Monday, April 5, 2010

Clash of the Titans (2010) – Review

Clash of the Titans is a mess. Not only is it a remake, but from the get-go it seems as if it is trying to be a bunch of other films (action similar to Transformers, comedy and quips like Pirates of the Caribbean and a sort of epic nature like The Lord of the Rings). Yet, the film trying to be all these things, ends up not being any and not really even being that entertaining (which I assume was its main goal). The action was big, the visual effects were big, but all the effects and action in the world will never be enough for a good film (also note that the 3-D in this was an afterthought and is thus pointless and shotty and the film should be seen without it; after Avatar’s 3-D, is there really any point to do 3-D unless you really make an effort; the refashioning of the film last minute for crappy 3-D is just another sign of the film piggybacking on the successes of other films, and failing at every attempt). The story and more importantly the characters need to connect with the audience and make them care, and this film does not do that. By the end, at the emotional peak, the audience is more concerned with pretty much everything else aside from the culmination of the main character’s arch. Be it the fault of a flat performance or a terrible script and writing (probably more the latter), the film just does not bring the audience in, rather it is more like a spectacle to behold, but carries little meaning once the thrill is done. The main problem is with the script by Travis Beacham and the team of Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi. Aside from it seemingly trying the steal narrative and character elements from other films, it makes a mockery of its whole unique story. The character of Io for example seemingly is inserted for the sole reason of delivering exposition (can the audience be trusted to know anything about Greek mythology, or at least be given a chance to learn stuff through the story, nope it all must be spelt out; can the characters discover anything for themselves, nope, again it all must be spelt out). Elements of the story seem odd and self-defeating – Zeus agrees with Hades to spite man, but loves his son who is a man (sort of), but still spites man, but aids his son to foil the spiting of man, but still spites man – it makes no sense. Or, Perseus (the main character) continuously claiming that he will complete his task as a man without the help of the gods, which makes it more difficult and leads to the loss of life, but still it is noble, except he decides only after everyone is dead to take the help of the gods which then seems to state that all the hardship and death leading up to him deciding to give in to his own weakness was pointless. And really that sums up a lot of the movie’s plot – pointless. Even the ending feels phony – Perseus has completed his task and is all alone (in that everyone around him has died due to the quarrelling of the gods and man), which seems like a suitable enough ending and even has a little emotional weight to it, but then the film goes and makes it more happy, but not too happy, but happy enough to, like pretty much the whole film, drain any emotional connection to the characters out of it. At the end of the film, the audience is left with a number of big action pieces, some chuckles, a story that is pointless, and characters that they do not care about. On to the technical side, Louis Leterrier’s direction felt like a step back from his previous work. There were some interesting ideas, but nothing really felt fleshed out. His major failure however was his inability to create an emotion journey for the characters (and so to for the audience). Thus, the viewer is left to merely watch, rather than participate. As stated above, the writing is absolutely atrocious and is the knife in the heart of the film. Martin Laing’s production design was a highlight of the film. His Mount Olympus set for the hall of the gods was fascinating to behold and really by far the best and most interesting aspect of the film. The cast was quite impressive in name, but under utilized and given drivel to work with in practice (why cast Danny Huston or Alexander Siddig if they are only going to be in one medium shot, a few long shots and only have one line each? and I sort of feel bad for Gemma Arterton, as her character got a lot terribleness in this one, the performance Leterrier asked of her was basically to try to say all her exposition in the most epic and serious way possible, which ultimately just made it all super cheesy and wore down the importance of it all). Ralph Fiennes, Liam Neeson and Alexa Davalos are pretty much the only ones to come out of this unsullied (though Fiennes’ Hades was a bit like his Voldemort, sort of), as their performances are high points. Sam Worthington continues to be adequate at best. Overall the film was just a waste of a talented bunch of actors and the opportunity to make a fun entertaining film with some meaning – which this is not on all accounts. 5/10

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