Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Film Review: Clash of the Titans

Film Review: Clash of the Titans
I caught an early screening of Clash of The Titans last night, a film which I have been very interested in seeing since I first heard word of it. I am a HUGE fan of the original Clash, notably for the incredible animation from Ray Harryhausen, a personal hero of mine. I was skeptical of the remake and also a bit worried that younger audiences may overlook the classic and adopt this new CG heavy version as their preferred film.
I must say I was quite happy with the film. It ran at a brisk pace and was filled with some very memorable moments. I was especially happy to see this film, since I am such a big fan of classical mythology. Stories of gods and all the crazy shit they did is very interesting subject matter. There are so many stories I read back in school that would make for excellent films. I'm hoping we will see some of these in the years to come.
So the things I liked about the film were:
* the fantastic set design
Numerous scenes had a grand sense of scale and wonder to them. Giant statues of Zeus, a cliffside town, foggy and dark underworld, and Medusa's lair all looked amazing. Mount Olympus was a highlight as well. I really loved how the God's were able to look down on a miniature world complete with clouds, mountains, etc..
* the creatures
It is clear a lot of attention went into designing all the various monsters in the film. The Kraken looked excellent, and dangerous, and Medusa was extremely cool too. I liked how she was still beautiful, save for the snakey hair. Personal preference makes me like the original Medusa though... I just felt she was far more terrifying as a stop motion creature. Stop motion in general is a bit more creepy, since the characters would move in a slightly unnatural and jerky way.
* the story
Although the story deviated from the original film a bit, and left out a couple things I would have loved to see, I thought they did a good job with it. The relationship between Perseus and Zeus was done well, and I warmed up to the scheming side story of Hades as well.
* the casting
Liam Neeson as Zeus... YES! A win all around for the casting.

Things I didn't particularly like
* the 3dness
I felt this film didn't have to be in 3d at all. Wearing 3d glasses does a few things to the film. First of all, the glasses themselves were slightly tinted making it difficult to see some of the more darkly lit scenes. Second, trying to take in the 3d of the film and pay attention to the battles was a bit hard. My eyes were straining far too much and my head began to throb towards the end of the film.
* character development
The film had a very short run time... almost too short. I felt like we could have gotten to know some of the side characters a bit more intimately so that we cared about their fate a bit more. I got the feeling a lot of side scenes were left on the cutting room floor. Perhaps we will see them on a dvd.
* the fight choreography
The fights were filmed really close and mainly in super shaky cam mode. This made it difficult to focus on the action. Also, there were a few sloppy moments that bothered me, such as when Perseus somehow ends up inside of a giant scorpion. We didn't see this happen on screen and it just seemed weird to me. I wish they would've given us a few more long shots so we could see what the hell was going on. Not all were bad though. The Medusa scene was very nice!

Overall I really enjoyed the film. I bet it is going to get some hate from people who hold a torch for the original (I do kinda), but I say enjoy it for what it is. I've never been a fan of watching films to pick apart the blunders anyways. To be clear, the original is still the superior film (obviously), but I do enjoy a cheesy film from time to time.
You know what I'd like to see? A sequel. Yeah I said it. That way we could see what the filmmakers do with a new storyline all on their lonesome. Also, does this mean we will see a Jason and the Argonauts remake? Time will tell and I remain skeptical. Come on God of War movie! Bring us something REALLY epic!
I rate it around 3 out of 5

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