Friday, April 2, 2010

Review - Clash of the Titans

Persesus was raised as a fisherman, however upon traveling to the city of Argos, he is faced with his true destiny. Born as a bastard son to the Greek god Zeus, Persesus is a demi-god. Part man and part god, he is the only person with the ability to save Argos from the war that is about to erupt. The gods, who have fallen from favor among men, became angered when a statue of Zeus is destroyed and Princess Andromeda is labeled more beautiful than the god Athena. Sending Hades to invoke fear in men, the gods reveal to the city that either a sacrifice to the gods must be made, or Hades would unleash his vicious Kraken, sealing the city's fate. Persesus and selected warriors of Argos quickly embark on a quest to defeat the monstrous Kraken, Hades and prevent the devastation of mankind.

"Clash of the Titans" is a hair-raising fantasy adventure that is loaded up with spine-tingling action and stirring special effects. The Louis Leterrier directed update gives changes to the original 1981 storyline by removing much of the romance and exchanging it with vengeance. The original showed Persesus' path being championed by winning Andromeda's hand in marriage. The remake instead, sees Persesus lose his parents and sister at the hands of Hades. This in turn ignites a fire within Persesus to see Hades brought to justice. The formula is simple, Hades must pay for what he's done, and Persesus is going to risk life and limb to see that happen. Luckily for Persesus, he's a demi-god and is destined to carry out this quest.

Let's make it very clear that the 2010 "Clash of the Titans" is an action movie. The original does not feel anywhere near on the same level. The original had action sequences sprinkled in with a dramatic fantasy, while this version is a roller-coaster ride of action. This is not to say I am not a fan of the original Desmond Davis classic. I love that movie endlessly, it's just a whole different take on the mythos.

The action throughout 'Titans' is damn good. All of the hand-to-hand combat hits hard, getting your heart pumping and moving quick enough that it never drags itself down. I loved the size and scale of this film. A good number of the action sequences are massive in scale, not relying on one central location, but moving as the battle ensues. Leterrier and cinematographer Peter Menzies Jr. made good use of the gorgeous shooting locations, turning them into epic battlegrounds for all of the thrill inducing sequences.

A ton of merit must be given to the overall look and design of everything within "Clash of the Titans." Not just the CGI, but all of the costuming, sets and locations were fabulous. The look of the gods is polished. Especially Zeus and Hades. Every time either of them made an appearance, there is an impact that followed. You can tell that Warner Brothers wanted to make a tremendous scale to the adventure and they certainly did. The city Argos and Mount Olympus alone were awing, but then you add in Medusa's layer and a few of the various ruins Persesus and the men of Argos travel through, just a fantastic job.

Now I stayed away from 3D version of this film based on word-of-mouth of a terrible 3D conversion and I couldn't have been happier with my decision. Much of the initial reviews I read complained that the 3D was distracting and off putting to the point they wanted to remove their 3D glasses. Seeing the film in 2D, I can joyfully confirm the film comes across crisp and full of life. The CGI throughout is stunning. The monsters or titans created throughout the film are impressive and are sure to lead a whole new generation into fandom. I fell in love with Medusa. She is a nice change from the original Ray Harryhausen creation. Don't get me wrong I hold a very dear spot in my heart for all of the magnificent creatures created by Mr. Harryhausen, but this new Medusa is a update we would have hoped for. She is vicious and sensual, not to mention her motions are far more scary than her previous embodiment. The animators did a staggering job on her and the rest of the monsters. Sadly though, I must say while the Kraken looked outstanding, having already seen him numerous times in the trailers and televisions spots his reveal was not as spectacular as I had hoped.

"Clash of the Titans" is light-hearted and fast paced fun. It is not a serious action by any means. It is a action adventure similar in vein to 'The Mummy' trilogy. I wouldn't call it camp, but solid B Movie execution. Something taken with a grain of salt. It relies heavily on action and less on sustenance. The opening of the film outlines Persesus' destiny and his path for revenge, the rest of the way is just watching it unfold. For me and my family, watching that unfold was a blast. Something that we would all experience again and again.