Movie Review: Clash of the Titans (2010)

Critics are pretty much divided over the recent remake of Clash of the Titans.  Some loved it and some hated it.  I’m pretty much on the love side of the fence.  I’m a big fan of the original Clash of the Titans having seen it as a kid in 1981.  It was the best Greek Mythology-based movie that I’ve ever seen since then.  It might be due to a combination of being a kid at that time and the stop-motion animation magic of Ray Harryhausen.

Now fast forward to 2010.  I’ve just seen the remake and I still love it.  In fact, I enjoyed the film so much that I’ve watched it twice in a row!  Never mind what the critics say, I’m open to plot alteration, as long as the fun is still intact.  And that’s what I felt during and after watching the movie – FUN!

Perseus

Sam Worthington seems to be the goto guy for all things action nowadays, having starred in two big movies recently (Terminator and Avatar).  In those two movies he played a half-man, half-something.  In Terminator he was the half-man, half-cyborg Marcus Wright.  In Avatar, he was the half-man, half-Navi Jake Sully.  In Clash, he played the half-man, half-god Perseus.  I see a trend developing here.

Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes, together again after Schindler’s list, delivered some of the best performances in the film as Zeus and Hades respectively.  Danny Huston, as Poseidon, had so little involvement here that it was almost  a waste of talent.  Hopefully, he would get a bigger role in the sequel.

Directed by Louis Letterier, of The Incredible Hulk and Transporter 2 fame, some of the original plot elements are still intact and some have been rearranged here and there and some have been altered completely.  Perseus is still on a quest to destroy the Kraken.  I guess most of the negativity towards Clash is centered on Perseus’ motivation and plot alteration.  In the original, he wanted to defeat the Kraken to save the love of his life Andromeda.  The motivation here is love.  In the remake, he wanted to defeat the Kraken in order to exact revenge upon Hades who caused the death of his parents and sister.  The motivation here is revenge.  The love angle between Perseus and Andromeda was non-existent as wells.  And that did not sit well with others.

Io

But still, the bottom line in every movie I watch is if there is still the fun factor or not. And, at least for me, the fun factor is still there in the remake.  I enjoyed following Perseus as he embarked on his quest, along with some Argos soldiers, to defeat the Kraken.  The battle with Calibos was fast and brutal but the big battle with the scorpion is the most exciting and somehow reminded me of the battle with Scorponok in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.  Everyone got involved in this with not a few soldiers perishing.  Draco, the leader of the Argos soldiers, had a passing resemblance to The Rock that I’m almost waiting for him to do the people’s eyebrow.  Later on, I’ve learned that Draco was played by Mads Mikkelsen who played Bond’s nemesis Le Chiffre in Casino Royale.  Accompanying the battle-hardened soldiers, was Io played by the lovely Gemma Arterton, another Bond alum (QoS).  Io was a new character to the remake and having been cursed with agelessness, she had acted as a watcher for Perseus ever since he was a kid.

The journey to the Stygian witches was almost an exact copy of the original.  It still ended with Perseus hurling their precious eye in the cave that left the witches scrambling for it.  This reminded me of a scene in 300 where Leonidas consulted the Oracle.

The most exciting part of the movie for me was the hunt for Medusa.  I remember watching the original in 1981, that as a kid, I was so frightened with Medusa that I even closed my eyes when her face was focused on the screen, just to be on the safe side.  Now with some great CG, they have once again captured that Medusa mystique.  The look on Medusa’s face when the Djinn exploded while trapped in her tail – PRICELESS!  BTW, a bit of trivia.  Medusa’s face was based on Natalia Vodianova’s likeness.  Imagine, the angelic face of Natalia on the monstrous Medusa – ultimate irony!

In the end, Perseus was able to complete his quest and opened the way for a possible sequel.  The changes in the story and the ending might offend some purists but for those fans of the action/adventure genre and Greek Mythology, this new Clash of the Titans would not disappoint.

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