Thursday, April 1, 2010

MovieSet: Clash of the Titans

One of the most entertaining aspects of cinema is the opportunity for spectacle. I’m all for nuanced character studies and intricate dialog scenes. Some of the greatest films of all time are like that, but within the same medium are the films that are much grander in scale.

With both ends of the cinematic spectrum, there is still a responsibility to give the audience something new. It is worth noting that as of this review, I haven’t seen the original Clash of the Titans but I believe the new one accomplishes this goal. It takes familiar aspects of Greek mythology and made it into a fun (pre)summer movie.

Perseus (Sam Worthington) is half-god and half-man therefore is the only one who can save Argos from the wrath of the gods. Zeus (Liam Neeson) is tired of the disloyalty of mankind so Hades (Ralph Fiennes) encourages them to strike terror in order to gain back their love. So Perseus and a team of soldiers only have a few days to figure out how to save the city before Zeus….RELEASES THE KRACKEN.

Of course this information isn’t written in a book. (That only happens in movies Jennifer’s Body or The Wolf Man) They have to cross deserts where there are giant deadly scorpions and encounter the trickery of the Medusa. These are obvious set-pieces, but the reason the entire film succeeds is because they are effective. The action is vibrant and exciting. There is allowed to be intelligence in action and audiences pick up on that. There is a reason why someone can name their favorite action scene in Casino Royale but can’t recall one in particular from Quantam of Solace. The action in Clash may still be edited quicker than I would prefer, but there is still a sense of location where you know where everybody is and what the fight looks like.

This is the proper way to handle Greek mythology. A few months ago I was very frustrated with Percy Jackson for all of its missed opportunities. Clash not only uses all of its elements with ease, but also creates a great sense of tone. Yes, a lot of the lines are a bit campy, but everybody is on the same page. Veteran actors Neeson and Fiennes are fun as they are playing off some of their former characters. (It’s basically Qui-Gon Jin and Voldemort as brothers.) The real acting standout is Geema Arterton as Io, the spiritual guide to Perseus. She’s a mysterious character who has dynamic screen presence. In a movie where you’re just waiting to see the next monster, I wanted to know more about her.

The wide landscapes and impressive CGI are the feat to see on the silver screen, but surprisingly I would not recommend seeing it in 3D. That is how I saw it and it seemed irrelevant. I do not believe they intended it to be in 3D when they were filming so it was added in post-production. The end result just ends up diluting the colors. Seeing this in 3D would be a waste of money; seeing it in 2D wouldn’t be.


  1. MY GOD MAN!!!! our relationship is over.... I am a little sad.. I thought you might "get" it.

    by the way, you should really watch the original, which is a good movie.

  2. Ha. I've disappointed you again!

    I saw the original a few days after this screening and I was actually a bit disappointed. There are a lot of charming elements to the original but there were some disappointing parts to the story. Its structure was a bit of an oddity which ended up hurting the suspense. Like how oddly the gifts from Zeus was used or the fact the kracken attacks twice. Still a fun movie though.

  3. I'm watching the original right now. I can't believe this movie came out in 1981. It hasn't aged well, but neither have I. maybe thats why I am more forgiving to it. ( I really like it)

  4. And to be fair to you......... I have quite enjoyed many of your articles and reviews, Thats why I had such high hopes for you...

    Average, good, great or perfect movies, Im ok with a wide range of differing opinions. There is no accounting for good taste. Things speak differently to everyone. but we can all agree on the quality.

    Now a bad film(Knowing), a terrible film (avatar), Or the worst, most insulting film (Phantom Menace). etc etc etc. THIS IS WHERE YOU REALLY GAIN INSIGHT INTO SOMEONE. Certain movies, music, books, exist for those of us that "get it" to easily avoid or dismiss those who dont, without ever having to be rude or enter into discussions of why.

    real world example: first date. I am a 7, she is a high 9! My lucky night!! Great dinner and walk at the river. Conversation slightly limited and more flirty and chemistry based on the hot attraction between the two of us. She wants to bring it back to my house and watch a movie, SCORE! I ask "what would you like to watch? I have lots of films at my house".. Her response, "Ill stop by my house and pick up a couple of my favorites, we will watch one of these"

    Long story short, she brought me Twilight, and a 5min explanation of why the film was so good, why it meant alot to her.

    I will do many things, but I will not do this. I have standards. Date over...........

    Pull yourself together Lugar, you can still recover.

  5. Thank you for the compliment, but I think you're taking the idea of different opinions too powerfully. I hope you really didn't end a date because she pulled out Twilight. I did just see that movie for the first time a few weeks ago and, yes, I disliked it as much as I feared. I think it's a terrible movie but that wouldn't be the deciding factor in how I see a person. Many of my girl friends (and former girlfriends) like Twilight and most of them are very intelligent people. Disagreement is fun for the discussion, not the dismissing. Like in my videos, I do believe the Snob is almost always wrong.