Sunday, October 9, 2011

Clash of the Titans (2010)

By Sati. Sunday, October 9, 2011 , , , , , , ,
(106 min, 2010)
Director: Louis Leterrier
Writers: Travis Beacham (screenplay), Phil Hay (screenplay)
Stars: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes

Release the Kraken!

In general, there are two categories of movies - great, deep, thought provoking movies and entertaining, shallow, silly movies. Of course the deep ones can be entertaining and the silly ones can be great. But by reading the plot summary and by seeing the details of the film you can probably already specify what to expect from a certain movie.

I'm not sure about shallow and silly, since “Clash of The Titans” is based on mythology, but it is for sure entertaining. It's nowhere near the first category of the films, but as a representative of the second – it's doing a pretty good job.

The story follows Perseus, son of Zeus, therefore demigod. Perseus tries to help people of Argos, whose inhabitants offended gods and provoked their anger. Meanwhile, Zeus decides to let his brother Hades go free and do what he wants. Hades gives people of Argos a choice between sacrifice and destruction – either they will sacrifice daughter of the king, Andromeda or he will release the Kraken, terrible creature and destroy the city.

The story is very simple and uncomplicated. The characters are barely defined – Perseus is brave, ageless girl Io is kind, Andromeda is goodhearted, the soldiers who travel with Perseus are courageous. But at least the gods where presented as they were supposed to, even if only in one case. Zeus is supposed to be, in a simplistic version, good god, opposite of Hades. But here he is very much like human, doing awful things, but at the same time having the ability of being noble. Hades and the rest of the gods, who we barely see, have only one trait, they are either kind or evil. But because of the Zeus's character the very important thing was preserved – after all, the gods were much like people, they often envied them, pretended to be them, admired them.

Now, it was quite some time since I read mythology, but I think the movie, when being far away from the original version, actually delivers something plausible, watchable and fitting the story. The character of Io was, in the myth, the lover of Zeus, but here she is just a girl, cursed with eternal youth. She was never with Perseus in the myth. I also think the story of Medusa was a tad different. But if you don't know anything about myths, you won't notice the differences during watching the movie.
The journey Perseus and his group have in the film is very engaging – they encounter many strange creatures, the story doesn't have many plot holes and the execution is very pleasing to the eye. Although I hated how the Djinns looked and I think Medusa was incredibly fake, the giant scorpions, Stygian Witches and especially the Kraken are fantastic. I actually wish I went to see the movie in theater – the special effects in few scenes are really great. At least they seemed great to me and I was impressed. However, what you must know – when I was a little girl I never missed an episode of “Xena – the Warrior Princess”, so my sympathy for mythology is really big and comparing to the effects in the show “Clash of the Titans” is mind blowing.

The music composed by Ramin Djawadi was not impressive when I was listening to the soundtrack, but along with the movie, as the background to the scenes it works surprisingly well. It fits the movie and when it needs to be epic, it manages to achieve that.

As for the character of Perseus, he is likeable and believable. I didn't mind Sam Worthington in this movie, but as with “Avatar” any other guy could have played the role and I would not notice the difference. He was just ok. The only character I really liked was Io, played by lovely Gemma Arterton, who is one of the very few truly beautiful young actresses nowadays. She is so sweet and likeable, that during the fight scenes I was hoping her character will survive.

What is the most sensational thing about the movie is the presence of two brilliant actors – Liam Neeson (Zeus) and Ralp Fiennes (Hades) – the last time they met they created powerful roles in “The Schindler's List”. Those two are really amazing – they managed to be great in the roles, while I'm sure they felt deeply embarrassed because of starring in this. They have some ridiculous moments – Zeus has shiny armor on him and shouts the words “Release the Kraken!” and Fiennes looks like a giant moth with human head in some scenes. They play their roles as I expected them to – Neeson is noble as always (although not in all scenes) and Fiennes plays Hades as if he played Voldemort, who was defeated and now tries to force his way into the good graces again.

The movie also features many familiar faces – Calibos is played by Jason Flemyng, who for me felt so out of place there (the man did Guy Ritchie's films after all!) I was shocked seeing him on screen, Mads Mikkelsen (the bad guy from “Casino Royale”), Pete Postlethwaite the on duty freaked out man in Hollywood and Nicholas Hoult, recently seen as the weakest link of “A Single Man”.

The only big complaint I have about the movie is – more, more! There should be more gods, (I know there was more material but it was cut out of the final version) more locations, more myths used. The movie is insanely entertaining, there are some bad moments – minor characters are rather awful especially the guy who desperately wants to sacrifice Andromeda, but because of the great action scenes and fantastic effects you forget about them. By the time the Kraken appears you will be staring on the screen so hard your mind will go completely blank. And isn't that the purpose of those films? To entertain and help you relax? Mission accomplished.


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