Wednesday, 7 April 2010
Clash of the Titans (2010)
Dir: Louis Leterrier (The Incredible Hulk (2008), The Transporter 2)
Cast: Sam Worthington, Gemma Arterton, Mads Mikkelson, Ralph Fiennes, Liam Neeson, Nicholas Hoult, Alexa Davalos, Pete Postlethwaite
Seen: April 3, 2010 at AMC Y&D in 2D
Reason to Watch & Review: For the Sword & Sandal Marathon*
To say I was excited when I finally got to sit down in the theatre to see Clash of the Titans (2010) would be an understatement. After doing a whole Sword & Sandal Marathon in anticipation for the film, starting from the nostalgia of the original Clash of the Titans (1981) back in January, I was read for the redux and literally bouncing in the seat in the theatre. I wasn't even that put off that it was delayed a week for the adapt-to-3D, as I knew I would see it in 2D.
A lot of films based in Greek Myth are at the tipping point of believers and non believers these ideas are presented in this version of the film. I think this brings and interesting element to the film and aligning to current day where people may be aware of many different ideologies out there but want to do their own thing and make decisions based on person experience as opposed to a predetermined belief system. Put that in the context of the film, and into a character and you get a total rebel. And everybody loves a rebel.
That rebel would be Perseus, and this is a very different take on his especially compared to the original film. Here he not interested at all in the bigger picture, which breaks the mold for a hero character. It makes this focus for him much more of a personal journey as opposed to a standard hero journey. But, it brings up interesting questions in terms of motivation, drive and loyalty but the focus really is on the adventure and action elements, of which there are many. Sam Worthington does a great job as Perseus here, the rebellious action hero, and I'm sure he'll continue in the action & adventure films, although I do hope we get to see him in other things as well considering he's a great dramatic actor (see Somersault).
One happy surprize of the film was the volume of screen time for Mads Mikkelsen's (After the Wedding / Efter brylluppet, Valhalla Rising) character Draco from Argos. Mads Mikkelsen is such a great actor and this is no exception, he bring a stoic fighter between the old-and-new times to life and breathes a great deal of presence in the film. Another great presence in the film is Ralph Fiennes as Hades, not only a great performance but loved the stylistic treatment of the God of the Underworld. Unfortunately in this version, the ladies really took a back seat. Although I enjoyed the character of Io, played by Gemma Arterton (The Disappearance of Alice Creed & upcoming in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time), and she's an interesting addition to the story, but she's almost the only woman in the film with a sizable amount of screen time.
One thing that I whole-heartily loved what the all the visual look of the film. I loved the look and feel of it from costumes, to armour to the hair. Actually, the hair took me a bit to get used to but in the end I thought they made brilliant choices. In terms of the Gods, specifically Zeus & Hades looked fantastic and their visual style matched the essence of the characters 100%.
In terms of a sword & sandals film, it's certainly got swords and got sandals. Although it's a different take on a hero type journey, it still certainly has a journey. The focus really feels like it's the action though - and there is a lot of it. There is fighting, creatures, danger and adventure at every turn. I really enjoyed the choices they made here and was surprized that even though there is a lot shown in the trailer, there was still much more to see in the film.
The film was so close to being amazing. So close! I was cheering from the get go, and I hate to say it but it did miss the mark ever so slightly. It did the one thing that drives me the most crazy in films, which is that it didn't stay true to the structure it created. It's sad, and I have no idea why they made that choice because I'm sure it something else would have worked better. But, that doesn't mean it wasn't an enjoyable watch - I did, I had an amazing time watching it in the theatre and I know I'll go again. The action, visual style and the performance make it a very enjoyable film.
One area when it really succeeds is that it's different enough from the original that you can still enjoy both without them being too similar thematically, but still recognizable stories. There are also a few great nods in hommage that fans of the original will enjoy.
Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it
I'll buy it and likely see it again in the theatre
I'd recommend it to fans of action-oriented adventure films
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© Shannon Ridler, 2010
14 minutes of preshow including 3 commercials and 5 previews: Robin Hood (2010), Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, The Losers, A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) and Salt
* The Sword & Sandal Marathon is a 13 week marathon exploring sword & sandal films in anticipation of this very film! The 2010 release of Clash of the Titans!
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