For what it is, Clash of the Titans isn’t a bad movie.
The battle and action scenes are arresting enough; the computer-generated imaging works well.
If you can hark back to the days of sitting in the balcony, munching popcorn at the Saturday matinée, the film should satisfy fairly well. Just don’t expect much in the way of character development or clarity of plot line.
The film opens at sea, where soldiers of the Greek city of Argos are battling warbirds sent by the gods of Olympus. It seems that mankind, for reasons that are never made quite clear, has declared war on the gods, and is now being subjected to heavenly retaliation.
We see the stepfather of the film’s hero, Perseus, complaining about lousy fishing as he raises his nets, but that hardly seems justification for all-out war against the Olympian hosts. Shortly after, his boat is sunk, and he dies along with his wife and daughter.
Only Perseus, as played by Avatar‘s Sam Worthington, survives, and we soon learn of his true origins. He’s the product of a coupling between Zeus, the supreme ruler of Olympus, and a mortal woman named Danae, who is cast into the sea in a coffin with her baby by her cuckholded husband, Acrisius.
Perseus is unaware of his demigod status, until Hades, the god of the underworld, played by Ralph Fiennes, descends upon the city of Argos to destroy it. Perseus, invulnerable to Hades’ wrath, is left standing.
For the city’s disrespect of the gods, Zeus issues through Hades an ultimatum: sacrifice the princess Andromeda to the gods, or the Kraken will be released to finish off Hades’ work on the city.
Before his ultimate battles with the Medusa and the Kraken, Perseus must first cross the underground river Styx with the skeletal ferryman Chiron, as well as undergo the torments of giant scorpions. He’s watched over in his quest by another demigod, Io, a woman who has protected him since birth.
To complicate matters further, he must steer clear of the treacheries of Hades, who is secretly plotting a coup to overthrow Zeus from his throne.
There’s really only one respect in which this remake of the original 1981 film of the same title surpasses its predecessor, and that’s the battle scenes.
The wonders of CGI put the stop-action animation and miniature models of the original’s special-effects master Ray Harryhausen to shame. But then again, the 2010 remake lacks the lyrical quality of the 1981 version, and Liam Neeson’s portrayal of Zeus can’t really touch Laurence Olivier’s.
One interesting footnote: this is apparently one instance where Whitehorse moviegoers can actually be thankful they don’t have access to 3-D. Reputedly, the producers made such a botch of converting Clash of the Titans to 3-D in post-production, that it’s much more watchable in standard format.
Anyone who gets out to Vancouver can judge for themselves.