Despite what you might hear from internet-haters and stuck-up film critics in the next few days, in my opinion "Clash Of The Titans" is a great and fun popcorn movie. I honestly enjoyed this movie and thought that it was a decent piece of Hollywood entertainment. In an attempt at full disclosure I will say that I only saw the original once when I was a real young kid and other than a fleeting image of the old Pegasus, I don't really remember a thing. That may just be exactly why I liked this so much, because I had no expectations. I thought the effects were well done and as good as the CGI was I was also impressed by how many practical effects were in the film. But at the end of the day I believe that this film only works because of actor Sam Worthington's performance as Perseus, which ties the entire movie together.
The "Avatar" actor has put together a very impressive resume in American films in a very short time between his appearances in that film, this one and last summers underrated "Terminator Salvation." In this film, as the others, Worthington's performance his raw, real and powerful, and it's that performance that grounds the movie. The other performances are well done especially from veteran actors Ralph Fiennes and Liam Neeson, who play the Gods Hades and Zeus, respectively and I enjoyed the blown out, white light look that they gave to Zeus and the dark, shadowy look given to Hades. Also really good in the film is "The Usual Suspects" actor Pete Postlethwaite who plays Perseus' Earth father and gives the film's plot an urgent motivation as well as the beautiful Gemma Arterton from "Quantum Of Solace" who gives a wonderful performance as Io. Director Louis Leterrier ("The Incredible Hulk") does a great job updating this franchise for a new audience as well as leaving in references to the first film such as a scene that features a brief cameo from the fan-favorite robotic owl, Bubo.
For the most part, the film sticks pretty close to the plot of the original. At the start of the film we are introduced to the Gods who are upset with the world of man, which has begun to rebel against the Gods. We meet Apyros (Postlethwaite), a simple fisherman who along with his wife have raised a boy that he found abandoned years before named Perseus (Worthington). After a group of humans destroy Zeus statue in anger, Hades convinces Zeus to let him unleash hell on Earth in the form of the monster, Kraken. But when Hades wrath accidentally kills Perseus' family this starts a chain reaction that sends Perseus on a path towards revenge. Perseus comes to learn that he is actually a demigod, the half human son of Zeus and agrees to lead a group of soldiers on a quest to capture Medusa's head in order to kill the Kraken. However, if mankind sacrifices the princess Andromeda (Alexa Davalos) the Kraken will spare their lives. But Hades alliance with Zeus is just a trick in order for Hades to take control of Earth and in turn steal ultimate power from Zeus and the rest of the Gods. Now, mankind and the Gods only hope of stopping Hades is if Perseus can learn to accept who he really is and defy his fate to create his own destiny. He must take the soldiers on a quest that leads them to fight giant scorpions, the evil Medusa herself and ultimately, the Kraken. Eventually, Perseus accepts his heritage and the help of Zeus, who gives him a magic sword, shield and the winged horse Pegasus (which really does look amazing in the film), in order to survive and complete his quest.
While the film is being released on 3D as well as 2D I did not have a chance to se it on 3D and therefore can't comment on that. However I was shown a six-minute "sizzle reel" of 3D footage that I was told was 85% done. I have to say that I thought the 3D transfer looked decent but seeing it out of context makes it hard for me to be able to say whether the 3D works overall in the scope of the film, like "Avatar" or if ultimately it is just a needles distraction. But the 3D reel included the Medusa scene, which I thought looked pretty cool in 3D. I thought that the story flowed pretty nicely and I thought that Perseus' desire to have revenge for his Earth father's death was a great motivation for the character and gave him a real purpose. Among several of the writers of the script is veteran writer and director Laurence Kasdan ("The Empire Strikes Back") and his contributions to the script are obvious. While the plot is light in some areas I liked the fact that there is not a lot of fat on this movie. It's pretty lean and gets right to importance of the story, Perseus' quest and his battle with the Kraken.
Speaking of the Kraken, that is one of the best improvements from the original film as I thought this best was much more menacing, although some of the magic of the first film's low-budget effects is lost with this new version. But while some fans of the original may just think that this is a mindless, big-budget version of the original, new fans and a young audience don't care about the original and want their own "2010" version of the film, which the filmmakers deliver in grand fashion. The film's quick pace and powerful action work well together but again, its Worthington's commanding performance that ties the film together. In fact, Worthington has a "Braveheart" type speech to his men right before the battle with Medusa, which could easily just come off as cheesy and lame but instead the actor makes it work and it is one of the more powerful acting moments in the film. One more effect worth mentioning is Mt. Olympus, the home of the Gods. Mixing practical landscapes with CGI they create a breathtaking world worthy of the Gods home. The floor that the Gods walk on is quite cool as it is basically just an outer-space view of the Earth, which of course does make sense. While some fans of the original may not be happy with this new, updated version of the film, I do think that the filmmakers struck the right blend of old and new to create a film that is far superior to its original and invite in a whole new audience that would not have given the original film a chance. In the end, "Clash Of The Titans" is worth seeing because it is a great, entertaining and fun popcorn movie that has a few flaws but is saved buy a good script, excellent effects and a brilliant performance by Sam Worthington.
Clash of the Titans is out April 1, 2010.