Review: “Clash of the Titans” (2010)

clashsamfallPerseus (Sam Worthington) hangs on to 3-D for dear life

There’s been a whole lotta hubbub around this remake of the beloved-but-creaky 1981 mythological mashup that more or less served as the swan song of stop-motion/live-action hybrids and burned the perfect coins of Harry Hamlin’s nipples onto the retinas of an entire generation of moviegoers.

First, there’s the CGI. Next, there’s the 3-D. And of course, among other questions, there’s the issue of Bubo, the mechanical owl, who has been a source of fanboy agita for decades.

I actually watched the first half of the quirky 1982 original immediately after the “Real 3-D” screening of the computer-graphics-heavy, action-packed remake to compare and contrast, and eventually just gave up.

In short, I liked this movie better when it was called The Mummy.

clashzeus“Knew you’d be a vision in whiiiiite … How’d you get those pants so tight?”

Here’s my first problem with 3-D Clash of the Titans: It’s not really in 3-D. I’m sorry, but the global pantywad that has transpired since the overrated Avatar left its goofy blue skidmark across the international film industry has been ridiculous. It’s Avatarded. In my humble opinion, this 3-D trend – which the desperate studios have jumped on like Kathy on a box of chocolates – is the biggest case of the Emperor’s New Clothes since the Pet Rock.

Clash of the Titans is not in 3-D. I don’t care if it’s technically 3-D – it doesn’t look like 3-D and it doesn’t feel like 3-D aside from an animated opening title sequence clearly developed after the movie was shot. After that, you get to enjoy watching a grey, overrendered action movie through the frame of tinted horn-rimmed glasses. What fun!

The only way that this movie could be considered 3-D would be if the third dimension were dirty hair.

clashhadesHades’s look is Brimstone Realness

Aside from the bad 3-D, the design for the film is lackluster. Hades’s interesting Dressing Gown of Doom notwithstanding (it’s at least got some flow to it), the creature designs are boring and the look not much more interesting than your standard SyFy Original Movie. Is it just me, or do most of the creatures – from the witches to the kraken – look like rotting pumpkins? Scaaaarry! And let’s not even get into the fact that they’ve turned Pegasus into the Black Stallion with chicken wings…

Even worse, the complexities of the plot have been eradicated like the ill-fated Argos of the first film. I say that because in this remake, Argos isn’t destroyed at the beginning – the first of hundreds of changes to the story and structure.


While the original film was about the various gods using man to further their own status on Olympus, the remake takes an altogether poopier “man versus gods” approach, making the central conflict about the fact that human’s don’t care about the gods anymore (and therefore don’t pray to them), which has robbed the gods of the power.

Zeus (Liam Neeson) is pretty helpless, so Hades (either Ralph Feinnes or Gary Oldman, I couldn’t tell) takes the opportunity to get permission to release the kraken, which he insists will make humans love the gods again (er … okay?). Of course, it just serves to freak people the fuck out, and Hades feeds off their fear while Zeus polishes his shiny disco armor and looks worried.

So yes, Clash of the Titans has pretty much borrowed the plot of Freddy vs. Jason.

clashwitchPumkinhead 3: The Clashing

Also glaringly absent from the remake is the feminine touch. This 300 wannabe clearly intends to be a testes-fest, as it removes all of the female gods from the picture (Maggie Smith is rolling in her Sleep Number Bed, mark my words) and nixing the love story between Perseus and Andromeda (instead, Perseus falls for demigod Io, because she can fight and looks like the Lady in the Water).

clashandromeda“Don’t mind me – I’m irrelevant!”

The removal of any feminine element is a huge mistake, resulting in yet another daddy-issue-fest that tells more about the state of the male ego in Hollywood than it does about mythology. When all but one female have been removed, the beheading of Medusa – who is described as a rape victim then cursed by a jealous goddess – comes across as a tad misogynistic, especially since the only time that the character’s face isn’t CGI is when it is being removed from her body.

Clash of the Titans seems to want to make a statement about adventure movies in the 21st century (when Perseus finds Bubo in a crate, someone sniffs, “Forget about that.”), but all it did for me is remind me of how much nuance, humor and craft are missing from these bloated, ugly spectacles.

So it’s pretty safe to say that despite going into the screening with an open mind (I was even hoping that it would rock), I came out squarely on the side of the grumps. In fact, I would have walked out of the movie at its midway point were it not for three important words: SamWorthington … upskirt.



Clash of the Titans is rated PG-13 for bad 3-D, gratuitous pumpkins and disregard of mechanical owls.

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