Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Keepin It Kraken With The Titans

Clash Of The Titans(2010)
Directed By Louis Leterrier
It was more fun than I expected. Too many attempts at realism and to give Perseus some kind of inner turmoil, that were just unnecessary, but otherwise there was nothing too grating. Sam Worthington is like the default character in a create your own character feature in a video game, and he likewise brings his mannequin skills to this endeavor. He makes Sasha Gray look like Nicolas Cage, or Stephen Hawking look like Dane Cook, my point is he is a lifeless cardboard cut out of an actor whose only reason for being in this movie is the squareness of his jaw. Liam Neeson who appears in only a handful of scenes as Zeus, outclasses him instantly, as does Ralph Fiennes' strung-out looking Hades. Making Hades the main villain shows how limited the room is for deviation in Hollywood. Poseidon is the God who releases the Kraken (which makes sense considering it is a sea monster), but Hades wears black and is the god of Death so he MUST be the evil one. Western fears of death, re-write Greek mythology into simpler black and white dichotomy; Zeus bling blingin' solid gold, and Hades looking like a cross between a meth-head and the smoke monster in "Lost" gives an audience who isn't paying attention anyway an easy color code to associate it. There is nothing wrong with a little re-write, certainly the original film and it's mechanical owls were not based on any ancient lore, but the original didn't take itself serious enough to bother bogging us down with realism or unnecessary back story.
At one point the film makes a casual reference to the original in the form of a golden owl Worthington finds in the armory. "Leave it", his commander says. Later the same commander berates Worthington for not accepting the gifts of the Gods. The gift of the Gods which Louis Leterrier and co. cannot accept is the weightlessness of fantasy being an essential part of it. The pathos to be found in "Clash Of The Titans", or the Perseus myth is in killing the Kraken and rescuing the princess, not in Perseus struggling with the duality of his nature. That shits for "Percy And The Olympians"(and I would know, I got like a half and hour into it before I fell asleep). For those of you who don't know the story is about a city set to be destroyed by the Gods for blasphemy, unless they sacrifice their princess or if a demi-god hero/fisherman can go on a quest to find a way to kill the monster the Gods intend to release. The Gods are a fickle breed. I'm a big fan of the original and I assumed this would suck, but besides it's flat characters, predictable plot, and non existent cinematic style, your left with just a series of action set pieces. Fortunately though these set pieces are very well done and the movie coasts on them, keeping a pretty regular special effects pace throughout, with some action or creatures popping up every 15 minutes or so (usually sooner than later). The fx have none of the heart of Ray Harryhausen but that was never going to happen.There was still smidgens of the nonsensical with the scorpion riding desert people and Hades made of harpies, but the three witches could have been allot more creepy or funny, in any event they were a let down. I'm hoping Tarsem's upcoming "War Of The Gods" will be an improvement, but this could have been worse. Pretty much all the big money action movies these days are bad, but this is on the slightly more fun than dumb side of things like Crank 2, Gamer, GI Joe, and maybe even a little bit District 9 (which seems stronger post-Avatar). The Gods may have become super shiny prayer-vampires, but they still know how kill a Gorgon and when they release a Kraken, they really release a Kraken.

No comments: