‘Clash of the Titans’ does a dishonor to the Greek gods
Editor’s note: This review first was published April 2, 2010.
It’s not enough to have Perseus, Medusa and a kraken savagely clashing with enchanted swords, if-looks-could-kill eyes and god-like strength. No, now it has to be done in 3-D. The 3-D effects of “Clash of the Titans” were hardly worthy of a Greek epic, but the movie in its entirety didn’t make you want to jump into Tartarus head-first.
A remake of the 1981 classic, “Clash of the Titans” recounts the ancient Greek tale of Perseus (Sam Worthington), son of Zeus, and his Herculean adventures. Not sure what the myth entails? Read a book.
The plot, as with every other Grecian hero-based movie, embarks with a ridiculous — and completely fabricated — birth sequence. Not trying to ruin any surprises, but it’s not often that you see a coffin jettisoning out of the ocean by unidentified forces.
Because of mankind’s growing resentment toward the gods, they, Zeus (Liam Neeson) particularly, become angry with their “children.” In retaliation, Zeus, in his almighty wisdom, unleashes his brother Hades (Ralph Fiennes) — the same brother who Zeus banished to the Underworld after the defeat of Kronos — on the mortal populace. Clever, no? Well, no, not really.
In a series of unfortunate events, Hades eventually kills Perseus’ entire adopted family. So, as one can imagine, Perseus does not harbor warm, fuzzy feelings for the gods.
On top of this, when King Kepheus (Vincent Regan) and Queen Cassiopeia (Polly Walker) of Argos liken themselves to the gods and compare the beauty of their daughter, Andromeda (Alexa Davalos), to that of goddess Aphrodite, the gods lose it, and Hades storms the palace. Because Perseus is unaffected by his attack, Hades realizes that he is a demigod and tells him of his true father, Zeus. Not to be outdone by Perseus, though, Hades kills the queen and demands that the city of Argos further pay for its insolence and vanity; in 10 days, the kraken will be released. If Andromeda is not sacrificed, then Argos will be destroyed. It’s just a big, ol’, happy love-fest in Argos.
So, Perseus, along with Argos’ finest forces and Io (Gemma Arterton), a never-aging mortal who has been watching over Perseus since his birth, takes off in an effort to defeat the kraken.
Their quest takes them across Greece to the rocky Garden of Stygia, home of the final battle between the gods and the titans. Here, the Stygian witches reside. (They share one eye — it’s rather disturbing.) The sister witches inform Perseus of how to kill the kraken (the head of Medusa will be involved), but, in an err in judgment, Perseus learns that he will not survive the battle.
Armed with his newfound knowledge, Perseus battles his way to Medusa’s lair, which is the beginning of the end.
Superfluous 3-D effects aside, the movie was a pleasure to watch. The action sequences were intense, the plot made sense (for what it was) and it didn’t take itself too seriously.
However, that does not make up for the fact that this movie has no footing in Greek mythology. For one, the kraken was never part of Greek antiquity; Poseidon, not Hades, threatened Andromeda, Hades never harbored any ill will toward Perseus; and as far as Greek mythology is concerned, Io never had anything to do with Perseus. And, to top it off, where are the titans? Not anywhere in this movie, that’s for sure.
So, while it’s clear that no historians were contacted in the making of this movie, it still offered a nice slice of action pie. Just see it in 2-D; the extra dimension will just leave you wanting to be turned to stone.
Two stone-glazed stars out of five.