Clash Of The Titans Remake Review (WIth MAJOR Spoilers) (1 of 5)
SPOILER ALERT! THE WHOLE DAMN REVIEW IS A SPOILERALERT! DON”T READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU DON”T WANT TO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THIS MOVIE!!!! Okay, I mean it! Don’t cry foul or anything else if you decide to read on, because I’ve warned you! I don’t like to give movies away but if you’re still reading and you want to be surprised by the movie when you see it, then A) you don’t like surprises, B) you must have absolutely no self control and can’t bring yourself to stop reading something once you’ve started, or C) you’re just an idiot and nothing I say can dissuade you from reading on and being indignant at me for giving away so much of a movie that YOU have not yet seen even though I am wasting a lot of word space trying to warn you that I am going to SPOIL it for you if you continue reading….. Please don’t be an idiot. I’ve warned you.
Still here? Great!
The old version spent their tiny budget on some great actors (Laurence Olivier?!) to bring a pretty good story to screen. And Ray Harryhausen worked his magic to help make a low budget movie that be enjoyed by young and old alike (but especially the young). Again, it had a pretty good story centering around Greek mythology.
Things I hated about this remake…. I’m going to ramble a bit and it’ll probably come off as an attack on the film instead of the standard ‘review’, but it’s just my heart felt opinion. A review is just an opinion, anyway.
Right out of the box, the dialogue was cringeworthy. Most of the characters seemed to be repeating each other as if the writers were CDs that kept hitting that ‘bad spot’ and couldn’t correct themselves. There was some unintentionally anachronistic words said, but that’s the least of this movies problems. Sam Worthington, I will say, did his best at delivering his lines He was the guy who didn’t want to be part of anything, but he hated the gods for they had done to him and wanted to bring them down. It was time someone said “enough” and didn’t put up with the stuff that the gods threw at them like storms, floods and famine and all that. Without the gods there wouldn’t be any of that stuff going on… Uh huh.
They took a story of gods and mortals that had interwoven a myriad of characters that all had their individual motivations and alliegances and reduced it to a lukewarm soulless pile of CGI FX teasers. Whereas the original centered on the main character’s journey into the underworld to save his lady love (a powerful motivation that will play well with most audiences), this one centers upon foiling the plans of those pesky Greek gods (out of hate, revenge and pettiness). That’s a stark thematic contrast in the 2 films. This movie had all the subtlety of dueling jackhammers at 6 AM on your sidewalk 50 feet from your bedroom window. Important story elements were just skipped over to get the ‘good parts’ of showing a CGI monster killing (mainly) extras that you don’t care about in brain dead CGI fashion. I say brain dead because there was absolutely no thought was put into the scenes involving the animated beasts. In Avatar, at the hands of a great director like Jim Cameron, the creatures of Pandora behave like real animals in a real world. Here the director has NO IDEAS. No subtlety. They are just video game antagonists that don’t do much.
In the original film, Calibos broods. He plots. He schemes. He is anguished by his own deeds, but his hatred for what has been done to him overrides that. He sneaks around and does horrible things to the good guys.
In this remake he’s reduced to a guy that runs out of nowhere screaming and attacks. Then, he immediately has his hand cut off and goes running away screaming. Then he pops up later so Perseus can stab him in which he reverts back to normal (he’s a man,again) and says ‘thank you’. Other than that he has virtually no dialogue other than “RRRRAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!” No set up. No explanations and motivations… Just “RRRRAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!”
It’s like they forgot to actually tell the actual story or they just edited out a lot of important info that wasn’t there. I’ll ramble most about this because in order to talk about that, I’ll have to digress into individual plotlines and characters. One being, the ‘fruity pegasi’.
