Thursday, 1 April 2010
FILM REVIEW: CLASH OF THE TITANS
The 1981 film version of Clash of the Titans used stop motion animation to depict the creatures – among them Pegasus the flying horse, sea monster the Kraken, and a mechanical owl (don't ask me!) – of Greek mythology. In 2010, CGI and 3D replace the stop motion and while the mechanical owl makes a brief appearance, he's quickly put away as is any sense of fun, for Louis Leterrier's (he directed 2008's The Incredible Hulk) version of the trials of Perseus is a rather po-faced affair.
Perseus (Sam Worthington, not even attempting to hide his Aussie accent), the recently orphaned son of a fisherman, learns that he is in fact a demi-god; the result of a tryst between a human woman and the god of all the heavens, Zeus (Liam Neeson, donning a suit of armour fashioned from the ancient Greek equivalent of mirror balls).
Zeus and his fellow gods are not happy. The humans have forsaken them for which Hades, black sheep brother of Zeus and ruler of the Underworld, thinks the humans should be taught a lesson. Hades (Ralph Fiennes, all ham and hiss, no doubt polishing his Voldermort act for the final installments of the Harry Potter saga) threatens the city of Argos with destruction by the Kraken, unless the people of Argos sacrifice their princess.
Perseus and a group of soldiers of Argos (Argonauts?), including Mads Mikkelson (the Danish actor barely recognisable here) and Nicholas Hoult (butching-up after his role in A Single Man), and Io (Gemma Arterton), a woman who has watched over Perseus all his life, having been cursed with agelessness (a condition that apparently comes with a speech impediment given the auto cue delivery that Arterton employs), make their way cross country in search of Medusa; her ability to turn flesh to stone the only weapon able to stop the Kraken.
There are allusions to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, with sweeping shots of mountainscapes as the Perseus-led “fellowship” makes its journey but this Clash of the Titans is no epic. Indeed, its surprisingly short running time (105 minutes) could well be one of its few saving graces.
Perhaps I'm being a tad harsh; as escapist popcorn fare, you could do worse on a cheap Tuesday. But trust me, there is absolutely no reason to see Titans in its 3D version for there is nothing visually spectacular about it. Not even Sam Worthington in a leather skirt – and the possibility of him unleashing his own Kraken – can justify the extra expense.