All greek to me

May 15, 2010

One way to not be disappointed with a movie is to not have high expectations.

If one adopts such an approach when going to watch Clash of the Titans, it might actually turn out to be an entertaining affair. Of course, it is slightly harder to do that, since this movie is a remake of the memorable 1981 original, a film not easily forgotten. This is not because it was a stupendously good film, but that it was a trailblazer in its day, along with being an entertaining romp. Significantly, it was one of the last examples of the mythic genre.

The Lord of the Rings, Transformers, Troy and Transporter are some of the films that come to mind when watching this film. It appears the director has tried to incorporate elements from all these movies, without attempting to do much thinking of his own. Perseus’ dialogue is only released from the grip of extreme cheesiness in moments that seem to have been stolen from The Lord of the Rings. The giant scorpions look as if at any minute they shall morph into robots as in Transformers. More often than not, Perseus is seen jumping at his opponents in the same way in which Brad Pitt struck his enemies in Troy.

It is no wonder that one watches this film while playing ‘’pick the original source’’ in one’s head, the scenes speed past you too fast for anyone to be able to concentrate on things like performance and narrative suspense. Sam Worthington, as Perseus, is cast, yet again, as not entirely human (this following from his performance as the human who becomes a blue alien in Avatar) with his paternity of divine origins. Not that the film gave him half a chance, but the man’s not a bad actor, would that one might see him on a canvas where he might be allowed to display some of his talent. Some may wonder at his Australian accent in the midst of ancient Greece, admittedly.

Other lead characters include the god of god’s, Zeus and the dark lord Hades played by Liam Neeson and thespian Ralph Fiennes respectively. Now, you may wonder how much they paid Neeson to actually put on a dress but then you may as well ask him how much they paid him to star in this stinker. Other characters include Io, (a new addition to the 80s original), who is not only ageless, but also immune to extreme weather conditions, considering what she wears. The CGI aspects of the movie are impressive in moments.

The dreaded Kraken, that the entire cast quails in fear of, appears for all of seven minutes, seven terribly impressive minutes. But while the Kraken looks great, the overall graphics are disappointing with the 2-D appearances of Hades, and the backgrounds that do not blend in with the placement of the actors.

Clash of the Titans features no stunning performances, no memorable one-liners, it is inaccurate myth-wise, it features plot holes aplenty, some hints of racism, and the wardrobe department really ought to be fed to the Kraken. Nonetheless, as long as you watch it in a cinema with someone willing to listen to your constant griping, it could prove to be a surprisingly entertaining experience.

Published in the Express Tribune, May 16th, 2010.


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