I say the fruity pegasi because that’s how they’re portrayed. Perseus gets bored and stumbles off into the woods. He finds 4 white winged horses. Apparently the filmmakers thought this was a little too fruity, so those 4 run off and in flies a larger, much more muscular Pegasus. And he’s black, because a big black Peagsi is less fruity than a bunch of wimpy white ones. And IMMEDIATELY, the love demigoddess love interest older woman Io (who’s been watching him since birth) steps into frame to explain,”this is a Pegasus. He’s a winged horse” as if Perseus wouldn’t be able to figure that out on his own. She goes on to say that no man has ever ridden one, despite the fact that the damn thing flew up to them and starts ‘snuggling’ with them. Uh huh.
In the original,there is a great scene where Perseus gets the idea of capturing Pegasus to aid in his quest. He waits under a full moon at a place where they think the rarecraeture drinks at and it turns up. Perseus captures the horse in a scene sort of reminiscent of the old movie The Misfits. He lassos the winged horse and has an exhausting battle of tug of war with it. He then ‘breaks’ it as real horses are ‘broken’ to be able to ride them. Eventually he forms a bond with Pegasus. In the new version, which employs the modern filmmaking techniques of leaving out all of the ‘boring parts’, which used to be necessary in explaining what’s going on in a film. In the remake, Pegasus disappears after that ‘snuggling’ scene and pops back up later when it’s convenient. Perseus just hops on and away they go. Uh huh.
No setup for the Kraken. You have to show him tear some shit up at the beginning. You have to give the populace of the city (and the audience) WHY this is a creature is to be feared more than any other. They didn’t do that. Either they were over budget or the writers were just too busy writing their personal agenda into the story. Okay, it’s probably a little of both.
The 1 minute training session. Again, they just skip over parts that are generally important in telling a heroic story like this. Perseus has been a fisherman all his life until they slap some armor on him. On their way to talk to the Stygian witches (which was another crap scene that I won’t digress into) to find out how to stop the Kraken, the group leader gives Perseus a sword and teaches him the importance of staying on his feet.I say teaching him, but Perseus on the basis of that one lesson becomes the world’s greatest warrior and from then on is performing gymnastics while sword fighting.
Zues was a perv in this. Yes, whereas the gods have always been known to have ‘gotten around’, the general portrayals have been a particular god falls in love with a mortal. Then after knocking the woman up,they leave realizing that they were wrong to have engaged in this. But they still watch over their offspring as Zues did in the original film, helping Perseus along the way when times got desperate. Here, Zues is a conniving rapist who slips into the beds of the kings (who have fallen out of favor with him) and knocks up their wives in very lascivious manner.
Medusa. What WASN’T wrong with Medusa? in normal Greek mythology, Medusa was turned so darn ugly (by one of the jealous female gods) that she would turn you to stone.
Here though, her face is that of model Natalia Vodianova, or at least a CGI version.
She’s not even in the same universe of homely, but she’s got snakes on her head. It’s hard to have a scary villain with that face, even if when she’s turning someone to stone, her face through FX ‘magic’ becomes snake like. She screeches and her mouth stretches out like the mouths of CGI creatures from awful CGI heavy movies like The Mummy.
And the screeching… The sounds and giggles she made in general, were those of a porn actress. It was distracting in a way that had me laughing through a scene that was supposed to be ‘serious’. Medusa moved like the snakes in the movie Anaconda; at ludicrous speeds. This was where this movie’s CGI was at it’s worst. When the characters move at rates of speed that are just not possible except for an animated cartoon character, you lose any sense of realism that you’re trying to create. It becomes sequences to be mimicked later in the video game.
The FX ranged from really good/cool/impressive to downright shoddy. I was impressed (at times) in the way that I’m impressed by a comic book cover artist who can draw characters standing in groups really well. I go “Wow. That guy can really draw well. At least when the people are just standing there expressionless and not doing anything and it has nothing to do with the story.” There are no ideas behind it. There is NO STYLE. They couldn’t choreograph a Jack Kirby fight scene if their life depended on it.
