Remakes, reimagining’s, revamps and Religious Education are all the rage nowadays. Originality and risk in Hollywood is rarer than a shiny first edition ancient Mew card. Some remakes are justified though; one reason being that the original may not have had the technology needed to completely fulfill the director’s artistic vision. Clash of the Titans almost falls into this category, but the original is, in my opinion, ahead of its time for special effects. Compared to the ’10 version though, it definitely looks dated. So why is the original still better?
I’ll start by saying I didn’t watch this in 3D. A large amount of articles I read saying it’s such a poor transfer from 2D, and that 2D is the medium it was made for so should be seen in that dimension put me off paying an extra £2. I’m usually pro-3D; unlike my fellow cinema goer who is a pessimist, complaining about how useless it is and it just gives him a headache.
Set in the Greek city of Argos (trust me, if you’re British this is funny) COTT opens with the threat of a war between man and the Gods. Jake Sull.. I mean Perseus (Sam Worthington) is raised as a fisherman by Spyros (Pete Postlethwaite, an actor who has been in just about everything that is set before the 1900’s) but discovers he’s actually a Demi God; his father is Zeus (Liam Neeson in a shiny suit). But after Hades kills Perseus’ family, he vows to avenge their deaths and take on the Gods. But Hades tricks Zeus into letting him strike fear into the humans (or just basically one city, Argos) and threatens to “RELEASE THE KRAKEN!”, a mythical beast who even the Gods are scared of. It’s up to Perseus to save Argos and defeat Hades to save the day.
Now if I remember correctly, the original version focused more on Perseus trying to win Andromeda’s heart. Whereas here, he couldn’t care less about her; all he wants is the Kraken. If anything, her rescue is a chore to him, he doesn’t NEED to do it, but feels that he should to earn some brownie points with the residents and royalty. It’s not just Andromeda though; the rest of the villains are unnecessarily characterized with special abilities. For example, we know Perseus is going to behead Medusa, so why make her a quick, heavily CGI snake? I’d rather see an inventive way of how he kills her, rather than a seemingly invincible creature that is obviously gonna die. Another side note that I didn’t spot but Craig did is that Medusa’s lair is situated in the underworld. Her ability is to turn living men to stone. How many living men are going to enter the underworld?
The Kraken though is exquisitely designed and rendered perfectly. It’s rumoured that half the budget was spent on creating it, and if that’s the case it shows. Problem is, it’s destroyed too quickly, and that’s where the work of creating it is effectively ruined; its destruction doesn’t look like what it should. But too much time is spent on introducing filler characters who are given a lot of screen time; sharing bonding experiences, jest with each other and generally have a barrel of laughs, only to be wiped out almost simultaneously. Not that it mattered; except for one, the ‘comedic relief’ if you will. I liked that guy. I can’t remember his name, but that’s not important. Because ultimately, neither was he or the rest of the cast apart from Perseus. But their presence compromised on the overall threat of The Kraken, which is a shame because it really is a brilliant render. And the scene itself, if transferred to game, is possibly the hardest boss battle ever: flying on a horse, avoiding The Kraken and other winged beasts as well as keeping hold of a Medusa head AND having to save the damsel in distress…
The action scenes are well choreographed, but overstay their welcome. Or they are remembered, but only because my eyes were exposed to them for too long. The giant scorpion scenes (which are used effectively in the trailer; the synchronization with an instrumental version of “Bird And The Worm” and the stabbing scorpion tail is one of the best I’ve seen for a while) have all the elements of a memorable and stand out action piece but for some reason, I wasn’t enthralled or even entertained by it. I just saw… stuff, happening in front of my eyes. I didn’t care if he lived or died, but that’s also because the character is so flat, it would make Kate Moss’ waist envious. It’s the same with the other action scenes, which were surprisingly infrequent. Thinking back, there were 3 set pieces that I remember: Scorpions/Medusa’s lair/Kraken, which for an almost 2 hour long movie isn’t really that much, especially when it’s advertised as a popcorn action movie. The best example of a popcorn actioner is Crank; if you’ve not seen it I highly recommend it for escapist entertainment.
But overall, Clash of the Titans succeeds in what it was meant to do: which wasn’t really that much to start with, so it’s not much to be proud of. The CGI really do work wonders for an otherwise below average action movie that is lacking in just that. Do not, I repeat DO NOT be fooled by the 3D advertising: it is just a way to make more money from you. And besides, it doesn’t matter what dimension you see the movie in, it won’t improve the content.