Friday, May 22, 2015

Clash of the Titans (2010)

I'll start by saying that the original Clash of the Titans had a big impact on my childhood, as I'm sure it did every other kid who went bonkers over Greek gods, heroes, monsters, and flying horses. The problem with re-making such an iconic film that pretty much defined how Greek critters are supposed to look like in Hollywood is that anything less than an outstanding job will be seen as a tragedy.

I understand taking a popular story and making it your own by improving on it. The re-make of Dawn of the Dead perfectly illustrates this. However, this update of the Perseus myth takes that ball and runs clear into another time zone, leaving the audience wondering if ancient Greeks were raging hypocrites.

In the original, we had one distinctive villain-god, the jealous goddess Hera. Perseus was basically caught in the middle of an Olympian domestic dispute between father Zeus and not-mother Hera. Zeus cheats on Hera with mortal, mortal has son Perseus, Zeus heaps reward on his own son while punishing Hera's own son, Hera gets pissed and drops Perseus into a strange city that she's about to wreck havoc on, Zeus gives Perseus everything he needs to win the day, etc...

In this new version, the theme is Man vs. God. Or at least, that's what they keep telling themselves. Our big bad guy is the stereotypical Hades, god of the Underworld. Hera is never mentioned and Perseus was conceived out of Zeus getting even with a king who defies him. (Hera's son in the original becomes a servant of Hades in this remake.)

Perseus has it out for Hades, but also doesn't want any help from any other god either. He tells everyone over and over again how he's going to do his task as a man... yet somehow manages to find a use for every little gift the gods throw down at him anyway. Considering that the whole mess was created because man was waging war on the gods, I'm not sure why they would give him anything at all to help him defeat them. It would be like the USA giving Osama Bin Ladin a nuclear weapon as a birthday present.

If you are wondering about how Andromeda fits into all this, well, she's a minor player. Perseus isn't in love with her and she was targeted for sacrifice because out of the blue her mother decided to brag about her while addressing what was left of the army in Argos. Yes, I said Argos... somehow no one recognizes the family resemblance in Perseus and Argos itself wasn't destroyed after they flung him into the sea as a baby.

From a classic mythological perspective, the whole thing doesn't make much sense at all.

I will give them kudos for a lot of fun action scenes. The giant scorpions are still around, although I'm not entirely sure how they went from wild animals created by a monster's blood to beasts of burden that seem to have been in use for generations.

Other critters who got a makeover: Pegasus looks more like a warhorse and the first thought that jumped to mind upon seeing the Kraken was that the Cloverfield monster grew tentacles. We also get to meet some new creatures, including furies and djinn.

Booboo the mechanical owl makes a cameo appearance.

And what of Medusa? Honestly, she was the one character that I really enjoyed seeing an update on. As much as I hate the over-use of CG, I loved what they did for her personality. She was simply adorable, giggling and playing with her prey like an impish schoolgirl.

All in all, the film wasn't terrible and would certainly appeal to a new generation that cares more about action than gaping plot holes. For fans of the original, it's a different story altogether.

Info on IMDB: Clash of the Titans

Original Film:

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