Unnecessary characters. Lots of unnecessary characters. The original story was rewritten to add Hades as one of the main bad guys. Never have I seen Ralph ‘Amon Goeth’ Fiennes in a bad acting performance until now. But then, I always blame the director and the editor. And there was some really appalling acting.
Gemma Arterton plays Io, one of the many tacked on characters, and who was there to be the eventual love interest. Despite being fairly high on the hot-ometer, she had the personality (in the film) of a lamp with a burnt out bulb. There was also the unnecessary portrayal of Perseus’ father portrayed by the KING of Small Part overacting Pete Postlethwaite (“There areno small parts!”). I still blame the director, though, for all ofthese bad acting efforts.
There are also a new race of creatures introduced: the djinn. Besides being pointless and useless other than to provide the FX guys opportunities for some more ‘cool’ FX’ they’re not even from Greek mythology… They’re from Middle Eastern mythology. One of them explodes in the movie and I still don’t know why. Just blows up. The unnecessary characters like the Arabian djinn that accompanies them into Hades (because he has nothing better to do I guess) constantly are figuring things out for the hero. That doesn’t make for a strong protagonist. Pretty weak actually.
Unnecessary scenes. Plenty of those, like that stupid guy with that stupid flute. IIf the same scene had been given to more important characters then it might have worked as characterization and development of characters, but it wasn’t. Just some guy that isn’t going to be a significant player gets some screen time to stretch the movie out. There wasn’t enough attention given to the main characters like, ya’ know… Perseus…. Andromeda… Oh, Andromeda.
Andromeda gets shafted in this one, in favor the writers’ new character Io. You never care about this ‘damsel in distress’, because for the most part she’s not really in a whole lot of distress and she’s no longer the object of desire (that goes to new character Io played by Gemma Arterton). The same sort of thing happened in another Sam Worthington movie: Terminator Salvation, where the old characters of the franchise played second fiddle to a new character that’s introduced. That’s the writer who doesn’t respect the source material and thinks that the audience will want to see this new character as much as they do INSTEAD of the characters that the audience came to see.
There 2 more new creations of the writers: 2 brothers who interrupt the hero and his group to say that they know all about killing supernatural creatures and that Perseus needs them. They’re set up to TRY to be comedy relief, but you have to be funny to do that. They were not, at least to me. And when characters are introduced like that, saying what they do (thatthey know all about how to defeat certain mythological creatures), you expect them to deliver on that promise at some point, otherwise there’s no reason to introduce them. They didn’t even serve as victims. They were USELESS to the plot. USELESS.
I do not like going to movies and being preached to. About ANYTHING. Especially at a popcorn monster movies and especially when it’s so BLATANT like in this one. This was not annoying because they were delivering a strong point, because as far as that goes, the dialogue and story was as clever as a high school newspaper article written by the 2 kids that sit in the very back and tell each other how ‘dumb’ everyone else is. And I don’t think the writers or the director were really clear on what they were trying to get across. There was the ‘man doesn’t need gods’ throughout that was repeated at least once every 2 minutes. I guess they were compensating for the short attention spans out there. They portray Zues as a sneaky rapist, even though he’s the one that loves mankind. He created them after all, even with that cheap fake beard that Liam Neeson was strapped with in the film (on a side note, these were the most ridiculous looking greek gods ever collected onscreen, Danny Huston being the most laugh inspiring), and it seemed the gods couldn’t make up their minds about whose side they were on. They were tired of men not worshipping them enough so they’re going to destroy everyone. But Zues is trying to help Perseus because that’s ‘his boy’, but Perseus keeps saying ‘Im a man! I don’t need gods or their gifts’. So all of the magic swords and things are rejected. Zues even shows up so that the writers could have the lead character reject his god to his face. But then at the end Zues shows up and they’re kind of pals again. And Perseus decides to accept the gifts when plot convenience dictates that it’s necessary. AND even though Perseus is STILL rejecting Zues (his rapist father), Zues resurrects Perseus’ demigod girlfriend for him. Why? I don’t know. Neither do the writers. There’s one line in particular that puzzled me about Perseus not willing to be a god, but he’ll be a man and not a king. King’s apparently are of better stock than men like he is…. Huh?
