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
UK/USA, 2010

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!



The Film Connoisseur said...

Happy to see a good review! Im dying to see this one, my curiosity will be quenched tomorrow, when I finally see it in theaters, though Im going to do what everyone is suggesting, Im gonna watch it in good ole 2D.

Even Roger Ebert enjoyed it, saying he enjoyed it pretty much for what it is, a fun, fast paced fx heavy movie, with lots of monsters. Cant freaking waaaait!

Also, Im happy its doing so well at the Box Office!

spidey_zombie said...

I saw this opening weekend which meant I had to put up with many people talking and texting. I also saw it in 3D which I thought long and hard about as it was converted to 3D.

I enjoyed this movie and thought for a sword and sandal fantasy epic it was quite well done. I was a little disappointed in the teasing of the mechanical owl (loved him in the original)

This movie had lots of action and most of it was very believable and I really liked the concept of the almost symbiotic relationship between the gods and humans. I am recommending it to people who like action films but warning, not a great deal of character development but I don't expect that.

I saw this Calgary where I live and thought a PG rating was way too light for this movie. I saw parents bringing small children in the 5 – year range and after seeing it, thought those kids are going to have some nightmares the size of a kraken.

Over all a good movie but not great.

Castor said...

Glad to see someone actually enjoying it! I think people were expecting a Greek mythology epic and instead saw an action blockbuster, hence the disappointment.

Tom said...

Wow that's a cool lobby display. When I went to see it, they showed a preview for "Piranha: 3-D".

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

I really did enjoy it for the most part and just wish someone had the foresight to nudge it totally into alignment before releasing it - but oh, well! It was still good fun.

I was a little leery considering all the negative reviews - although most just commented on the 3D. I'm so thankful it was in 2D too!

It's doing awesome at the box office. The top films all around so far all all 3D'ers. I wonder how much the premium has in effect.

Oh - texters in the theatre! I had that. I try to avoid them as much as possible, and I love seeing films at festivals as the patrons tend to be way more courteous.

Glad to hear you enjoyed it spidey! I think character development is very much an 'added bonus' in action films, I wouldn't have really expected it here - although we do get some :)

I wonder if people were expecting epic... I mean it's big and brash, but not really long or 'message-y'. Hmmm... now I'm thinking about what defines and epic... dangit Castor for making me think! :)

I saw the Piranah 3-D trailer with Avatar... yeah... I'll leave it at that.

The Film Connoisseur said...

I wish readers would comment on how the 3-D was, I mean, Ive read negative things about it, but really, will it get in the way of enjoying the film?

Even if its converted, isnt there some fun to the 3-D thing? Im just asking, cause Im going to see it tonight, and Im torn between seeing it 3-D or not. Watching it in 3-D kind of pulls me in because of the fun factor, but if its really as bad as they are saying, and Im not going to enjoy the movie as much....then I might pass. I dont know! I guess ultimately, Ill decide right at the Box Office, just before buying the ticket.

Gonna see this one tonight! Im so pumped!

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Wish I could help you Connoisseur, but I just don't know! I haven't heard anyone be specific on why they didn't like the 3D either.

I hope you enjoy the film, in whichever D you decide to see it :)

Tom said...

Can I add my two cents? I went to see it in 3-D, but granted, I have not seen "Avatar", which is supposed to have been a "must-see" 3D experience. So I cannot compare the effects. I think people who have been disappointed have been folks that have already been blown away by what the effects in other films. I would say, if you have a few extra bucks, dish it out for the 3D. But if the 3-D screenings are "Sold-out", then 2-D should be fine. My suggestion is to pick up a copy of the latest issue of Entertainmentn Weekly that has an interview with the director. He says that he loves his film in 2-D and feels no change needed to be made. So there you have it. However, I was also sitting in the back (because my friend I was with likes sitting in the back). If you sit up in front, the 3-D effect might work better.

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Good point Tom! I think people comparing the 3D to that of Avatar is something that could definitely hurt the film - Avatar was intended for 3D from conception to fruition and is a completely different immersive experience, where as I would think Clash is more of the standard 3D of something flying at your face.

If Louis Leterrier is happy with it in 2D than that speaks volumes. 2D for the win!

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