Best part about ‘Clash of the Titans’ is its brevity
Young Viewer’s Take
“Clash of the Titans” is a video game disguised as a movie. Scenes are simply levels; characters are simplified to mere puppets of plot sequence, set to the overly familiar motions of battles, back story, and banality.
Some audience members will be familiar with the original Greek myth, while some may recall the original film adaptation from 1981, yet this remake seems to aim its appeal at the quick-and-to-the-cut generation of today.
Digitally superfluous, 3D, and mindless, “Clash of the Titans” isn’t focused on the expertise of legendary storytelling; its primary goal is to entertain. Does it succeed? Well, to say I was bored would be a lie, but my enjoyment relied solely on the guilty pleasure of witnessing pretentiously unaware mediocrity.
“Titans” tells the myth of the demigod Perseus, the son of Zeus raised by a fisherman father, and his perilous efforts to thwart Hades from attacking the city of Argos for mocking the Gods. “Avatar’s” Sam Worthington plays Perseus, his polished exterior and clean buzz-cut looking unnatural among a sea of barbaric warriors, while Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes respectively lend their talents to the roles of Zeus and Hades.
The latter duo are obviously having fun participating in a pair of over-the-top performances, with Neeson donning a distractingly shiny outfit of armor and Fiennes speaking in a whispery echo that mysteriously disappears halfway through the movie. Thankfully, the performances aren’t horrendous enough to erase the two actors’ genius collaboration in “Schindler’s List.”
After sequences that set the plot into motion, the film relies mostly on action to carry it through to its final climax. The movie is ultimately a series of mini-battles leading up to the definitive face-off between Perseus and the dreaded Kraken, initiated by Neeson roaring the film’s key exclamation, “Release the Kraken!”
This closing battle is a massive disappointment, failing to reach the level of build-up that preceded it and ending with a sense of rushed abruptness. Paving the way to disappointment are slightly better scenes of peril, from combat with gargantuan scorpion creatures to the penultimate battle between Perseus and Medusa.
Some audience members may cry foul at the use of demonic looking beasts that are highly suggestive of the Sand People from “Star Wars,” but for a film that already reeks of unoriginality, what’s another notch in the belt?
What remains most hilarious about “Clash of the Titans” is the overall sense of self-important ambition. Reminiscent of an overly indulgent high school video project, the film’s continuous use of extravagance, over-acting, and digitalized pomp only verify its unabashed vanity (especially when the film finalizes with a glaring title card, as if the audience forgot the name of the film they just witnessed).
On a positive note, the film may have the attitude of an “epic” but mercifully spares the audience the length of one (it caps off at 110 minutes). “Clash of the Titans” is relatively painless. Either that, or it is so powerfully mind numbing that I barely felt a thing.
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Greg Vellante is a graduate of North Andover High School who is currently attending UMass Lowell. He has been reviewing and writing about movies for The Eagle-Tribune since 2007.