Movie Review: Clash of the Titans (2010)
I wouldn't say that I'm a student of mythology, but I do think myths are a whole lot of fun. I loved the Odyssey, Gilgamesh was crazy-awesome, and I'm working on the Aeneid right now. So when I first saw the trailer for the new Clash of the Titans movie, I was a bit trepidacious. Sure, myths are all kinds of cool, but does Hollywood really understand why?
The answer is obviously a resounding NO. I read up on the myth of Perseus beforehand to refresh my memory, and tragically the movie has contorted the myth beyond recognition. The only points that are consistent are 1) Perseus is found as a baby in a wooden chest floating on the sea, 2) Perseus slays Medusa, and 3) Perseus saves Andromeda from a sea creature. That's it. Just about everything else is a total deviation from the myth. Perseus' motivation for saving his mother from the lecherous Polydectes? Gone. The four pieces of equipment forged by the gods to help him with slaying Medusa? Nope, not necessary, according to the imaginatively-challenged Hollywood producers.
I guess you could say that the reasoning behind the lack of divine equipment (besides the sword) is that the gods in this movie are actually the bad guys and don't want to help Perseus. The humans, tired of the incessant screwing around of the almighty gods, have started to rebel against them. But part of what makes mythology cool is the gods themselves and how they direct and interact with humanity. Turn them into bad guys, and you remove a layer of cool.
But I might have been okay with that, if the motivations behind the characters made any sense. The humans hate the gods, which makes Zeus want to open up some pwnage upon them in the form of the Kraken. But when Perseus goes on a quest to stop the Kraken, Zeus helps him out by giving him a sword. Wha..? Maybe you could say that Zeus loves humanity and secretly wants Perseus to win. But then why release the Kraken in the first place? Maybe he wanted to draw out Hades and discover his plans. But Hades was relatively powerless in the beginning, and he's relatively powerless in the end... so what's the point?
But I might have been okay even with that... if the creature designs didn't suck so much. Calibos is no longer a cool devil-like disfigurement, he's just a normal dude with lightning scars. The Stygian Witches look like rejects from Pan's Labyrinth. And the Kraken is about as generic a monster as you can possibly get. It's like they said, "Let's just give the Cloverfield monster some tentacles and crab legs and call it a day."
And speaking of rip offs, this movie tried so very hard to be God of War, but it crashed and burned. Perseus, like Kratos, seeks to kill a god because that god is responsible for the deaths of his loved ones; but unlike Kratos, Perseus doesn't have anything in his character to rationalize such an insanely blasphemous act. And the scene with Perseus fighting the Kraken looks like it's straight from the Colossus level in God of War II... except far less engaging, and not nearly as cool.
Let's not forget the 3D, which was absolutely, 100% pointless. At least Avatar's 3D worked well in some scenes, but there wasn't anything in Clash that was even noticeably three-dimensional. It's a total waste of that extra 3 bucks. Another thing: the action scenes had so much shaky-cam going on that you couldn't tell what was happening. Fail. And the characters were just the same cardboard cutouts that you've seen in every other nonsensical action movie, except somehow way more annoying.
How do you explain the mediocrity that is Clash of the Titans? It's like some clueless movie producer told the filmmakers to take out everything cool about Greek mythology and replace it with cliched Hollywood drivel. A zero rating for this movie might seem a bit harsh, but there was absolutely nothing innovative, interesting, or imaginative about it. It's a total waste of your time and money.