In the new iteration of Clash of the Titans, when hero Perseus and other Argon warriors are preparing for their quest to fight the Kraken he holds up an awkward looking mechanical owl and asks what it is for. Draco, the leader of these warriors tells him to leave it behind; they will have no need for it where they are going. Actually the owl in question is a replica of Bubo the Golden Owl that appeared in the original 1981 Clash of the Titans. That film became a cult classic because of its fun, silly charm mostly due to Ray Harryhausen’s dazzling special effects and animation, of which Bubo was a part. In the new version, brought to glossy, 3-D, computer generated life by director Louis Leterrier, when the Grecian sword monkeys leave behind Bubo they are saying this isn’t your daddy’s Clash of the Titans; they don’t need any of that outdated stop motion; get ready for a screeching, mind numbing epic of deity-rific proportions; and don’t expect any of that charm or wit or fun of the original because boy is it not here.
This new version finds Perseus (the seemingly ubiquitous Sam Worthington), the demi-god son of Zeus (Liam Neeson), on a crusade to save the city of Argon from the wrath of the Gods, in particular Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and his gargantuan hit man, the Kraken. When Perseus and his honor guard of Argonaut misfits set off to get the only thing that will kill the giant leviathan, the head of Medusa, they run into all sorts of monsters hell-bent on thwarting their noble cause. All the while Hades tries to pull some Illiad-esque Olympian infighting, but ends up doing little more than rasping his way through the banal dialogue.
This film depends less on plot, of which there is little, or character, of which there is less, and rather is hoisted on its own petard of special effects. From the deformed Satyr Acrisius to the one eyed witches every thing looks as though the creature designers went to a screening of Lord of the Rings and took copious notes. Not to say that they weren’t well done, but everything in the picture just seems like it has been done before.
This just renders the whole ordeal colossally uninteresting. That isn’t helped by Sam Worthington who rivals Harry Hamlin’s portrayal of Perseus for the Oak Tree Prize for Wooden Acting (if such a thing existed). Short on personality or any sense of humor Titans is little more than one action sequence after another tied together by a fairly thin sword and sandal mythology. Writers Travis Beacham, Phil Hay & Matt Manfredi take so many liberties with the Ancient Greek canon that Joseph Campbell may in fact rise from the grave to rain down retribution for their infidelities.
With so many recognizable faces in the supporting cast it seems like numerous subplots utilizing their talents must have been left on the cutting room floor. In the beginning when Andromeda (Alexa Davalos), the princess of Argon, and Perseus first meet Draco (Mads Mikkelson) pummels the demi-god in a jealous fervor. However the setup is never made good on, and in the end makes one wonder what was the point of the beat entirely. Danny Huston has one line as Poseidon then disappears for the rest of the movie, making for a purely distracting cameo, and making me wait for him to return to the screen to shower the audience with his smarmy Huston perfection.
The one saving grace that the film was supposed to have was the highly advertised 3-D, however because the movie was originally intended to be in paltry 2-D the extra dimension adds nothing, and exists as little more than an after thought. The conversion process that is being done to a lot of movies this year is nothing more than a marketing gimmick, and adds nothing to the actual picture, and as such Clash of the Titans is a bit of a bore in any dimension.
El Luchador Rating: 2 out of 5
Review By: Paul S. Myers (a.k.a. El Luchador)