Clash of the Titans
directed by Louis Leterrier
(Warner Bros., 2010)

Clash of the Titans, the 2010 version, is a pointless remake of the 1981 original.

Are the special effects better? No question. But to what purpose? The new Clash doesn't tell the story any better this time around. In fact, the story here is much, much worse. It's muddy and senseless, stripped of all heart and meaning. At least the original had a romance as its focal point, the legendary love between Perseus and Andromeda. Now, they barely even meet; Perseus -- Sam Worthington with a modern buzzcut in a world of otherwise hairy men -- is out for revenge against the gods because a god killed his family.

The result is just another excuse to put actors in armor and put swords in their hands so they can fight flashy, computer-generated foes. Unfortunately, Hollywood once again has just redone an existing film -- badly -- rather than put forth the effort to come up with something new.

So, we no longer care about Andromeda (Alexa Davalos). No one seems to mind too much when her mother, Cassiopeia (Polly Walker), dies. Bubo, the annoying mechanical owl from the original, makes an unexceptional cameo appearance. The backstory for Calibos (Jason Flemyng) has been watered down to uselessness. Pegasus is now black, I suppose because black is cooler than white. Zeus can make lightsabers. And Io (Gemma Arterton) has been added to the story to, um, stand around a lot and be inscrutable, teach Perseus (but no one else) how to fight Medusa and show off her fine, fine legs.

There are djinn now in the story, with glowing blue eyes and a lot of prosthetic makeup. Since the djinn aren't part of Greek mythology, one might wonder why they're there are all -- but then again, the Kraken is a Scandinavian beast, so filmmakers certainly weren't shooting for accuracy. There's a big fight with giant scorpions, but it's mostly just a blur of motion that isn't half as exciting as it wants to be. And the Medusa scene -- wonderfully tense in the original -- is again just an excuse to show off some more CGI effects.

When will Hollywood realize that it's not enough just to put pretty pictures on the screen? Sigh. I suppose when we stop giving Hollywood our money for this crap.

review by
Tom Knapp

24 April 2010

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