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Clash of The Titans

Clash of the Titans

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2.5 out of 5

IT’S been 29 years since the original Clash of the Titans delivered a fitting swansong to the stop motion career of Ray Harryhausen by virtue of its wonderful array of Greek mythological creatures.

Sadly, Louis Leterrier’s robust re-imagining doesn’t look like it’ll share the same fond memories.

Yes, it unfolds on a grander, more spectacular stage and would seem an ideal choice to benefit from the numerous advances in special effects since Harryhausen’s day.

But it fails to work on an emotional level, offering a thrill ride devoid of any real heart and soul.

The revised story, which incorporates many of the same elements as its 1981 predecessor, albeit in a jumbled up order as well as more intrigue between the Gods, also fails to captivate.

Leterrier’s version follows Perseus (played by Avatar‘s Sam Worthington) as he embarks on a mission to claim the head of The Medusa and slay The Kraken sea monster… a journey he undertakes to avenge the death of his adopted father (Pete Postlethwaite) by scheming Underworld God Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and to save the life of the Princess Andromeda (Alexa Davalos), who is to be sacrificed in order to save the city of Argos.

In doing so, he must also contend with his own demigod status as the son of Zeus (Liam Neeson) and confront the various creatures placed in his path.

To be fair, Clash of the Titans is busy enough to keep viewers entertained for the duration of its running time and comes alive during its big set piece moments.

The confrontation between Perseus and The Medusa is well staged, as are encounters with the giant scorpions and the Kraken.

But even then, the emphasis is on kinetic action rather than any build-up of tension, while there’s no sense of loss once the battles take their toll.

The performances suffer, too, from the cliched and humourless nature of the script, and Leterrier’s decision to add a certain campness to the depiction of the Gods and Olympus (who appear to be relics from a 1980s pop video rather than powerful immortals).

Worthington cuts an imposing physical presence but lacks any real charisma, while Neeson and Fiennes seem to be on autopilot for the majority of proceedings.

Of the supporting players, Mads Mikkelsen shines brightest and Gemma Arterton offers good value… but no one has any real depth and back stories are explained in one line and feel like desperate attempts to add a little humanity.

The 3D element, meanwhile, looks and feels like an after-thought and is, to say the least, rough around the edges. Several of Leterrier’s scenes could have benefited from having been filmed that way… but the decision to add it afterwards shows and the film suffers as a result.

Clash of the Titans is therefore a wasted opportunity… a remake that promised so much more than it ultimately delivers and one that leaves you feeling decidedly indifferent to its supposedly heroic tale.

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 105mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: July 26, 2010