Posted by: greercn | April 9, 2010

Clash of the Titans

If you like your film to be a pastiche of other films, lovingly coated in special effects and monsters, you’ll find something to rejoice in here. Everyone channels the spirit of someone in another movie.

The trouble with “Clash of the Titans” is that it all feels like a bunch or rock videos spliced together, without great rock music. It is bitty, episodic and just does not grab the attention. The lead actors and many of the minor ones appear to be in other films.

Ralph Fiennes  as Hades is “Riff Raff” from “Rocky Horror”, with a fantastic cape and lots of fire.  Liam Neeson brings a mix of “Star Trek” and Jeff Bridges’ cool guy in “The Men Who Stare At Goats” to his role as Zeus. And you cannot watch Gemma Arterton as Io without being irresistibly reminded of “Galadriel” in “Lord of the Rings”.

There’s a hippie from “The Life Of Brian”. There are two different guys being Harry Enfield’s “Stavros” combined with reminders of a dodgy guy who once tried to sell me a carpet in Istanbul. As for poor Sam Worthington as Perseus, he’s just reprising his “Avatar” character, with even less cash spent on the script. The guy had better lines in “Terminator Salvation”. Please, someone give him better scripts!

I really wasn’t going to see this. Then, I discovered, via Facebook, that a friend’s husband had worked on the big scorpions. The big scorpions are seriously cool. Honestly, they are the best part of this movie, along with the fire, the other big monsters and Medusa.

Peter Clayton, who worked on the scorpions, is married to Aislinn McCormick. Peter and Aislinn are very talented people. Aislinn is the daughter of one of my oldest and best friends. I could go on and on about Peter and Aislinn, because they are great and I live in hope they will make a terrific movie together. But I digress. Buy a ticket. See Peter C’s scorpions. I must now stop writing this paragraph about people who are of interest to me and get back to the movie, mustn’t I?

Pete Postlethwaite has a nice cameo as the fisherman who adopts Perseus, the demi-god son of Zeus. Perseus must save Argos – they keep shouting the name and you start working through that downmarket British shop’s catalogue in your head each time they do – or a cute girl who channels Audrey Hepburn in evening dress will die, to save Argos.

The gods are really angry because people don’t love and worship them properly any more. Do they consider therapy? No. Do they consider a change in life’s direction? No. They go for the facile anger and revenge option. It would make Oprah cross that they do not “get over themselves” but opt for creating more drama and pain.

I first peeked at my watch 30 minutes in. Then, again, at 45 minutes. The scorpions and Medusa  (Natalia Voidianova) are pretty good. 80 minutes. 95 minutes. Is this watch working? Does it need a new battery? 96 minutes. I start to notice other people. These are never good signs when you are watching a movie, are they?

Most of the filming was done in Tenerife in the Canary Islands and the sets are terrific. There are bits of “King Kong”, “Titanic” and the TV series “Rome” that come to mind and you remember how much better these set pieces were in those alternate pieces of celluloid.

I am glad to have seen it so I can say genuinely nice things about Pete C’s scorpions. Gemma Arterton and Sam Worthington have some chemistry and may make a good movie together, in the future. Buy or rent the DVD and skip the boring bits.  It’s an okay movie with some wonderful effects and the 3D is lovely and adds depth and a nice sense of flight and movement. But that’s it. The rest is derivative and a little dull.

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