Review: Clash of the Titans – A Gift Straight From Hades

Title: Clash of the Titans
Studio: Warner Brothers
Director: Louis Leterrier
Actors: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton, Alexa Davalos
Opening this weekend is Clash of the Titans – a special effects heavy reimagining of the 1981 movie of the same title. Without many big movies coming out this long weekend, Titans is no doubt banking on being the only game in town. It may very well be, but is it worth your cash?

Zeus and the rest of the gods have a problem. You see, mankind has a bit of a beef with them because they, for the most part, cruelly ignore mortal pleas for help in an unjust world. What’s a god to do? How about unleash a devastating monster to teach the bunch of ingrates that they should be happy just to be alive?

Enter Perseus: a fisherman who also has a bone to pick with the gods. You see, his entire family was killed by Hades, the god of the underworld. So, in an act of defiance, Perseus takes up the fight against the gods and makes it his mission to slay the devastating monster that threatens mankind.

Now, some may say that Clash of the Titans is simply meant to be a “popcorn flick” – an action-heavy, adventure film not meant to be taken too seriously – and they would be right. Having said that, it’s not a very good popcorn flick.

The best movies of this type are adventure movies that are fun and provide a sense of escapism; the adventure is a ride, and the characters are engaging and a treat to hang out with for a couple hours. Titans’ characters, however, are a series of undeveloped lumps whose only functions are to spout out cheesy lines and act as fodder to the various monsters along the way. On top of that, the story is a linear romp through a predictable series of events set out midway through the film. There are no surprises, no twists, and no thrills that differ from the course laid out early on. That’s not a popcorn flick, it’s a Google map.

For a movie that relies heavily on special effects as its main selling point, the finished product was noticeably inconsistent. A showdown with Medusa looked good, but the “epic” battle with The Kraken (a battle hyped and foreshadowed throughout the entire film) was oddly anti-climatic, merely consisting of random footage of Sam Worthington flying around for about three quarters of the sequence. In fact, recent entry, How to Train Your Dragon, had a vaguely similar finale, and achieved a much higher level of suspense and visual awe than Titans did during the entire Kraken centrepiece. I feel the need to repeat that: a battle scene in a child’s movie was more bad-ass than one in a movie about gods, monsters, and a thing that destroys entire civilizations.

Then there’s the 3D version debacle. Clash of the Titans was filmed to be a standard, two-dimensional movie. At the last moment, Warner Brothers decreed that because 3D movies are all the rage (and incredibly profitable), this film would be converted to a makeshift 3D format in post-production. The result according to early viewers? A hodgepodge of overly dim lighting and weird cardboard-like, pop-out effects – a far cry from the organic 3D featured in Avatar that audiences first fell in love with. I chose to view this film’s regular 2D version, and if you absolutely must see it, you should probably do the same.

Clash of the Titans isn’t complete drudgery, but it fails at its main job of effectively providing a fun couple of hours of mindless monster-slaying. Save your cash, skip the clash.

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