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Clash of the Titans (2010 film)

A 2010 remake of the 1981 film, directed by Louis Leterrier

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Best of the Worst

  • Apr 5, 2010
  • by
Rating:
+4

On my blog (http://random-babbles.blogspot.com/), I've set out to work my way through Rotten Tomatoes' list of the 100 worst movies of the last decade. As I've talked to many people about my "quest," I've mostly gotten interest. Only a very, very few people have not really understood why I was choosing to subject myself to these officially awful films. I consider myself a bad movie aficionado, but I don't think I'm entirely unique in that way. Maybe I like them more than most, but it seems like nearly everybody I talk to enjoys a bad movie here and there. Whether it's the built-in comedy, the chance to mock, or the camaraderie that can be built by watching these movies in a group, people actually have fun watching movies panned by the critics. And those critics...

I believe that few critics understand what we want out of them. I absolutely want to hear someone discuss the literary themes behind Aronofsky or the constant homages by Tarantino, but I also want to know if something is just entertaining on its own merit. When one grades on a scale, it becomes difficult to take the other movies out of a rating. I may give, say, Ocean's Eleven five stars (it's as entertaining as a movie can be, totally rewatchable, great for background), but I gave Schindler's List five stars. Can I really say that Ocean's Eleven is as good as Schindler's List? I'm choosing two good movies, but I hope you get my point. Besides, that's at one extreme. It's even tougher when you look at bad movies, which brings me back to the point that it seems that most people enjoy a bad movie now and again.

Most of these enjoyable bad movies are now called "cult classics." Rocky Horror Picture Show? Indecipherable. Attack of the Killer Tomatoes? Ridiculous. The Warriors? Awful. Some or all of us enjoy these movies -- The Warriors made the list of my 100 favorite movies  -- to the point that we're fanatical about them. And that brings us to one of the great bad movies of my childhood, one that many people my age are fanatical about, and a movie that is downright awful: Clash of the Titans.

Clash of the Titans came out in 1981 and I don't remember if I saw it in the theater or not, but I know I watched it a number of times on cable and video. The four movies I remember watching the most when I was a kid are Star Wars (duh), Raiders, Rocky III (also not so good), and Clash of the Titans. The movie had special effects that probably weren't even that good for 1981. The acting was way over the top. Did I mention the special effects -- and it was an effects-driven movies -- were awful? Yet I, and many other people my age, remember it fondly because it was exciting and it made me love Greek mythology. A great movie for a kid. An average, at best, movie for an adult. So five-year-old me loves the movie even though I watched a few minutes a year or so ago and was horrified at its quality. And now thirty-three-year-old me hears that Hollywood has decided to make a new Clash of the Titans with digital effects and they even got the lead from freaking Avatar to play Perseus. Uh-oh, right?

On the way to the theater today (to see it in 2D so as not to waste my money), I read in Entertainment Weekly that the goal of the 2010 version was to be a remake, not a reimagining or reboot, of the 1981 version. This is an important distinction and potentially a dangerous one for the filmmakers. By doing this, they basically begged me to compare the 2010 version (v2010) to the 1981 version (v1981). In my eyes, there's only one way that this works out well for v2010 and hear my reasoning out. If v2010 is well-made then it makes me regret my enjoyment of v1981 and I'll resent v2010. If v2010 is boring or stupid then I'll hate it for trying to be v1981. The only way this works out well for v2010 is if it captures the cheesiness of v1981. Sure, the effects have to be better than the original, but can they fit into the movie without making it seem like a The Day After Tomorrow-esque film where the effects overshadow everything else? Can it, in spite of the money behind it (a reported $70 million budget), not take itself too seriously? Tall orders because I'm asking for them to, essentially, have made an enjoyably bad movie, which is not only difficult but unpredictable, because you can never tell when one of those is going to pop up and anyone who shoots specifically for that outcome ends up making unwatchable, pretentious garbage. Followed the reasoning? See where I'm coming from? Okay, enough! The verdict!

Epic win.

