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Clash of the Titans

April 30, 2010

I have a couple of reasons for doing this. First, I want to see if I can bash out a short review that doesn’t take too much time and consideration. Secondly, I was forewarned by a good man that this film would be complete bollocks and I gleefully scoffed at this warning and did mock my friend most childishly for making it. Taking the time to write this is my penance, for that man was correct.

I saw Clash of the Titans for free, so that’s something. As part of a special teacher’s day out at my school some of us opted to visit a local cinema on the school’s dime, and that pretty much covers everything positive I have to say about the experience. If we could just jump briefly to an example of quality action cinema, I will allude to a classic line uttered by Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) in the seminal 1980s buddy cop movie, Lethal Weapon.

“I’m getting too old for this shit.”

In Murtaugh’s case, the shit he felt he was getting too old for involved pursuing armed felons and risking his life in all manner of dangerous law enforcement scenarios. In my case, the shit I’m getting too old for is vacuous nonsense movies comprised of little other than a smorgasbord of lifeless CGI set-pieces barely held together by threadbare nonsense plots that are fucking impossible to care about.

The original Clash of the Titans was made in 1981 and I enjoyed it a great deal as a child. The heavy nostalgic investment I had in that film brought me inexorably before this recent remake directed by Louis Letterier. As far as I can tell, the film is about the Ancient Greeks of mythology being pissed off with their gods, the pantheon of Olympus here consisting of Liam Neeson as Zeus, Ralph Fiennes as Hades and a bunch of other guys (including an inexplicably sidelined Danny Huston) in the background. Everyone is pissed off with these gods and they walk about snarling through gritted teeth about how much they dislike them. Chief among the snarlers is Sam Worthington as Perseus. He’s backed up by Mads Mikkelsen snarling about disliking gods and disliking Perseus at the same time. There are a couple of women in there, one of them needs rescued. There are a lot of CGI mythological beasts including an oddly underused Pegasus and a thoroughly disappointing Medusa. It’s not clear if the pissed-off at the gods thing is supposed to play as some slightly subversive, polemical secularist subtext because it’s never really coherently explained. My guess is that they were essentially trying to make a big-screen adaptation of the video game franchise God of War, with the outrageous ultra violence that made the game so much fun obviously absent from the movie because they only make this big budget action shit for children these days. The design of the Kraken and its assault on Argos in the film seems very similar to a scene in the popular video game.

I don’t even have the heart to type much more. It’s a big bombastic turd of a film that is crushingly dull. Utterly devoid of wit or any genuine thrills, it’s a laborious spectacle that lacks even the unhinged, seething madness of a Michael Bay flick to lend it a lifeline of notoriety. Avoid.

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2 comments

  1. I’m actually half-convinced this movie was initially going to be a God of War adaptation, but the studio figured it’d be cheaper for them to just remake a property they already had the rights to.

    At least you didn’t pay for it.

    But let this be a lesson to ye, sir! To paraphrase Ziggy Sobotka via Nick Sobotka:

    “[Modern Hollywood CGI action flicks] ain’t shit!”

    Unless we’re talking about Iron Man 2. That’ll be good, I think.


  2. I guess I’m a hopeless idealist but I thought that, with the amount of crap merchants peddling nonsense movies bursting with little more than relentless, undisciplined CGI, people would eventually tire of it and there would be a broad, meaningful backlash. I also thought The Dark Knight was perhaps a milestone movie in that respect.

    Then again, along came Avatar with the record-breaking box office (albeit via the trick of doubled ticket prices) and already we see the dumbfuckery of retrofitting subsequent films with 3-D in the belief that it will automatically generate more ticket sales.Say what you want about Cameron’s movie, the guy knows how to use his tech. I just don’t know about the rest of the industry.



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