So, um, Clash of the Titans... yeah...
In a nutshell, the Titans gave birth to the Gods. The Gods killed their parents with the Kraken, a creature created from the flesh of Hades, brother to Zeus. The Gods created Man. And now Man, tired of the tyranny of the Gods, are starting to question their reverence and want to strike back. Hades, who had since been tricked by his brothers Zeus and Poseidon and thus became the king of the underworld, appeals to his brothers and the rest of the Council of the Gods on Mount Olympus to let him strike fear into the hearts of man and, thus, make them begin to pray to them again. Zeus, despite the protestations of his son, Apollo, agrees. Hades goes to Argos, the city that appears to be in the lead in terms of Godly irreverence and announces they have 10 days before the eclipse when the Kraken will be unleashed upon them. The only way to stop the Kraken is to sacrifice Andromeda, daughter of King Cepheus, whom his wife, Cassiopeia, described as having a beauty that put the Gods to shame.
Enter Perseus, a man who, despite being born of the Gods, has his own beef with them because when Hades made the first strike on soldiers of Argos, his adoptive family was killed. Although he won't do it for the people Argos, Io, another Demigod like Perseus, convinces him that it is his destiny to defeat the Gods and that, by doing so, he can face off against Hades and get his revenge.
And the adventure begins.
Yes, that is the plot of the 2010 remake of Clash of the Titans.
Now I'm no scholar of mythology, but I do like to think that I know enough to at least be a threat on Trivial Pursuit. And even I know how much of a bastardization of the story of Perseus is going on here. It's just wrong on so many levels.
So let's put that aside for now and try to think of CotT as a standalone movie. Is it good? Is it exciting? Does it make you want to stand up and cheer? Will you walk out feeling like your money was well spent?
No, somewhat, no, and no.
Despite all the great CGI work and the fast-paced story and whatnot, I was bored. This movie was special effect after special effect all for the sake of special effects. I think the only time I truly enjoyed the effects were during the battle with Medusa. She was pretty badass. Pegasus was well done, too. But that was about it.
With about 15 minutes left, the film broke and they had to fix it. They offered a refund to the people who didn't want to wait the 10 minutes for the film to be fixed and reset. I debated. Yes, I almost walked out during the climactic Kraken battle. Who does that? Me. Someone who was bored to tears. But, just as I was packing up my stuff to go, the film started back up. I should've left.
The last time I was this disappointed by a movie that I had really been looking forward to was Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. And, yes, I did make the connection that Liam Neeson was in both (he plays Zeus in this remake). And this does make me fear The A-Team this summer.
To recap, for those who don't want spoilers, would I recommend this movie? No. Stay away. Stay far away.
Now for some spoilers and finer details (for those of you visiting my site, they are in the extended post; for those of you reading on Facebook or in a feed reader, you will likely be able to see the whole enchilada so leave now if you want to be spared)...
Here are some of my issues with the movie...
I'm usually very forgiving of this sort of film. To me, it's like a biblical epic... so much of it is based on oral history and potentially incorrect translations that there is some wiggle room for interpretation. However, with Clash of the Titans, they've changed so much stuff that is readily recognized Greek mythological canon that it's akin to making a movie where Moses hangs from the Cross and Jesus builds an ark. Then there are other things as well. I'll let you decide where I'm being legit in my complaints and where I'm being petty.
I know that the original Clash of the Titans wasn't 100% accurate having Perseus marry Andromeda before his quest. But it served the purpose of investing Perseus mentally and emotionally in what he was about to do. He had to save the love of his life. In Greek mythology, they marry afterwards.
In this new version, there is no romantic element between them at all. Andromeda is presented as the uber-gorgeous daughter of Cepheus and Cassiopeia who wants nothing more than to help those less fortunate than her. And, to her credit, she does. But there is no romance between her and Perseus. In fact, they meet maybe two or three times and only briefly at that. His only motivation for the quest is revenge, not love, not protection. Given this, and the fact that the people of Argos are all too willing to sacrifice their princess to save their asses, I see no reason why she shouldn't have been given up. Hell, Perseus doesn't even wind up with her after the fact. She asks him to stay and be the new king of Argos. He says no and ride-flies off into the sunset on Pegasus looking more like Batman promising to be the protector of Gotham from enough of a distance to not be involved in the city's day-to-day activities, but close enough to be there in a flash should they need the help.
The biggest problem I had with the Gods in Clash of the Titans was the fact that they were used so little, save for two, and only one of those was an actual Olympian. Zeus (Liam Neeson) had his council on Mount Olympus and, despite that, we heard only from Zeus and Hades (Ralph Fiennes) pretty much the whole time. There were three lines by Poseidon and one line from Apollo. None of the rest even came in focus on the screen. Izabella Miko (Coyote Ugly) was cast, I think, as Athena and IMDb has her listed pretty high on the overall cast list. Never saw her once. No screen time for Thetis at all, and, considering what they did to Calibos' history, I guess this should come as no surprise.
Then there's the whole Zeus-coming-to-Earth-to-provide-guidance-to-or-convince-Perseus-to-join-him-in-Olympus thing. He does this twice. Once after the confrontation with the Stygian Witches and once at the end of the movie. He comes down without his shining coat of armor (which, in all honesty, makes him look like he should be a vampire in Twilight) and has a heart-to-heart with the son who never knew him. It's a bit overdone and completely unnecessary.
I gotta admit that while I genuinely like both Neeson and Fiennes, there was something off about both of them in this. For Neeson, I think it was just that damn shining armor. I miss togas. Gods should wear togas. And Zeus should sit in his throne commanding all those around him while having rays of light beaming from behind him. Neeson, I love ya, but you got nothin' on Laurence Olivier. With regard to Fiennes, maybe it was because his entries and exits on the screen reminded me too much of him as Voldemort in the Harry Potter movies. Stupid stuff like that.
Yes, Calibos was in this movie, but he now has become the only-slightly deformed King Acrisius. According to this retelling, Acrisius was the husband to Danaë who was impregnated by Zeus as payback for his insolence toward the Gods. Acrisius, bummed as he was, threw a coffin containing his wife and her son (Perseus) into the sea. He was struck by lightning and became Calibos.
According to mythology, Acrisius is actually Perseus' grandfather. Legend stated that he was told he would be overthrown by his daughter's son so he had her hidden away from all men. Zeus came down in a golden mist and impregnated her. When Acrisius found out, he had them both thrown in the sea. Not sure what happened to him afterward, though.
Calibos, on the other hand, was the son of Thetis, an Olympian Goddess. Thetis thought her son the most perfect specimen of humanity and that he deserved to marry Andromeda. Zeus, however, didn't much like Calibos because he had hunted and killed many of the creatures that Zeus worked so hard to create including nearly all the winged horses, save for Pegasus. So he mutates Calibos into somewhat of a Satyr. Thetis, pissed off at her son's fate, tells him that he must seek vengeance against Zeus by killing Perseus.
Sam Worthington may be Hollywood's "It Boy" right now with his roles in Terminator: Salvation and Avatar, but I'm just not seeing it. For as big and buff as he is, he came off as a whiner in this movie. "I'm just a fisherman!" How many times do we need to be reminded that your entire life consisted of fishing and mending nets. Jesus Christ. However, when he needs to fight, his battle skills are mysteriously there or as one of his soldier escorts says, "there is a God inside you." Oh that's handy.
Harry Hamlin was not nearly the same level of stud that Worthington is, but at least he accepted his fate and went about what needed to be done to, well, git 'r done. Perseus honed his skills his entire life, becoming a stronger man every day. He practiced his equestrian skills, swordfighting, fishing, etc. This was how he became the warrior and hero that Argos needed.
I won't even go into the hair flap.
According to Greek mythology, Io was a beautiful woman that Zeus lusted after and had his way with. When Zeus' wife Hera went to investigate, he hid Io by turning her into a cow. Hera had Io brought to her gardens for safekeeping.
Perseus did receive gifts from the Gods much like in the original movie. In this case, it was only a sword and Pegasus. There was no reflective shield (that came from the hunter pair that traveled with them - seriously, who the hell were they?) and no helmet of invisibility. Much like the whiner that Perseus has become in this movie, he shuns the sword saying that he is partaking in this quest for mankind and wants no help at all from the Gods. Whatever, dude. Yet he had no problem relying on his God-given fighting skills without ever really training to hone them. Hypocrisy is not dead in Argos.
As stated earlier, Pegasus was awesome. The wings were incredible looking and the flight sequences were pretty well done even if the director did rely on them a bit too heavily for thrill factor at the end.
The sword bugged me a bit, though. Instead of just being a really cool looking soldier-style sword, he instead picks up what appears to be a glowing silver dildo in the forest. Damn nymphs dropping their toys again. Then, in his hand only, the blade emerges much like a lightsaber. I guess Perseus has got the right touch, I dunno.
Scorpions and Djinn
Thankfully, the scorpions still spawned from the blood of Calibos' severed hand. This time, though, there were several and they were huge and they were completely badass and the soldiers killed three before the Djinn -- some weird race of really tall mystical creatures that can summon blue fireballs -- showed up and used their powers to control them. Huh? Yeah. Before you knew it, the soldiers and Djinn were riding (yes, riding) the scorpions like pack mules to the Stygian Gardens. So much for "badass."
Speaking of creatures, there was no Cerberus to defeat outside Medusa's lair and only an off-handed reference to Bubo the mechanical owl when Perseus finds it in a pile of discarded weapons in the Argos soldier locker room. While the reference to Bubo was intended to be a nod to the original for diehards, it failed pitifully. It marginalized the character to nothing more than a worthless piece of scrap metal. So sad.
The scariest thing about this movie is that the ending left it open just enough for a sequel. I wonder what other mythology they can bastardize.