Perseus (Sam Worthington) is a man born of the gods. The god Zeus is his father and human Danae is his mother. There is a struggle between the gods. Perseus leads a dangerous mission to defeat vengeful god Hades (Ralph Fiennes) before he can seize power from Zeus (Liam Neeson) and unleash hell on earth.
Director Louis Leterrier‘s CLASH OF TITANS is a visual effects driven re-telling of some well-loved stories as well as a remake of the 1979 film of the same name. The original movie is fondly remembered as the triumphant swan song of stop motion animator Ray Harryhausen. It starred a fine group of British thespians and for a generation of children it was their introduction to Greek myth.The new film is predictably a computer-graphics-fest, but it is also better plotted, better acted and better paced than its predecessor. The graphics are an integral part of the action. The beastly characters like Medusa and The Kraken are well imagined and realised.
The enmities and alliances of the gods particularly between brothers Hades, Poseidon and Zeus are much clearer, too, giving the new film a narrative shape the audience can follow and engage with.
Some criticism has been aimed at Western Australia’s own Sam Worthington. The complaint seems to be: “We don’t find Sam’s Rockingham bogan portrayal of the heroic Perseus very convincing”. To which I say, ‘meh’. Pretty sure that had Zeus and Hades existed, they wouldn’t have sounded as though they were trained by the Royal Shakespeare Company. As with his lead role in AVATAR, I think Worthington proves himself, yet again, to be a capable Hollywood action hero.
Neeson, Fiennes and Mads Mikkelsen are also very good. The usual chilliness of Fiennes is perfect for the put upon and ambitious Hades. Sadly, the role of Andromeda isn’t very rewarding for Alexa Davalos. The main female role is taken by Gemma Arterton as the demi-god Io; she has a similarly mythic role in the new PRINCE OF PERSIA movie.
The ending of CLASH OF THE TITANS is exciting and compelling rather than the ‘big boss battle’ a lot of CG heavy films end up being. The finale is cinematic and choreographed and feels like the conclusion to a strong story. For once, the big ending means something. It was shot standard and then upsized to 3D; this tech decision has been universally panned. It isn’t a patch on a 3D film like AVATAR, however, if you don’t particularly care about 3D – as I don’t – then this tinkering won’t matter.
Clocking in at 118 minutes, this is a swift journey through the world of classic Greek myth. Some of the details of the world of man, demi-god and god are hashed up to make the story play for modern audiences, but the cruelty, capriciousness and compassion that always make the gods on Olympus understandable from a human point of view, has been kept and is still an important part of this tale.