Is the 3D version of the new Clash of The Titans movie worth the extra dollars? Jeffrey Harris checks in with his full review.
Directed By: Louis Leterrier Written By: Travis Beacham, Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi, and Lawrence Kasdan; Based on the 1981 movie written by Beverley Cross Runtime: 118 minutes MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for fantasy action violence, some frightening images and brief sensuality.
Perseus - Sam Worthington Zeus - Liam Neeson Hades - Ralph Fiennes Calibos / Acrisius - Jason Flemyng Io - Gemma Arterton Draco - Mads Mikkelson Spyros - Pete Postlethwaite Andremeda - Alexa Davalos
With the success of Avatar, Hollywood is going crazy in bringing back the 3D movies. This is a detriment to the future of cinema with respects to movies like Clash of The Titans. Because of Avatar, movie studios believe they can get away with rushing a big budget studio tentpole into a quick, hacked together 3D conversion process. And that is what causes the lugubrious experience of Clash of The Titans 3D. As far as 3D goes, Clash of The Titans is the worst looking 3D movie I've ever seen.
To the credit of the producers and filmmakers, Clash of The Titans was not conceived or shot for the 3D experience. This decision was of course made because of Avatar. Avatar was in 3D right? So that's what everyone wants to see, right? Well, not like this. The 3D element only ruins what at times looks like a cool looking movie. For a movie that's supposed to be 3D, very little actually looks 3D about it. I saw Captain E-O several weeks ago at Disneyland, and that is better and more of a convincing 3D film than Clash of the Titans. The problem is that despite this being shown in 3D, it does NOT look 3D. The picture seems to have very little depth, even when the dreaded Kraken makes it's long-awaited appearance. Wearing the 3D glasses for the movie only served to make the picture blurrier, fuzzier, darker, and harder to see. This was not an exciting 3D experience that really feels like you can reach out and touch something. The only part of the movie that truly looked 3D was the CG closing credit sequence at the end.
As far as the movie goes, the original 1980's classic of the same name remains the true classic for a reason. The original Clash of The Titans was an epic, romantic, and heroic adventure. There are cheesy and hammy elements, but the movie is so charming and well done you don't care. Titans is charming and cinematic in a way that movies of the present simply cannot measure up. Director Louis Leterrier working from a script by several screenwriters does not truly understand what made the original so great. The new film is similar to the original but it only glosses those similar elements over. Perseus is never truly tested. Everything Perseus needs is simply there for him to take conveniently. The Gods are minor, insignificant characters in this story save for the petty Zeus (Liam Neeson) and the vengeful Hades (Ralph Fiennes).
You see the Gods are angry because humans are starting to provoke and reject the Gods. And the Gods of Olympus, like Zeus, require the love, prayers, and devotion of mankind in order to gain their strength and immortality. Hades is ticked since Zeus left Hades to the Underworld, and Hades conspires to overthrow Zeus (basically ripping off the plot from Disney's 1997 animated Hercules movie). The citizens of the metropolitan city of Argos have torn down the giant statue of Zeus, and in anger Zeus allows Hades to strike back against humanity. In doing so, Hades ends up killing a visiting family of fishermen. The family includes the adult son Perseus (Worthington), the only survivor. Perseus is rescued by Argos soldiers and taken to the king of Argos' court. There Hades kills Queen Cassiopeia for provoking the Gods and claiming her kindly daughter, Andromeda (Davalos), to be more beautiful than Aphrodite. Hades decrees that Argos will be destroyed in 10 days by the Kraken unless Andromeda is sacrificed and reveals to the king that Perseus is a demigod and the son of Zeus. You see Perseus was found as a baby in a coffin at sea with his dead mother by the benevolent fisherman, Spyros (Postlethwaite). Perseus was sired by Zeus disguising himself as a sacrilegious king, Acrisius (Flemyng). Acrisius is deformed for sacrificing the queen and Perseus to the sea and transformed into Calibos.
Guided by the ageless and beautiful sage, Io (Arterton), who has watched over Perseus since birth, Perseus goes on a quest with other Argos soldiers to figure out a way to kill the Kraken. Killing the Kraken would weaken Hades and allow Perseus to get some much desired payback. Arterton looks great and does her best as Io, however the reasoning for why Io is helping Perseus is never given or made clear.
Once again, there are many similar elements in the movie to the original, but the director and screenwriters do not understand what made the original great. The Greek Gods are fairly meaningless and unimportant characters in this movie. While the Gods look really cool they generally say and do nothing. The figurines in the halls of Mt. Olympus representing humanity are there, but they serve no true purpose. They are nothing more than window dressing. Pegasus is in the movie, but Pegasus is just there because the hero needs a ride to fly on a little later. In the most ironic scene of the movie, as Perseus and the other soldiers of Argos prepare to leave and are packing, Perseus happens to pick up Bubo the owl from the original movie in a pile of junk. Perseus asks what Bubo is and is told to leave it and Bubo is tossed aside. I'm sure the writers and filmmakers were tripping over themselves with this clever in-joke and nod to the 1981 original. What's ironic is that this reference more or less feels like an insult against the original movie while Bubo the Owl, say what you will about Bubo, had more charm and endearing qualities than the entirety of this movie. The screenwriters must felt themselves very clever for putting this joke in, when the joke is really this movie.
Sam Worthington once again fails as a leading man. Now Worthington does have strengths. Worthington does have a mean stare and a good look, but that's it. His Perseus is painfully one-note. He's angry, scowling, and focused on his revenge. His would-be romance with Io lacks any chemistry. Worthington simply doesn't demonstrate the romantic and charming qualities that a lead character like Perseus desperately needs. Perseus in this story through his selfishness and focus and rejection of his Godlike heritage gets tons of people killed and this makes Perseus unlikable. And at the end when Perseus is supposed to have his heroic, pre-battle speech, it feels empty and hollow. It's hard to really feel for Perseus as a character when Perseus is barely even established before his family is killed and he's ready to start fighting the Gods and getting revenge.
There seems to be some sort of commentary in this story about religion and worship. However at the start when you see humanity declaring war on the Gods and rejecting the Gods, it sort of makes the citizens and royalty of Argos look like jerks. Spyros' criticizes the Gods for their cruelty against mankind, but is mankind no less cruel than the Gods? Leterrier and the writers don't try going deeper and addressing these things, making their attempt at some sort of profound commentary rather pretentious and preachy.
Now this isn't all bad. The action scenes are at times exciting. The movie at times certainly looks good even as horrible as it looks in 3D. The locations and production design look quite grand and epic. The design for Olympus and the Gods are also well done. The sad thing is, I love stories about Greek mythology. I hate how movies like Troy try and play up the realism and don't include the Gods and mythological parts of the story. This makes the failure in execution of this story all the more saddening because an epic action-adventure movie about Greek mythology is something I've wanted to see for a long time. Instead we get things like Percy Jackson.
I just don't know this movie was forced to be in 3D when the conversion process does the film no favors and only bogs the movie down visually. What sucks the most is through many parts you can not make out creatures like Medusa, the harpies, and the Stygean Witches.
The 411: Do not waste the extra money required to see the movie in 3D. If you must see it, go for the standard 2D version as you will save some money and actually be able to see the movie and watch it the way it was meant to be seen. This is not a 3D film. It's a movie that was forced to be in 3D because of a fad-like trend. While Leterrier and his writers might claim to be fans of the original, they simply cannot recapture that greatness and have made a story that's limp, weak, and lacking in the charm, heroics, and romance of the true classic that was 1981's Clash of the Titans. Instead of this movie, I would stick with God of War 3.