I’m leaving out the religious cult, aren’t I? In the original film, Andromeda’s mother offends Athena, so Athena says ‘okay, unless your daughter is sacrificed, we’ll send the Kraken to destroy your city. In this version, only the religious cultists are willing to go through with sacrifice and only because they’re thinking of their own skins. Towards the end, they storm the castle to drag the princess to the sacrificial alter. On top of that, when the Kraken is being defeated at the hands of Perseus, the cultists are angered by the Kraken’s defeat. So I guess man is worth saving except for those darn religious people. It’s funny I couldn’t find a frame of them in the trailers, but they’re throughout the actual film.Maybe the MOST unnecessary group/characters in the entire film. They and the actor that played their fear mongering wild eyed Jesus-crossed-with-a-rabid-weasel leader brought nothing to the table.
There was also the figurative ‘middle finger’ at Ray Harryhausen. When Perseus is putting on armor and pulling weapons from the city’s arsenal, he pulls out the metal owl Bubo from the original film. He asks what it is and the other guy frowns and says ‘you don’t want to take that‘. I guess it was supposed to be a funny ‘nod’ or ‘tip of the hat’ to the FX innovator, but it came off as a slap in the face to one of the most influential FX men in the history of film. None of the monsters in this film had an ounce of the personality that Harryhausen’s creations had. The thing that he was best at (in my opinion) was that he was great at ‘choreographing’ great fight scenes between the live actors and the puppets. This remake amounted to quick cuts, close-ups and actors snarling and screaming at the FX creatures. Whenever most of the creatures appeared on screen, it was only to attack in video game style. And sure Harryhausen’s characters were stop motion animation, but there were points in this remake that the CGI looked less real, particularly in the scenes with the giant scorpions.
The scorpions… In the original they served the purposes of Calibos. To kill the good guys. In this the Djinn creatures (after a brief fight with the enormous creatures) create tents on top of them offscreen (In about 12 seconds), and the good guys hop aboard to go riding around together. Tra la la, la frickin’ da… This serves no purpose in the story, other than the director just thinking that it looks ‘cool’. My favorite part with the scorpions (which really wasn’t my favorite part) was when one lands on Perseus. Instead of crushing him, Perseus and his sword just go right through. He’s covered in green gel, which I guess was supposed to be funny, but wasn’t. They’re in the middle of a desert, but somehow 3 seconds later, Perseus is showered and clean again. Okay.
Just a terrible movie. I will credit that some of the FX were neat to look at… Some of them. But it’s low down dirty shame that they didn’t have a good script to work from. Oh wait, they would have, if they had used the original script instead of the turd they chose to use. The FX exist somewhere between the Gi:Joe movie and another Sam Worthington movie:Terminator: Salvation. The story content is as equally appalling as GI:Joe and again, I don’t know how that happens.
This movie will make a gazillion dollars. I know that. It’s had one of those extended ad campaigns. It had a big budget and was filmed in some pretty exotic locations. It has big name actors. It’s in GLORIOUS 3D that’s all the rage. It’s a big crap-CGI FX remake based on a well known movie that a lot of people grew up loving. But it doesn’t deserve to make any money. It wasn’t a wasted effort, though. I always enjoy the theater experience even if it’s to only to help appreciate the movies that are better. You can sometimes learn as much about what makes a movie work from a terrible movie like this one as you can from the good ones.
One out of five whatevers. As flawed as The Wolfman was, it still had a more coherent, focussed story, so this has taken over as my current Worst Film Of The Year. I never would have predicted that going in. The word that I’ve used repeatedly in this ‘review’ is unnecessary. It is my best description of the movie. My advice would be just watch the original with all of its primitive film making techniques (the ones that work), but that’s up to you.