Clash of the Titans
The lens flare! My only weakness!

Theatrical Release Date: 04/02/2010
Director: Louis Leterrier
Cast: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Flemyng, Gemma Arterton, Alexa Davalos, Mads Mikkelsen, Luke Evans, Izabella Miko, Pete Postlethwaite, Tamer Hassan, Danny Huston

This definitely isn’t your 1981 “Clash of the Titans”. Gone is the stop motion and in comes a whole bevy of CGI craziness. Of course, since it’s now 2010 and “Avatar” made more money than many countries list as their GDP, this is presented in 3D – complete with higher ticket prices.

Normally, I’d wait until later but I’ll just rant against this little trend now. While some films benefit from this technology, they only do so when actually filmed in 3D. Doing the work in post results in barely perceptible depth, blurred action and, thanks to the tinted glasses, muted colors. As always, I flipped the glasses off from time to time to check out the colors and while there isn’t anything in this film’s palette that would wow an audience, it’s far prettier and defined sans 3D eye wear.

As for the film itself, casting was interesting, to say the least. Sure, Sam Worthington makes sense as our hero, the Demi-God Perseus, but Liam Neeson as Zeus doesn’t work so much when you gild him in sparkles and while Ralph Fiennes is great fun as Voldemort in the Harry Potter franchise, his over the top performance here reminded me of Jeremy Irons’ overstated turn in 2000′s “Dungeons & Dragons”.

Perhaps the most welcome surprise comes from Mads Mikkelson. A favorite of mine due to his work in Danish cinema, he has enjoyed some success in America thanks to roles in high profile films like “Casino Royale“. Although he’s playing a bad ass soldier here, his character is more of a life coach for Worthington, helping to untie some of the mental knots going on in our Demi-God’s head. This juxtaposition of roles can easily come off as forced or awkward but Mikkelson makes it work.

Now the bigger problem with the film comes from the elements that should be a slam dunk – the fight scenes. None of them are all that exciting or inventive. Sure, you’re fighting unusual creatures but it’s all done in a traditional or rehashed manner. There are a lot of quick cuts to the sword play, making me believe that not enough time was spent training Worthington on the finer arts of blade fighting. And essentially, the rest of the fights are like a video game (though these days, many of those are far superior).

I also have to question the choice to use the mythical Kraken as the centerpiece to the final battle … only to essentially have the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle on steroids / “Cloverfield” monster on-screen for what seems like a minute and a half (more if you count tentacles flailing but I don’t). If you’re going to the trouble of building all this hype about an overwhelming giant of a beast, let him do a little more.

Still, from a fantasy/adventure angle, “The Clash of the Titans (2010)” does barely enough to justify the price of a 2D ticket and gets a 2.5 out of 5. Had the action been more exciting, I could have been more enthusiastic but I was expecting much worse and walked out satisfied for the most part. Fans of the original though should not expect any real similarity to that piece of nostalgic bliss and even the five second cameo by a certain mechanical owl seems like a hollow mea culpa.