Put back the kraken

Drawing from Greek myth and a remake of the original 1981 movie, the new version of 'Clash of The Titans' has its problems but is still worth viewer's time. | Courtesy of Warner Brothers Studios

The passage of time is often cruel and this could not be truer in regards to 1981’s Clash of the Titans.  The stop-motion animation effects were out-of-date almost 30 years ago, Harry Hamlin’s portrayal of Perseus was stiff, and seeing accomplished thespians such as Laurence Olivier and Maggie Smit clad in togas and trying to make do with the simplistic story, would make anyone wince that is over the age of 10.

Not surprisingly, Louis Leterrier’s version of Clash of the Titans has enough computer-generated effects that would make the Stygian Witches’ eye melt. In the original film, the Kraken looked like a combination of Godzilla and the Creature from Creature from the Black Lagoon. For Leterrier’s Clash, the new and improved Kraken is a giant behemoth that practically lays waste to the city of Argos by simply showing up.

In the 1981 version, the battle between Perseus and Medusa is slow and methodical, but for 2010, Medusa dispatches the group of heroes quickly in a scene that lasts only a few minutes. As exciting as the special-effects filled action sequences are, they occur so often that they seem anti-climatic because you know that another computer-generated image filled scene is just around the corner.

What sets this testosterone-fueled version apart from the original, is its attempt to bring more thematic depth and complexity in regards to the relationship between the gods and the men. The gods are angry with men for their irreverence, and men think that the gods have forsaken them. Hades (Ralph Fiennes) uses the conflict to exact his revenge on Zeus (Liam Neeson) for condemning him to lordship of the underworld to be feared by mankind.

While most of the actors give mediocre performances overall, the sheer number of them make it difficult for the audience to connect with them on any emotional level. In some cases, a few characters only become interesting just minutes before their impending doom.  Another problem with Clash of the Titans is the fact that Leterrier was well aware of the film’s target audience: mostly males who prefer tough, strong anti-heroes. As a result, many of the female characters seem less like actual characters compared to their male counterparts and more like plot devices to move the story along.

Overall, Clash of the Titans was worth the ticket price of $7. Although the story falls short and there are too many characters to keep up with, the computer-generated effects more than make up for what is lacking in other areas.  There are enough monsters and exciting fight scenes to make anyone’s heart rate increase.

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