“But you are not just a man.”
I settled on the 2D version of Clash of the Titans as the film times suited better. This is a hugely effects-based film, and you can spot the sections where the 3D would “enhance” things. Most of them look rather forced. Actually, most of the film is rather forced.
I’ll be fair – I saw the film at a 7pm showing having had four hours’ sleep, getting to bed at 7am that morning. This may not have helped, but my cine-going companion shared almost all of my views and she’d had a decent night’s kip. Both of us summed it up at the end with “Hmmm” and a shrug. Not what you want from an explosive action epic.
I think we’re hitting an problem with films made up predominantly of special effects. We’ve seen it all before, quite often in the trailers. The one for Clash shows the giant scorpions and the Kraken – the huge beastie from the climax. They’re impressively done… but they just don’t seem “special”. I mean, how many films have you seen over the last year with some huge CGI monster in it? I’ve seen loads.
While the effects are very well done, the overall impression of the film is pretty scrappy. I don’t know whether it’s deliberate but the giant scorpion battle scene is reminiscent of the old Harryhausen epics in more than just idea. While the monsters are somewhat better animated than the old stop-motion ones, they don’t seem to fit on the screen properly, seeming a bit washed out. I seem to remember the old chroma key techniques giving the same unwanted effect.
As has been pointed out in a load of other reviews, this is a film that was crying out for a remake with modern technology. I love the original, but it’s fair to say the animated monsters are a little dated. However, it’s far better scripted and less ostentatious than this modern effort. One bit that really tipped me against the new one was a near-throwaway moment. Perseus picks up a mechanical owl from a box and asks what it is. He’s told to just leave it. To me, that seemed more of a slap in the face to Harryhausen’s original than a homage.
Much as you can say it looks better than the 1981 film, it simply isn’t a better piece of entertainment. I think a lot of it boils down to it being far too simple. They’ve taken a masterpiece of theatre – such that the original was – and turned it into a low-brow, effect-heavy show reel.
The gods look incredibly gay (PC police – sod off) with their over-shiny armour. Except Hades who, in fairness, has some awesome effects related to his appearance – much as the same character did in the recent Percy Jackson film. Liam Neeson manages to utter a wonderfully commanding “Release the Kraken!” but otherwise, the dialogue just isn’t up to much.
I’ll finish with some dialogue from the end of the original. Theatrical? Perhaps. But isn’t that how gods should be? There is simply nothing in this updated version to compare. For more, check out the IMDB quotes page for the 1981 film. Gorgeous prose.
Zeus: Perseus has won. My son has triumphed.
Hera: A fortunate young man.
Zeus: Fortune is ally to the brave.
Thetis: What a dangerous precedent. What if there more heroes like him? What if courage and imagination became everyday mortal qualities? What will become of us?
Zeus: We would no longer be needed. But, for the moment, there is sufficient cowardice, sloth and mendacity down there on Earth to last forever.
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