Reviews

Review: Clash of the Titans

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As a general rule, remakes are a bad idea. With very few exceptions (The Thing), remakes take terrific films and infuse them with sensibilities that either conflict with or outright insult what makes the source material revered in the first place. Often they attempt to “improve” on films that were already great, doing nothing but dragging them through the mud. This is why Zack Snyder’s 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake is my least favorite film of all time. It isn’t just a piece of crap, it’s a piece of crap dropped hatefully on top of an absolute classic, splattering in the faces of its fans.Â

Clash of the Titans is in a different situation. The original film is certainly well-loved, but it isn’t perfect. Harryhausen’s stop-motion effects are amazing and endlessly charming, but the film is hampered by long stretches of dullness. There’s certainly room for improvement, even if a contemporary re-do could never hope to match its visual splendor. So how does the remake stack up?

As a general rule, remakes are a bad idea. With very few exceptions (The Thing), remakes take terrific films and infuse them with sensibilities that either conflict with or outright insult what makes the source material revered in the first place. Often they attempt to "improve" on films that were already great, doing nothing but dragging them through the mud. This is why Zack Snyder's 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake is my least favorite film of all time. It isn't just a piece of crap, it's a piece of crap dropped hatefully on top of an absolute classic, splattering in the faces of its fans. 

Clash of the Titans is in a different situation. The original film is certainly well-loved, but it isn't perfect. Harryhausen's stop-motion effects are amazing and endlessly charming, but the film is hampered by long stretches of dullness. There's certainly room for improvement, even if a contemporary re-do could never hope to match its visual splendor. So how does the remake stack up?{{page_break}}

Well… terribly. It does everything wrong that a remake possibly could. Down the line, pretty much every aspect of its creation is fundamentally wrong. The only thing it does right is reducing the runtime (106 minutes in comparison to the original's 118), but it makes no difference because it feels so much longer. 

Sam Worthington's performance as Perseus essentially represents the film itself. He has no charm or personality, appearing more like a high school jock who wandered on set than an actor. His constant scowl and frown matches the embarrassing, miserable humorlessness of the experience. Lead actors in Hollywood simply do not get any blander, and his presence is the first thing that pushes Clash of the Titans into its black hole of tedium. 

I understand that doing a straight-faced, "bad ass" version of the story inspired by junk like 300 is The Thing To Do, but it just doesn't work in this case. Taking something so fun and silly and making it completely serious not only makes Clash of the Titans look even more ridiculous as a result, but it makes for an endlessly dreary viewing experience. Action films need to be lively and exciting. Clash of the Titans is a bunch of meatheads wandering around and frowning. There are a few action scenes in there, but it's mostly a trudge.

The action sequences do nothing to improve upon the amazing work in the original. Everything is done in as generic a manner as possible, from the brown-gray designs to the "cool" slow-mo/fast-mo and chugging guitar music. The worst offender is the camera work, which in the grand tradition of Transformers is too shaky for the action to even be comprehensible. Almost everything is shot in close-up, with no attention directed toward actually making the physical geography of the environment clear to the viewer. It's impossible to feel tension if you don't know how far one character is from another, or even how large the room they're in is. 

Wait, characters? Excuse me, there aren't any. Instead there are grumpy, burly conduits for exposition. Perhaps the most impressive thing about this film is that it is extremely difficult to follow, even though virtually all the dialogue is dedicated to narrating the plot. No moment goes unexplained. If a pegasus appears on screen, you can bet that somebody's going to wander up to it and say "a Pegasus" and explain exactly what it is. If I'm watching Clash of the Titans I already know what a Pegasus is, and furthermore, it's not even an important detail. I can see it right there, I don't need to know its name and backstory. Show me, don't tell me!

Hopefully I've adequately convinced you to not see Clash of the Titans. I understand that it might seem appealing to some of you (who doesn't want to see people battling giant creatures?), but rest assured that it is a complete waste of your time and money. If ever you find yourself considering it, just play God of War III again instead.  

Overall Score: 4.00 – Terrible.(4s are terrible in many ways. They’re bad enough that even diehard fans of its genre, director, or cast still probably won’t enjoy it at all, and everyone else will leave the theater incredibly angry. Not only are these not worth renting, you should even change the TV channel on them in the future.)

Clash of the Titans isn't the worst film of the year, but it's definitely among the blandest.

 

Tom Fronczak:

Overall Score: 5.25 — I do think some people should see this film, but mainly just to rent it and then fast forward to the Medusa scene and the kraken scene and then call it a night. This movie has a solid mythology story foundation but can’t connect the dots with scenes or dialogue or acting or fights that ever surpass mediocrity. I had to hunt for something good to say about the film, but I did find a few small things. You can read my review here!