A pleasant, forgettable bit of hit and myth…
Oh yes, there were some people undoubtedly up in arms when news of this remake came about. A CGI-filled take on a much-loved 80s classic, it really was bound to disappoint from the off.
Personally, I’ve never thought the original Clash Of The Titans was all that much of a masterpiece anyway. A great film? Yes, but only appreciated most by people who grew up with it and have the nostalgia for it and those who can view the retro stylings of those beloved Harryhausen creations with the same love for them I have always had. In many other ways it suffers from much the same flaws as the remake. But let’s get on with actually reviewing the remake.
The story is known to most people; Perseus (Sam Worthington), the son of Zeus (Liam Neeson), ends up leading men on a quest to save Argos from ultimate destruction by Zeus’s brother, Hades (Ralph Fiennes), and his rather heavy-handed kraken. On this quest he ends up fighting various creatures, talking to witches and doing other stuff while wearing a fetching tunic/sandals combo. There.
Director Louis Leterrier actually managed to impress me this time around with his way of managing the material and spectacle on screen. Yes, the action is a little too flurried and busy at times but, overall, it’s really quite well put together and doesn’t feel as if there’s a cut to elsewhere every two seconds.
The cast are a real mixed bag but, just like in the original movie, are all there to simply spout the drivel given to them and stand around with swords ready when beasties appear. Liam Cunningham gets some laughs, Mads Mikkelsen does okay, Nicholas Hoult makes you scratch your head and ask “is that him from About A Boy and Skins??”, and the presence of Gemma Arterton and Alexa Davalos will keep the red-blooded males happy for some strange reason. Apparently, women find Sam Worthington attractive so should have no trouble watching his adventures. Jason Flemyng gets a fun role, Liam Neeson does little of note but Ralph Fiennes makes the most of his Hades character and impresses even with his limited screen time.
The effects are all quite impressive, from giant scorpions to the appearance of Hades in his cloud of smoke and embers to the sleek Pegasus (or generic winged horse, if you prefer), as long as you don’t mind CGI. The only real disappointment here was Medusa, who didn’t look as good/scary as she could have and that, along with a lack of tension, makes the scenes featuring her a bit of a damp squib. Having said that, there’s a whole hell of a lot more here to impress, from every moment featuring “the ferryman” to an awesome final reel with that kraken heading towards Argos.
The pacing is a bit uneven and falters slightly in between big set-pieces, the cast aren’t given too much to do, the focus is on the creatures attacking Perseus and his gang and the whole storyline is an enjoyable slice of sword ‘n’ sorcery hokum. Just like the original. It’s enjoyable enough popcorn fare while you’re watching it, and certainly provides one or two moments of proper cinematic spectacle, but it’s also instantly forgettable and not one likely to be revisited often in future, except maybe on rainy holiday afternoons. Just like the original.