Clash of the Titans is a CGI-laden remake of the 1981 movie of the same name. Like its predecessor, it's loosely based on the Greek myth of Perseus, the son of Zeus. After Hades (Ralph Fiennes) kills his family, Perseus (Sam Worthington), ignorant of his demi-god status, helps the humans in their war against Zeus (Liam Neeson) the gods of Mount Olympus.
Sam Worthington is capable of playing much more than just your typical action hero and yet this is what he's reduced to in Clash. His character, despite being the son of a god, is incredibly mundane. Despite the fact that he's not quite human, the character still requires a human touch, which he simply doesn't have. Worthington does what he can with what he has, which isn't much.
But the wasted talent doesn't stop there. Neeson and Fiennes are both squandered with bad material and criminally little screen time. These are two phenomenal actors that are portraying characters you couldn't care less about. Apparently the apple didn't fall too far from the tree for Perseus, because Zeus is just as boring of a character. At least they're consistent.
What really brings Clash of the Titans down is the breakneck pacing that moves too quickly for you to develop an emotional attachment to anyone. There's a scene in the movie where Perseus is giving a motivational speech to his men and telling them how proud he is to battle next to them. It feels like the world's first instance of public relations. Perseus barely knows these people and we don't know them any better. And without giving away spoilers, the climax of the movie involves someone's life in danger, but you won't care one bit.
The rapid pacing also makes it difficult to follow the story at times. The characters will jump from one set piece to the other and it's easy to lose track of why they're doing what they're doing. They'll be fighting giant scorpions one minute and then ten minutes later they'll be squaring off with Medusa. It feels like they challenged themselves to see how many different effects and creatures they could cram into the movie's roughly one hour and forty five minute runtime.
And that runtime really is the heart of the problem. A movie surrounding Greek mythology should be epic, something that can't be done in under two hours, at least not with this many characters. You need time to absorb the wonder of it all, which you don't have. So not only are you left feeling completely disconnected from the characters, you don't even have time to truly appreciate the visuals.
But you will appreciate them on some level, because they are spectacular. And not just the special effects, though those are great. Everything in this movie looks good, from the cinematography to the character designs. There are a few notable exceptions. Medusa is entirely CGI, which is an odd choice given that she has a human face. Why couldn't they have used an actress in conjunction with computer-generated effects? And Zeus looks absolutely ridiculous. The way his armor sparkles, it looks like something from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Those gripes aside, this movie is absolutely stunning on an aesthetic level.
Clash of the Titans can be likened to a bit of fruit that was picked far before it was ripe. It could've been something fantastic had it simply grown into something bigger, but in its current state it's small and insignificant. It does little justice to the awesome tales Greek mythology. If you're looking for something fun to gawk at, then you've definitely found it, but expect no more than that.
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