Unreal Movie Review: Clash of the Titans


Ever since I heard that Hollywood was developing a movie featuring a demi-god hero with a bone to pick with Zeus and the other Greek gods, and it WASN’T God of War, I’ve been a bit predisposed to be annoyed with Clash of the Titans.

It’s instead a remake of an early ‘80s B-movie with special effects that were decent for the time, but inevitably appear to be a joke now. But Hollywood wanted to revamp the thing into a big-budget, A-list, 3D blockbuster, thus fulfilling the new-era movie-pitch catchphrase, “if it can be made once, it can be made again.”

It would seem that the days of the B-movie are gone, relegated only to parody/homage projects that Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez put together in their spare time. But with Clash of the Titans, I’m proud to announce that the B-movie is back. Bad dialogue, iffy special effects and a rushed plot arc destroy any chance this movie has to be a full-fledged blockbuster, and is instead almost a parody of the genre.


“Epic” is word that rarely comes to mind during this film.

Thankfully I avoided the movie in 3D, so I can skip the requisite paragraph I’ve read in every other review bemoaning the horribly rushed effects where the filmmakers essentially used a pair of scissors and some glue to cut out and replace pieces of the film to give it some semblance of dimension and warrant a $5 ticket hike. This practice should be abolished and is borderline criminal, but I’ll save that rant for another day.

The titular hero of the film is Hollywood’s new go-to blank slate, Sam Worthington, who does a very convincing of job having muscles and swinging a sword, but it’s quite obvious the man was a bricklayer in Australia a few years ago. There’s no spark, no charisma, just a face making sounds. Gerard Butler might have done nothing more than yell lines and heave spears when he made his ancient Greek debut in 300, but that character was memorable, forceful and charismatic. Worthington’s Perseus is none of those things, and I’m having trouble remembering even one line he said in the film.

After humanity pisses off the gods by knocking over their impossibly large statues, the gods conspire how best to strike back at the ungrateful humans. Zeus (Liam Neeson) turns to his brother Hades (Ralph Fiennes) who says he’ll release his pet Kraken to wipe the insolent city of Argos off the map.


Shouldn’t the Kraken belong to Poseidon? 

In the initial pre-Kraken assault that follows, Hades wipes out Perseus’ family and when he survives and is dragged in to meet the king, it’s revealed that Perseus, who inexplicably floated up from the depths of the ocean one day, is actually the son of Zeus, and half a god himself.

The royal court of Cassiopeia, Andromeda and a bunch of other people we’ve named constellations and galaxies after commission demi-god Perseus to figure out a way to kill the Kraken before the deadline that requires Princess Andromeda to be sacrificed to appease Zeus in a few short days, lest the city be ravaged by the giant sea beast.


Get in my belly!

Perseus sets off with a rag-tag crew of Argosian soldiers, the most interesting of which is Mads Mikkelsen who reminds us that he’s still a badass after all these years, even if he is showing up with a ridiculous haircut and very little to do. Also trailing Perseus is Io (Gemma Arterton), an immortal who has been watching over Perseus since birth, but only reveals herself to him now that he’s grown up and bangable.

The goal is to trek across the desert to find Medusa, you know, that snake-haired chick that turns people to stone? By cutting off her head Perseus believes he can statue-fy the Kraken when it shows up, and teach the gods a thing or two about f*cking with humanity.

Along the way, Perseus fights some giant scorpions and meets some extra-terrestrial looking sandpeople who really don’t factor into the plot at all and would appear to belong in a different film entirely as I’m pretty sure I had one of them in my crew while playing Mass Effect. The giant scorpion battle surrounding this part of the film is decently intense, but once Medusa shows up, the CGI goes from decent to horrifying, and the battle is a mess with Medusa’s scare terrifying not because of her stone gaze, but rather because her face is a cautionary tale about the evils of the Uncanny Valley of humanoid animation


No, just no. 

The Kraken is decently cool, and masterwork of artistic design (at least the parts we actually get to see of him). It’s just a shame that his ultimate destruction is so anti-climactic, and it seems like that was an action sequence that could have been something to behold had it not been cut short. In fact, only a week ago, I witnessed an aerial monster battle 10x more exciting to this one, but it was in the kid’s flick, How to Train your Dragon, whose expert use of 3D made the experience exhilarating rather than a short-lived bore. James Cameron would have probably had a field day with this sequence, but Letterier his tech team just aren’t up to the challenge.

It’s pretty shocking how many big names actors are attached to this project, and how even their combined might can’t salvage what is a pretty horribly put-together film. You watch Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes yelling about punishment and adoration while dressed up in silly beards and suits of armor made up entirely of lens flares, and you just want to ask them, “What are you guys doing here?” Neeson’s Zeus attempting to correctly project “thunderous” with every word and Fiennes’ Hades rasping like he has an undead cat in his throat are the most inadvertently comical sections of the film, and even more so when you realize that the last time these two appeared onscreen together was in Schindler’s List.


“We’ve come a long way friend.”

If you’re going to remake a movie for no other reason to upgrade the visual effects, then at least make sure that part of the film is what shines the most. Instead, Titan’s tech is too inconsistent, and if Cameron or hell, even Michael Bay’s FX team had a crack at it, and this thing was filmed in 3D properly, it at least could have been fun on an eye-candy level.

But no, the visuals of the film are mediocre at best, and events that could have truly been awesome are hampered by the fact that you know they could have been way cooler had they been filmed in Avatar-style 3D. When the most believeable piece of CGI in your high budget monster movie is correctly splicing wings onto a horse, that’s not really something you can sell the film on. And without impressive visuals, all you’re left with is a hurried, poorly acted and written story that throws pieces of Greek mythology to a wall to see what sticks.

Here’s to hoping God of War doesn’t someday suffer the same fate.

1.5 out of 5 stars

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  1. I actually enjoyed the movie. I know I’m going to get flamed for this, but I thought it was better than avatar. This movie at least didn’t try to jam some liberal agenda down my throat … and I’m a liberal…

    Anyways, I thought the action pieces were well done, the story needs some work, but hey you don’t go to these kind of movies expecting a story…

  2. You know the problem with movies like this?

    “Anyways, I thought the action pieces were well done, the story needs some work, but hey you don’t go to these kind of movies expecting a story…”

    You know what, that shouldn’t be the case. We should expect a good story. Too many potentially great films get away with shitty writing because “hey, we don’t go to these for the story.” Bullshit. There should always be at least a clear attempt by the filmmakers to tell a good story. Just because it’s a blockbuster effects film doesn’t give it a free pass to have a terrible story.

  3. This movie utterly failed me when I watched it a couple of nights ago. I’m a busy medical student, whose precious two hours of relaxation was completely tainted by this absolute mockery of a film based on Greek mythology. It started out convincingly enough, but I think it plummetted very quickly. It actually numbed my brain right there in the middle… and I would never wish this film on anyone wanting to get even a faint feeling like those that were inspired in the likes of 300, Jason and the Argonauts, Conan the Barbarian etc.. I felt the main actor was a complete moron, with no charisma or personlity. All in all, more than a waste of time: it was painful.

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