Clash of the Titans (2010)

Directed by Louis Leterrier

Starring Sam Worthington, Gemma Aterton, Ralph Fiennes, Liam Neeson, Danny Huston, Mads Mikkelson

Not since Nancy Kerrigan was knocked in the knee has there been such a hubub over something so unimportant as the late stage 3 D conversion of Clash of the Titans.  There was a 2D version available to see, but critics, including the main man, sure did a lot of bitching about this.  Lost in the shuffle was whether the film was any sort of good.  And it is…above average.

A lot of the hokeyess of the original has been replaced by stoic hokeyness in the remake.  The major plus of the original, Ray Harryhausen’s animation, could never be replaced.  Fortunately for us, though, the treating of humans like pieces on a human chessboard was replaced by direct interactions with the gods on occasion.   The nice thing about this story, though, is that it plays like a series of events, however fantastic, that are happening to real people.  The gist of the story is a power play by Hades to strike at humans, who have opportunistically decided that they are tired of praying to Greek gods.  This causes two things: the death of our hero, Perseus’s (Worthington) adopted family, and a burgeoning war between the humans and the gods.

The latter of these, the war, is intended to bring about conflict between Zeus and his “creations.”  Hades knows that while humans not praying to the gods, makes the gods weaker, overall, his instilling fear in humans makes Hades more powerful, and thus, able to strike revenge on his more powerful brother.  The humans, for their part, move things along by declaring that the gods no longer have any need to them.  This, leads to the instant aging of the queen, again by Hades, and then a declaration that the daughter of the King and Queen’s daughter, Andromeda, will be sacrificed to the big, scary Kracken in 10 days.

So this presses Perseus into action, along with the help of Io, into wandering off to find a way to defeat the Kracken.  Perseus, though, is not an entirely willing participant.  He hates the gods, particularly Hades, for what they did to his family.  He does not, however feel compelled to help the King, Queen or Princess.  Either way, he ends up going with the Praetorian Guard.  The Guard are led by Draco, portrayed with excellent efficiency by Mads Mikkelson, who so excellently played LeChiffe in the last two Bond movies.  He gives a depth and resonance to what could have been a throwaway character.  The rest of the cast is a list of victims, for the most part, but they do a decent job of adding character touches here and there.

Worthington, for his part, is up for the challenges.  His range thus far in Terminator Salvation, Avatar, and this movie, has been that of earnest, press ahead guy.  He does that here, too, but he is good at it.  He does not portray himself as superhuman, although here he is the son of a god.  He takes a beating, but just keeps going.  He is quite a find, and I think he can ride this action hero phase for a while.

The rest of the movie is fine.  Like the humans in the original, the gods and their intentions are moved around like chess pieces here, for purposes of moving the plot along.  It moves along, but ends a little abruptly.  I could have handled another challenge or two, but I think that is residual from the first version of this film.  Also, there needs to be something for the sequels.

(*** out of *****)


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