Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Clash of the Titans

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
Profanity:None
Nudity/Sex:Brief nudity, including nursing mother, Andromeda getting out of the bath.
Alcohol/Drugs:None
Violence/Scariness:Bloody combat with swords, scary monsters, characters killed
Diversity Issues:Andromeda is rather spirited, insisting on accompanying Perseus for part of quest, but she is still pretty much an old-fashioned damsel in distress
Movie Release Date:1981

Director Louis Leterrier (the second “Hulk” movie) says that he was a big fan of the 1981 Clash of the Titans when he was a child. Perhaps that is why he has remade the wrong parts of that film. Nearly 30 years later, fans of the film are willing to overlook its essential cheesiness because of their affection for its special place at the apex of old-school analog special effects before the rise of computer-generated images. People did not watch the movie to see classically trained British actors slumming for a paycheck; they watched it to see the last creatures created by special effects superstar Ray Harryhausen. Each one was meticulously crafted and, as often happened in Harryhausen films, they often seemed more alive than the human performers. Note, too, that the movie was shot in 2D and then reconfigured after the fact for 3D, a very different effect than the fully-realized, fully-immersive experience of a movie conceived and shot in 3D.

This remake is bigger and grander but it is missing just that sense of life that Harryhausen brought to his fantastic creations, which were always astonishing and unique. Instead, we get the same CGI-fest we have seen so many times, with nothing especially imaginative or memorable.

The same can be said for this generation of classically-trained British actors, including Liam Neeson as Zeus, in a shiny (and anachronistic) Joan of Arc-style suit of armor and Ralph Fiennes as Hades, the god of the underworld, dressed like a Norwegian death metal band member trying to play Richard III. They are the titans who clash by proxy.

The gods need the loyalty of humans to survive. Zeus insists that they will get more fealty with love; Hades, still bitter and jealous that it is his brother who is king of the gods, believes in ruling by fear. The winner of their battle will be decided by a fight to the death of their progeny. Perseus (Sam Worthington in an even more anachronistic buzz cut) is Zeus’s son; the sea monster called the Kraken is the child of Hades. The arrogant king and queen of Argos have committed the sin of hubris, thinking they are more important and powerful than the gods. So Hades tells them that he will destroy the city unless they sacrifice their daughter, Andromeda to the Kraken. Perseus is determined to fight the Kraken and save the princess. And he is determined to “fight as a man,” not to use any of the powers or tools of the gods because he blames Zeus for the death of his mother and his adoptive parents.

With a small band of allies, Perseus travels to the three Stygian witches, who share one eye, to find out how to defeat the dragon. The journey involves battles with giant scorpions and trip into the underworld to fight the serpentine Medusa, the snake-headed lady whose eyes can turn a person to stone. And then, he must make it back to Argos in time to save Andromeda and defeat the giant sea monster, to the tune of some even more anachronistic rock chords.

The effects would be more impressive than the original’s only if you were still living in 1981. Today we take for granted that anything is possible on screen. But possible is not good enough; there has to be something truly striking. The witches and desert djinns look like they are wearing Halloween masks and the creatures look like variations on one predictable theme. There is a demigoddess whose powers seem to vary from scene to scene. The liberties taken with the original myths and the 1981 version’s story seem purposeless. And Worthington just seems lost, as though he wandered in from the set of “Avatar” and is looking around for the exit. I know how he felt.



Previous Posts

Guardians of the Galaxy
The summer movie you've been waiting for has arrived, a joyous space romp that all but explodes off the screen with lots of action and even more charm. Our recent superheros have been complex, often anguished, even downright tortured. It has been a while since we've had a charming rogue with a ba

posted 5:59:33pm Jul. 31, 2014 | read full post »

Get on Up
There are a lot of challenges in taking on the life story of James Brown, known variously as the Hardest Working Man in Show Business, the Godfather of Soul, Mr. Dynamite and others with vari

posted 5:59:21pm Jul. 31, 2014 | read full post »

Magic in the Moonlight
Woody Allen's 44th film is an amuse bouche without a meal, a dollop of whipped cream without the dessert underneath.  In last year's film, "Blue Jasmine," the strength of the performances (especially Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett) and the resonance of its Bernie Madoff-ish crossed with "Streetcar Nam

posted 5:58:31pm Jul. 31, 2014 | read full post »

Exclusive Clip: Behind the Scenes on "Calvary"
Brendan Gleeson gives a magnificent performance as a warm-hearted priest in a sad and damaged world in "Calvary," opening next week across the country.  Here's an exclusive peek behind the scenes, featuring Gleeson and Director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies Sister Rose Pacatte. [iframe

posted 3:45:01pm Jul. 31, 2014 | read full post »

Tonight: The Last of Our Pre-Code Series, Jean Harlow in "Red Headed Woman"
Tonight is the last of the Pre-Code films Margaret Talbot and I will be presenting at Washington D.C.'s Hill Center.  And it's a doozy, Jean Harlow in "Red Headed Woman."  We'd love to see you there. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATDif96J5Ms[/youtube] Margaret and I will be back a

posted 3:37:33pm Jul. 31, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.