Main cast: Sam Worthington (Perseus), Liam Neeson (Zeus), Ralph Fiennes (Hades), Jason Flemyng (Calibos/King Acrisius), Gemma Arterton (Io), Alexa Davalos (Andromeda), Mads Mikkelsen (Draco), Vincent Regan (King Cepheus), Polly Walker (Queen Cassiopeia), Luke Treadaway (Prokopion), and Pete Postlethwaite (Spyros)
Director: Louis Leterrier
Three people claimed to have prepared the script for this remake of the original 1981 movie, but I can only wonder whether they got the inspiration after a particularly bad night at the RPG table. This Clash of the Titans may cost much more to make and boasts more expensive special effects than the 1981 original, but this one manages to lose a story line, a cohesive sense of direction, and the collective dignities of everyone involved in this steaming pile of crap in the process.
The script is very different from the 1981 movie or even from the actual Greek mythologies that inspired the 1981 movie. In this one, Perseus is the son of Zeus and Danae, with Danae being the wife of King Acrisius instead of his daughter. You see, Acrisius a few decades before this story begins mounted a war on Mount Olympus. Zeus, choosing to “teach Acrisius a lesson”, opted to shapechange into Acrisius and shagged the King’s wife. Enraged, the King executed both his wife and her son by locking them into a box and tossing it into the sea.
Because the kid is half-god, he survives when a fisherman named Spyros discovered the box while doing his thing on the sea. Twenty years later, Perseus and his family just happen to be at the wrong place and the wrong time when the soldiers of Argos topple a statue of Zeus and invite the wrath of the God of the Underworld, Hades. Hades also causes Spyros’s boat to go ka-boom. Remember, we are talking about a family of fishermen, but alas, only Perseus survives while the others drown. Then, Perseus is taken to Argos, where he just happens to be there when Queen Cassiopeia foolishly brags that her daughter Andromeda is more beautiful than Aphrodite. Again, Hades strikes, and he also conveniently tells Perseus that Perseus is Zeus’s son.
I’m sure you can tell by now that we don’t really have much of a story here, just a hero who makes it a habit to be at the wrong place and time. To cut the long story short, Andromeda will be sacrificed at the time of the eclipse to the kraken if the people of Argos do not want their city to be pulped. Io, now a non-bovine quasi-deity creature who claims to have watched Perseus all this while, manages to convince King Cepheus of Argos to provide Perseus with a team so that he can locate the Stygian witches and discover a way to kill the kraken. So we have a team of fighters and two hunters. Any hardened RPG player will tell you that this party is doomed because they have no cleric or wizard, but don’t worry, they will get a wizard to join them later on. Io functions as cleric, I guess, since she provides water to Perseus when he’s down and she also takes a random shot at the enemy once in the whole movie. But on the whole, Io, with her Prestige Class Skill of Walking in Treacherous Terrains While Wearing Voluminous Robes without Slipping, is basically the Hero’s Girlfriend. Yes, Perseus’s love interest here is Io, not Andromeda.
Of course, the whole thing is a plot by Hades to usurp Zeus’s power. Poor Hades – he has never been the same since that bald patch starts to show.
One thing that strikes me about this movie is how unimpressive all those special effects are. The much-hyped kraken looks like a green rubber monster, those monstrous scorpions move awkwardly and look like they are put together from styrofoam blocks, and the djinns resemble underpaid extras wearing very fake rubber masks. The Medusa is a disappointment. I have seen much better and more realistic special effects and animated computer graphics in Playstation games.
Speaking of which, Kratos from those God of War games can kick the rear end of this Perseus with both his hands and legs tied up. This Perseus is Jake Sully redux, and I’m not saying this just because Sam Worthington sports the same haircut and the same single facial expression in both movies. Just like how Jake Sully is an idiot written to be too stupid to love, Perseus is the kind of fellow who wanders off alone into the wilderness, causing his teammates to look for him and get attacked by the bad guy as a result.
Perseus has no capability for strategic thinking. When he is given a magical sword by Zeus, he refuses to use it despite being asked twice by the Grouchy Veteran Member of his team to do so. Why? He claims that he wants to succeed as a man and not as a half-deity. But the only thing keeping him alive is his half-deity mojo! The reason he can fight without having trained to use a sword is because he is a half-deity! So it is madness that he refuses to use the magic sword, especially when he could have saved his men in the process. Worst of all, he finally uses it after everyone else, including Io, has been killed. So much for principles. I guess it’s okay for him to use it when his life is at stake, but not when his comrades’ lives are at stake.
And let’s not even start with Perseus’s capability as team leader. Wow, that enemy has trounced them bad, and some people are wounded or dead, but hey, who cares? Perseus wants them to keep chasing that bad guy, splitting up to do so. Hilarity ensues. As for how Perseus survives after leading all his men to their wasteful deaths, well, after a villain had slain everyone else, this villain automatically becomes inept when it comes to killing Perseus. For example, the Medusa needs only one arrow to take down each of Perseus’s men. But with Perseus, she starts missing him on point blank. The mojo of being a half-deity, I guess, and yet he still won’t use the magic sword. Stupid braindead moron.
Then again, he’s not the only braindead moron here. The people of Argos know they have until the eclipse, which is about a week from Hades’s warning, before the kraken shows up to ravage the whole place. So what do they do? Evacuate, you say? Don’t be silly. All of them congregate by the seaside on the day of the eclipse, waiting for the kraken to show up as if the kraken is an American Idol winner coming to throw a concert for them. As you can imagine, hilarity ensues. Even when the kraken attacks, nobody runs. I don’t get this people, I really don’t.
As for the guys in Perseus’s team, I don’t know their names and I don’t care. The characters in this movie are all stereotypes. Perseus Sully’s team mates are the Newbie, the Comic Relief Guys (three of them, not doing a good job), the Veteran, the Surly Experienced Soldier Who Was Antagonistic Toward the Hero Until He Warms Up to Him Enough to Share a Secret Pain of His to the Hero, the token minority member in the form of a djinn wizard, and the useless chick. On the bright side, this movie captures the spirit of the United Colors of Benetton – so many accents are present in this movie, none of them Greek.
I walked into the cinema with minimal expectations. I just wanted to be entertained. But Clash of the Titans features ugly special effects, a hero too stupid for me to respect, and huge lapses of logic from start to finish. Don’t waste your time on this steaming pile of turd on film.