Didn't expect that, huh? Me either. I was ready to hate it and I ended up with a huge grin on my face. It had everything I needed for it to work. The dialogue: cheesy. The acting: over the top. Maybe the filmmakers didn't shoot for those things, but they did succeed in one thing they set out to do, "dumbing down" the special effects so that the effects didn't overtake the movie. The effects are pretty -- the final battle scene with the Kraken is actually quite a good action sequence -- but they don't seem fake. The best analogy I can come up with is how Lucas had his effects people scratch up the models for Star Wars so that the universe looked authentic. I don't know what's so authentic about giant scorpions and snake-haired Gorgons, but they fit with the rest of the movie.

The dialogue is your classic movie Ancient Greece/ Rome talk with big words and clumsy sentences and British accents, so much so that it made me resent 300 a little bit for being equally cheesy. The actors that play Perseus' group so overact and are congenial about it that you can't help but love their failure to be believable. On the other hand, the main gods, Zeus and Hades, are played by Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes, respectively, and they absolutely succeed in their aim to do homage to the cheesiness of the original. No way that two great actors like that are going over the top unless they mean to do it. And that brings us to the one thing that almost -- thankfully, it was only "almost" -- ruins the movie: Sam Worthington.

Worthington takes himself too damn seriously. There's a little joke about the mechanical owl from the original and Worthington apparently threw a fit over even that little scene because he thought the owl's mere presence would make a joke of the movie. There are a number of scenes where you see the other warriors hamming it up and the camera pans to Worthington's Perseus, who is either scowling or stone-faced (not literally). Whereas the others overact, Worthington shows next to no emotion in much of his line delivery, as if he's collecting the paycheck and biding his time until Avatar 2 starts production. But, I said he "almost" ruins it. He does laugh it up a little bit and, much like in Terminator: Salvation (which was not enjoyably bad in any way, it was just horrible), his Australian accent creeps in every so often even though he's supposed to have an Ancient Greek (read: British) accent. So even though I was worried at times about his sincerity ruining my enjoyment, I was still able to mock him enough in my head.

Almost every critic hates the new Clash of the Titans, with the only exceptions I've seen being Roger Ebert and Entertainment Weekly. Almost every critic also, much like Sam Worthington, takes themselves and their work too seriously. The reviewer for EW loved the 1981 version and used that to couch his review, much as I've done here. Ebert was able to enjoy the movie for itself, in disregard for how it compares to anything else other than the original. In his review, he kept using the words "entertainment" and "goofy." Indeed. It's the kind of movie that a kid is going to eat up with a spoon, much like I did with the original.

It's also the kind of movie that those many of us who enjoy a bad movie will have a great time with. Don't bother going to the theater. Not because it's not worth the money (even the early, early matinee price I paid), because I enjoyed myself. Wait because it's the kind of movie that Mystery Science Theater 3000 was made for, where you get the DVD, throw a party for people who aren't film snobs, and mock the hell out of it. If that sounds like fun, and movies are supposed to be fun, then how can you hate this movie?

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June 06, 2010
I loved this review!!! I also loved this movie!!!
 
