Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Clash of the Titans



By: Da’Mon Guy

      The pillaging of great 80’s movies continues with Clash of the Titans. It’s a visually captivating re-imagining of a classic 1981 film of the same name. The new re-imagining boasts two rising stars in Sam Worthington (Avatar, Terminator: Salvation), Gemma Arterton (Prince of Persia), and two established stars in Liam Neelson (A-Team) and Ralph Fiennes (The Reader).

      Born of a God but raised at as a man, Perseus (Worthington) the illegitimate son of Zeus (Neelson), vows vengeance on the Gods after the death of his mortal family at the hands of Hades (Finnes). In order to get his revenge, Perseus undertakes a quest to rescue the princess (Arterton) after she is to be sacrificed to the Gods to prevent the destruction of the city, Argos.

      Clash of the Titans is the re-imagining of a movie of the same name that premiered in 1981. This new version contains the same plot and most of the main characters. In spite of this, the premise and tone of the movie have been changed. In this version, Perseus does not embellish his connection to the gods as he did in the original. In this adaptation, He resents it. The movie takes a man vs. the gods theme. “Damn the Gods” was the characters unspoken motto. It also became a selling point for the film.

      In many of today's re-imaginings, the richness of the details of the story are traded for visual effects. Clash of the Titans is the latest example of that. The story of the new Clash doesn’t best the previous one in any way. Yet the special effects are the thing that sets this Clash from the previous one. The cheesy nature of the previous movie did not compliment the story, in some ways, they took away from the story. The confines of the time limited the movie’s makers from using the effects to expand the story. The effects didn’t extend the story. They hindered it in some ways, taking away from the realism. That allowed it to be more of a fantasy. On the contrary, many of the best moments are lost as the updated version prefers to focus on the visuals and speed up the plot to max out the adrenaline rush. The special effects in this version are the highlight of the film, not the story.

      The Andromeda-Perseus dynamic was at the core of the original and in the new movie it has been bypassed for a revenge and an “Us against them (the gods)” approach for the film. That approach changes the entire complexity of the movie especially for the main character, Perseus. This outlook dehumanizes Perseus as well as reducing man to angry, intolerant beast who lacks compassion. The previous film gave Perseus’ quest meaning. It showcased some of the best characteristics about him and mankind. Those being love, courage, and honor. This version turns Perseus into a vengeful, blood thirsty monster without a sympathetic side.
The reduction of the role of Andromeda is another clear detractor for this incarnation. Andromeda’s role is very limited in this version. She is barely more than a minor detail to move the story along. This reduction of her role takes away from the substance of the movie. The removal of the romance between Perseus and Andromeda causes the movie to reshape its entire theme. It loses much of its depth. The removal of the romantic dynamic essentially removes the purpose of the film, changing it and turning the movie into an action flick.

      Sam Worthington’s performance as Perseus is good but very superficial. The man against the Gods approach is on full display as Worthington’s macho bravado is in full force throughout the movie. He clearly embellishes the action aspect of the movie. In this version, Perseus is after revenge. The shift in focus causes a complete change in the tone of the movie causing the character to lack substance. This is the main detractor from this version of Clash of the Titans.

      The newest Clash of the Titans best the 1981 version in almost everyway but the one that counts. The story. The original Clash was a multifaceted story that contained many elements to enhance a good love story. The special effects were used to support and enhance the story. This latest Clash is just another big budget pillage that capitalizes on someone else’s idea. It alters too many of the essential details of the story to amp up the action and violence. I was impressed with the look of the film but disappointed in the approach the film used to retell this story. It’s an extremely mediocre recreation of a great story.

No comments:

Post a Comment