Clash of the Titans is a decent enough remake of the original – but do yourself a favor: Save your hard-earned money and skip the awful 3D version.
Screen Rant reviews Clash of the Titans
I really want to make this a review of Clash of the Titans and not a rant against post-production-applied 3D, but considering how awful and distracting I found the 3D – it’s going to be difficult. I highly recommend that if you go watch this film you do so in a regular old 2D presentation. Please take that recommendation seriously.
This remake of the 1981 film is certainly less cheesy than that Harry Hamlin-starring version. Now don’t take that as a slam of the original – I enjoyed the heck out of it when it was released, nor as high praise of this version. However I did see it recently and it’s not one of those films that stands up to the test of time – you really have to appreciate it within the context of the time it was made.
The story follows that of the original pretty closely, with Perseus (Sam Worthington) being found in a locked coffin at sea in the arms of his dead mother. He’s taken in by Spyros (Pete Postlethwaite), a common fisherman and raised by him and his wife to be a good, hard working man. Unfortunately Perseus’ family is caught in the crossfire of a battle between some soldiers and one of the gods (Hades, played by Ralph Fiennes) and they are all killed (not really a spoiler, this happens very early on and his Perseus’ prime motivation throughout the film).
Mankind is rebelling against the gods, and Zeus (Liam Neeson), who created mankind is none to happy about it. Hades sees an opportunity to regain power and convinces Zeus to allow the release of the legendary monster the Kraken should a sacrifice of the king’s daughter not take place before the next solar eclipse. Perseus is recruited by the king to go on a quest that will result in his daughter’s life being spared, and our hero is happy to comply for his own reasons of revenge against Hades.
There are plenty of action set pieces to keep audiences happy, including a battle against not one, but three giant scorpions, a battle against the grotesque Calibos (Jason Flemyng), Medusa, and of course the Kraken. The non-CGI visual effects were great, and I loved the look of the film overall when it came to the characters, costumes, etc. But the CGI was all over the map… Pegasus looked excellent, a seamless blend of CGI wings with a live horse – but then you had Medusa, who looked like she belonged in a medium grade video game (I vastly prefer the stop-motion animation version from the original film). The Kraken however, was epic. Incredibly huge and vast in size and definitely formidable.
When it came to the actors, Sam Worthington was fine – he always seems to underplay his roles, maybe a little too much. Neeson wasn’t really given room to flex his acting muscles, mainly standing around wearing blinding silver armor. Fiennes was quite effective as Hades, and aside from his acting, I really loved the look of his character, especially when he appears on screen out of nowhere – very impressive. Gemma Arterton, while beautiful, played it quite vanilla here. One actor that I thought exuded a serious screen presence and the impression of power was Mads Mikkelsen as Draco (if he looks maddeningly familar it’s because he played the villain in the James Bond reboot Casino Royale). I also enjoyed some of the supporting characters which were played for laughs.
Oh, but the 3D… freaking AWFUL.
Imagine watching a close up of an actor delivering a dramatic line… while the back part of his head or hair seems to float, disconnected from the rest of his head. Imagine watching a scene in 3D in which the “front” layer is utterly obviously separated from the “back” layer. 3D in which the visual depth that they’ve gone out of their way to tack on doesn’t even stand out that much except to distract you by how obvious and tacked on it looks. The image above can only approximate how terrible it looks.
The idea to turn this into a 3D film was a last minute decision and the process was rushed – and boy does it come across on the screen. Unless you’re easily impressed with 3D and haven’t seen the likes of Avatar or Coraline, then I cannot recommend strongly enough that you skip the 3D version of Clash of the Titans and go watch it in standard 2D.
Hollywood has given us the filet mignon of 3D visuals with Avatar, which was shot in 3D using state of the art 3D cameras. So now that audiences are sold on the idea, Hollywood is now pulling a bait and switch by giving us a crappy McDonalds hamburger version for the same inflated ticket prices they charged for that filet. We’ve told you about all the 3D movies coming out over the next couple of years and how they’re jacking up 3D ticket prices. If you want Hollywood to get away with offering a substandard experience at a premium price, then by all means, go watch these “slapped on” 3D versions of movies.
Minus the 3D, you’ll probably find Clash of the Titans to be a fairly enjoyable action/adventure movie. Warning for parents: Some of the creatures in the film are VERY creepy for PG-13 and will probably be unsettling to younger children. For the 2D version I’d probably add a half star and give this 3 out of 5.