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More Clash of the Titans (2010) reviews
review by . April 02, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
3D Promotional poster
   Most of us know a little about Greek Mythology and even more of us have seen the 1981 classic film “Clash of the Titans” based on the tale of Perseus. Many would argue that the classic movie needed an update given our advancements of visual effects while many would say to leave the original film alone. I do think that the story of Perseus needs a film update, as long as it remains faithful to Greek Mythology. Ok, the 1981 film wasn’t 100% faithful to its source material, …
review by . July 19, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
*1/2 out of ****    I'm starting to think it's nigh impossible to make a good "Clash of the Titans" movie. The first - and unfortunately not last - was from 1981 and failed to leave anything of an impression on me aside from a few yawns and my admiration for the stop-motion work that gives the film a great deal of its fans. Now there's the 2010 version, directed by Louis Leterrier, which really doesn't have much of a reason to exist other than to upgrade the visual thrills of …
review by . January 22, 2011
This film was stupid, poorly acted, essentially Hercules for adults, and was nothing but a mindless dumb action romp. But to be fair, that's all I was expecting. The movie is nothing more than a CGI action extravaganza and it has enough special effects to please a mainstream audience but the critic in me just kept holding me back. You know how some movies you just have to check your brain at the door for, well I just can't do that, and I feel that if I smashed myself several times in the …
review by . April 25, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Clash of the Titans is like the guy who farts in the room and then decides to leave you with the smell.  It stinks.  After watching Clash of the Titans and walking out of the theater, I felt dirtier than a gas station restroom.  I will need many years of therapy after this one.      Okay, so perhaps Clash of the Titans wasn't THAT bad.  But make no mistake, the movie is bad.  Not enough to make you feel dirty.  Just bad enough that you look …
review by . July 31, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
   A long time ago there were big, chaotic, uncontrollable gods, the Titans, who ruled the Earth and gave birth to new gods who destroyed them and created man, in order to gain power from their worship.  But men, being men, resented the arbitrary whims of the gods and it was inevitable they'd fight back.  Hades, the god of the underworld, hit upon a plan to bring fear into the hearts of men so they'd worship again.  He'd release the Kraken, a giant sea monster, …
review by . June 06, 2010
After being on this site and checking out some of the reviews I came to a conclusion....I am one of the only people in America who enjoyed Clash of the Titans!!      The movie, as many of you know, follows the story of Perseus as he goes to kill Medusa and journeys to meet the three witches in order to slay the Kraken. The movie had a star studded cast with Liam Neeson, Ralph Finnes and Sam Worthington. With lots of special effects and an oppertunity to see this movie in 3D …
review by . April 06, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Greek Mythology gets a massive makeover in this overblown, but visally stunning adventure....
The original 1981 Ray Harryhausen special effects designed and produced  fantasy adventure is a film of magic wonder, excitement, adventure and mysticism. The 2010 remake or re-imaging if you prefer  "Clash of the Titans" is centered around a young  fisherman named Perseus  who  after a personal loss  sets  out  to the city of Argos to  take up the task of saving the whole city from the brink of destruction by the hands of the Kraken.  …
review by . October 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
The original Clash of the Titans is perhaps mostly remembered for its sheer corniness. This remake by the same name is certainly better and has amped up special effects. On the whole, I'd give it 3.5 stars. The movie does some things very well, such as the monsters. Medusa looks great and perfectly combines beauty and horror. Yet, I can't help but think that the directors wasted this opportunity to make a truly classic movie. Clash of the Titans falls into the trap of many modern movies …
review by . April 06, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I was a big fan of the 1981 movie Clash of the Titans. It had everything I loved: action, excitement, Greek mythology! It was a great film for its time and still holds up at least somewhat today. Sure, the effects have aged, but that's to be expected.    It was also a movie that pushed me even more into my budding interest in Greek mythology; an interest which has continued to this very day. Heck, I got quite an interest in mythology in general and even took a course in it when …
Quick Tip by . November 02, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
If the lord of the rings, the lightning theif, and 300 got togeather and had a child it would be the clash of the titans. Not that it was a bad movie just the similarities where almost to distracting for me to follow the actual storyline
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Clash of the Titans is a 2010 fantasy film which is a remake of the 1981 film of the same name, itself loosely based on the Greek myth of Perseus.  Directed by Louis Leterrier and starring Sam Worthington, the film was originally set for standard release on March 26, 2010.  It was later announced that the film would be converted to 3-D and was released on April 2, 2010.

"Release the Kraken!" Ah, it could only beClash of the Titans, the 2010 remake that retains the instruction to unleash the great beastie from the sea. The 1981 original boasted Ray Harryhausen's legendary stop-motion technique of animating various mythological creatures--it was his final feature project--and given the cornball approach of the movie in general, that was the main draw. The remake supplies new state-of-the-art special effects (released in 3-D) and a nicely muscular sense of momentum. Sam Worthington (theAvatarguy) plays Perseus, a demigod who doesn't know that Zeus (Liam Neeson) is his father. Perseus is selected to lead an expedition to find and slay the Medusa, lest Zeus's evil brother Hades (Ralph Fiennes, in fine slinking mode) rain down misery upon a seaport--and you just know that means the Kraken is coming. Ye gods, it's a mess, and we haven't even mentioned the witches and the harpies and the giant scorpions. But if we did, it would be clear thatClash of the Titansis a perfectly dandy popcorn epic, unpretentious and punchy. Director Louis ...
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