Something must be understood before I unleash the underworld on this film. In 2010, my interest in Greek mythology was at a peak. I think I’ve said this before but if I wasn’t interested in the art of film, I probably would have pursued a career as a historian because looking back into the past can unlock the solutions to our future. I guess my fascination with ancient history might have been an immovable factor in my thinking that Clash of the Titans was *gulp* all-right. Now I’ve learned about great filmmaking, I can see clearly what Clash of the Titans is, a horrid CG mess of a film.
Clash of the Titans is a 2010 remake of the Desmond Davis 1981 original. This remake directed by Louis Leterrier sees the demi-god Perseus (Sam Worthington) set out on a quest to save the city of Argos from Hades’ (Ralph Fiennes) threat to unleash the Kraken and destroy the city. He must battle giant scorpions, deal with Stygian Witches, and slay the Gorgon Medusa on his way.
Let’s be real here, the original 1981 Clash of the Titans wasn’t that good, to begin with. However, it has garnered cult status and in all honesty, although I believe it’s not great, I can at least appreciate the effort. Using incredibly old stop motion animation for the Kraken and cheap green-screen effects, it was never going to be blockbuster quality, but I see it much like making an ambitious video game with restricted hardware, it’s the ambition that is the most appreciative aspect. The 2010 remake was under no such restriction and had the opportunity to finally tell this story with the best quality imaginable, and not only did they blow it, they somehow made it look cheaper than the original.
Think back to 2010, 2009’s Avatar (also starring Sam Worthington) blew audiences away with how visually magnificent films can be even more magnificent with the addition of 3D. After that, Hollywood realized “Hey, maybe 3D isn’t just a gimmick after all. Let’s make it one”. And with that, many MANY films had the “In 3D” badge stuck to it including Clash of the Titans. You can immediately tell that having this film in 3D was nowhere near the intention at the beginning because no scene fully utilizes the technology.
But surely it must be a step up from the effects of the original right? I was actually stunned to see how badly this film has aged over time, but this really shouldn’t be surprising. Take the fight with Medusa, for example, Natalia Vodlanovo provides the head of Medusa but the body is computer generated and unfortunately, the film is another victim of time. The more and more CGI technology improves, the more films degrade overtime.
From what I remember all those years ago, It wasn’t the promise of action or story, It was the Ancient Greek gods. I remember the trailer had the tagline “damn the gods” which got me thinking that I was going to see an epic war between the gods and man (note I hadn’t seen the original yet). My expectations were crushed because while the twelve Olympians are all present, the only two we spend any real time with are Zeus (Liam Neeson) and Hades. Why neglect my main man Poseidon? Because you needed to save him for the Percy Jackson films? What about Athena? Apollo? Hera? They all just stand in the background not saying much and not doing much. The filmmakers really dropped the ball with this one.
Performance-wise, there are no real standouts here, which is painful to say because you have an incredible cast with the name’s I’ve previously mentioned as well as Mads Mikkelsen, Gemma Arterton, Jason Flemyng, etc. But our main man of the piece, who’s likeness is all over the film’s official poster Sam Worthington is the biggest underachiever. Now that I think about it, Avatar is a huge scapegoat for this film not doing well, I guess studios must have thought that Sam Worthington was going to be the next acting megastar because he was in the highest-grossing film at the time. Clash of the Titans in this case was the realization of a huge miscalculation because his character and performance are just bland. Also, the film’s quest commences under the cliched assumption he is the chosen one to save Argos which is at this point of cinematic storytelling progression is tiresome to see.
Then we get to the film’s big threat the Kraken, which is kind of redundant anyway because the Kraken is Norse mythology, not Greek. Considering that the original Clash of the Titans’ Kraken design was nothing like the image we think of when we think of Kraken, I can give a bit of leeway on the design. Where I can’t give any leeway is where the creature ties in with the terrible CGI.
If I had seen this in 2D all the way back in 2010, I don’t think I would hate this film as much as I do. But the plain and simple fact is, even without 3D, this is still a terrible film. the acting is unimpressionable and wooden, the CGI has badly aged and there is a lot of wasted potentials to make this into an epic film. I think the story this and the original film showed was too short and with a longer story, in keeping with the Greek mythology, turning this story into an epic poetic story would be infinitely better provided it doesn’t drag on. I can only thank Zeus that my interest in the ancient civilizations hasn’t been tainted by this film.
You can tell this film did not age well when no-one even uses the “Release the Kraken” meme anymore.