story sticks remarkably close to it’s mythical roots, though it does take it’s own creative embellishments along the way. Ray Harryhausen’s effects work is still amazing to me.
I can watch the original over and over. I will never watch the remake again.
Perseus (Worthington) is discovered in a coffin at float in the sea by a meager fisherman. The fisherman raises the young boy as his own. Many years later, Perseus and his adoptive father are fishing when they witness a giant statue of Zeus be toppled into the sea by an army of men. Hades (Fiennes) appears and destroys everyone around except for Perseus – after all, he is a demigod.
The few remaining soldiers drag Perseus to Argos, where he meets King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia. It is here he learns that Cepheus and his Queen mean to end the time of the Gods and bring about a new Era of Man – his subjects have ceased praying to the Gods, which is causing them to weaken. Cepheus is planning an overthrow of Mount Olympus.
Zeus (Neeson), angered by the loss of love from man, gives Hades approval to scare mankind back into a loving submission. Hades appears at Cepheus’ court, demanding that the princess Andromeda be sacrificed a the eclipse to the Kraken, or Argos would be destroyed.
Hating the Gods, specifically Hades, for killing his adoptive family, Perseus sets out with some warriors from Argos to find a way to destroy the Kraken, save Argos and Andromeda, and beat the Gods.
I won’t touch on the utter destruction of Greek myth (Acrisius is Calibos? The Kraken defeated Zeus? Cepheus wants to destroy Zeus?) but it’s quite bad. The 1981 film took some liberties, but overall it’s storyline was commendably close to the original myths. The 2010 version takes too many unnecessary liberties that harm the story more than help.
The one drastic deviance I’ll note here is one I just don’t understand. The filmmakers included the Djinn, an Arabic myth featured prominently in Islam. The djinn are, depending your source material, one of the three creations of God (along with angels and humans). They were forged from smokeless fire just as man was made from clay. In Clash of the Titans, the djinn are warriors in the desert who have replaced their limbs with charred wood to live forever. What?
The other notable failure of the film is, surprisingly, the special effects. There are times that the animation sequences are no better than what Harryhausen created by hand with clay. I was sadly disappointed in the giant scorpion sequence. Medusa herself was a bit of a let down too.
I can’t really express how disappointed in this movie I was. I was so excited when the original trailer came out, with it’s awesome looking action and heavy rock soundtrack. It’s too bad the actual film didn’t turn out like the trailer. Why they are making a sequel is beyond me, and it’s a frightening prospect.
For the record, I still think this trailer is bad-ass.