4.05.2010

Clash of the Titans: 3 of 5

The original Clash of the Titans with its nostalgic Ray Harryhausen stop-motion effects is high on my list of magical childhood movies, so I knew I had to see this remake regardless of the terrible reviews. While it’s no surprise that it doesn’t hold a candle to the original, at least I can say it could have been much worse, and I actually thought some of the story changes they made were interesting. For starters, Hades is now the main villain who wants to unleash the Kraken (rather than the jealous Thetis), and Perseus really only wants to defeat the beast as a way of getting to Hades so he can avenge his foster family. Perseus himself couldn’t care less about being a demigod, and he constantly refuses Zeus’ help and says he wants to complete his quest “as a man”. This is a pretty interesting plot point, but I think Perseus caved-in a little quickly by using his divine sword to defeat Calibos. And speaking of Calibos, he’s been completely changed as well, with no connection to the Princess Andromeda, and now he’s actually Perseus’ stepfather (in a roundabout way)! Andromeda herself has been split into two characters, and the romance that Perseus had in the original film is now directed towards Io, who goes along on the journey to get Medusa’s head. Thankfully, many of the events of the quest are essentially the same, just updated with billions of CGI pixels, so we get to see the Stygian Witches, Charon on the River Styx, the fight with Medusa (who looks surprisingly true to her old Harryhausen design, which was a great decision!), and even a ride on Pegasus (who is a black horse this time around). There’s not a lot of comedy or even geeky throwbacks to the original movie, aside from a brief moment with Bubo the mechanical owl that’s pretty funny. My pals and I had a great time enjoying the action, but this new Clash of the Titans doesn’t have any of the mythical epic feel of the original. The scorpions may be bigger, but there’s no grandeur or classical hero spirit that made the first film so special (at least to boys my age!). Overall I’d much rather watch the 1981 classic again, but it was still fun comparing it to this modern version.