How do you kill a god? Easy, make a remake of a classic 1980s film and watch them writhing in agony at the torturous dialogue and monster-sized plot fillers. Clash of the Titans really is a colossal mess. This remake, produced by Legendary Pictures, stars Sam Worthington as the ever-brooding, self-counselling hero, Perseus, and Gemma Arterton as his not-so-esoteric guardian and eventual love interest, Io.
When a battalion of soldiers from Argos topple a statue of Zeus, Perseus’ adopted family are killed by the gods’ supernatural retribution that follows. From there the story describes how humans have affronted the gods, so now the divine, armour-wearing immortals up top have commanded Hades, their lowly brother and keeper of the Underworld, to punish the humans by unleashing the Kraken. And so it falls to Perseus, demigod and son of Zeus, to find a way to rescue the mortals who triggered the death of his family at the hands of Hades by seeking out a means to destroy the Kraken.
Playing little attention to the original – save for the odd in-joke – Clash of the Titans moves from a fairly bearable bit of mindless fun to a clichéd string of bad one-liners and predicable outcomes. There’s so much that doesn’t even begin to have any real bearing on the character relationships and overall plot. Exposition is given for things but edited together in a way that doesn’t explain how characters in the plot learn of it. Your predictable band of enthusiastic warrior extras die one after another at the film’s self-proclaimed ‘low’ moment. And after not quite managing to jump in the saddle together (ahem, while on the boat to the Underworld no less), the moment when Perseus must bid farewell to ‘the only women who’s ever loved him’ is one of the corniest moments I’ve witnessed all year – the circumstances of it all are so absurd that I actually burst out laughing, a reaction the filmmakers hadn’t intended, but nevertheless elicited.
Action sequences are overblown, with the film constantly wishing to remind you, in cased you’d somehow been living under a rock since The Matrix, that CG can create monstrous giant scorpions as real as the real thing. And in cased you didn’t quite get that, here’s a bigger one! It all comes to a head with Perseus’ rush to the rescue at the eleventh hour: sword, princesses in distress and an even bigger mythical monster. I saw the whole film in 3D and was also bitterly disappointed at the limp experience it offered. The action sequences have the occasional pop out moment, but are otherwise a blur.
In the end it comes off looking like a poor man’s Lord of the Rings – in Greece. Liam Neenson and Gemma Arterton have a couple moments of sparkle, but nothing memorable. The makers of this film might like to look back and poke fun at the original Clash of the Titans, with its cheesy stop-motion animations and scale trickery, but it was a darn sight more entertaining than this, because it wasn’t trying to feature all and sundry of every other Greek mythology film ever released.
And that day, as I looked upon the silver screen in my tawdry 3D spectacles, the gods wept…