The remake of 1981’s “Clash of the Titans” may have reached the top of the box office this weekend, but this “Transformers”-esque take on Ancient Greek mythology (It’s the Hellenicons!) will never top the original. And I’m not just saying that from a place of nostalgia; this was “Crap of the Titans,” as one friend proclaimed as the credits rolled.
A remake, by its very nature, is derivative, but this “Clash” was clearly put together by committee, picking and choosing elements from recent popular films to ensure these “Titans” blockbuster status, changing the original’s storyline almost entirely. Let’s call it movie mad libs or box office brainstorming. Shall we play? (Warning: Spoilers to come, but they might keep you from spoiling an evening.)
Welcome to today’s meeting. We have selected “Clash of the Titans” to remake since it will elicit immense nostalgia amongst 30 year olds, creating a built-in audience with a guaranteed opening weekend, but will also play to their children.
Now, let’s change the storyline drastically so we can shoehorn in Voldemort … er, Ralph Feinnes as Hades so that he can play against his “Schindler’s List” co-star Liam Neeson as Zeus. Oscar cred! And, we have to get that ever-broody Sam Worthington fellow; he’s “Avatar”-hot right now and no one will care about his Australian accent amongst all the British thespians. People will totally buy him as a guy who just wants to be fishing. Totally.
We definitely have to give it some of that “300” gritty realism. Of course, it can’t be too gritty, or we’ll alienate the young kids, so we’ll throw in a comic, yet heroic, duo to be the “Timon” and “Pumbaa” of the film. And we can’t forget about those gals, so we’ll bring priestess/nymph Io into the Perseus myth as a strong woman and love interest; kind of a “Buffy the Kraken Slayer.”
We need some multi-culturalism, not to mention a contrived way to get out of the requisite bloated action sequence, so we’ll kill two birds with one stone by adding the Islamic Djinn, or genie. But let’s have them look like the giant tree-like Ents from “Lord of the Rings.” I mean, who didn’t like the “Lord of the Rings?” And how about adding a Hindu-esque Sadhu-like holy man to move the story along since we’ve now eliminated any role for the antagonist goddesses from the original.
In fact, let’s just eliminate the role of most of the gods as well. Sure, we’ll give Apollo and Poseidon a line or two, but no one need care about the rest of the Pantheon: this movie is modern 21st-century humanism, it’s all about humanity triumphing over the gods! So, yeah, let’s then make Calibos human, not a demi-god. Heck, we’ve already stripped his mother, Thetis, completely out of the film, so let’s make him the baddie, but a baddie who comes around to support Perseus in the end.
And speaking of Calibos, let’s eliminate that whole riddle to marry the Princess Andromeda bit; audiences don’t have the attention span for riddles anymore. Speaking of the riddle, let’s just have Perseus dis the princess after saving her from the Rancor-like Kraken, refuse to become king, and run off with Io. Plus, we’ll throw in one reference to the original–how about that tin owl thing?–feature Neeson “releasing the Kraken” in the ad campaign, and clumsily back it in to the new 3-D technology to jump on that bandwagon.
Oh, and Pegasus is gonna be black. And, that should do it.
Yes, the original “Clash of the Titans” itself was a mash-up of Greek mythology, and a touch of Scandanavian (the Kraken), but it was far truer to the original story than this disjointed pabulum. But, most importantly, it had more soul. Even with Mt. Olympus looking like Studio 54, the Ray Harryhausen stop motion animation effects in a post-“Star Wars” era and the gently-nibbling-the-scenery performances of the scions of British stage and screen–Sir Laurence Olivier and Dame Maggie Smith to name two–imbued the original with a timelessness that the current incarnation will not enjoy.