Twenty nine years ago, a somewhat corny cult classic Greek mythology film named Clash Of The Titans debuted. With limited
resources to make the best possible effects, being that this was in 1981, the creative minds behind the film did well to create one of the many memorable fantasy films
of the decade. Special effects wizard Ray Harryhausen had made the film's iconic creatures, like the Kraken featured in its climax, and not surprisingly, someone in
Hollywood realized the movie could make a pretty impressive adventure epic three decades later. With a unique take on the tale, a big budget for special effects,
and a strong cast, the 2010 remake of Clash Of The Titans turned out to be a rather inspired idea.
It's obvious that most remakes are done to either launch or relaunch a franchise, or just cash in on an otherwise dated concept, and
most remakes don't fair very well in comparison to their originals. But here, it seems special care was taken in the casting and direction to keep a faithful
tone in relation to the original and offer a solid ensemble of actors to carry it over the finish line. Avatar and Terminator: Salvation star Sam Worthington
stars here as Perseus, our demigod hero who sets out to stop a fearsome beast known as the Kraken from destroying a city called Argos. The entire story is based around
Greek mythology, setting the world in a time and place where Greek gods ruled the Earth. It's entertaining fiction if you can view it as such, but it's easy to draw
some similarities to the Christian faith when you hear Zeus and Hades arguing about the value of man or hear the half-man/half-god Perseus referred to as the people's
savior. It's fine on a completely fantastical level, as long as you can view it with the mindset that it's entirely fairytale storytelling. The film also doesn't really take itself too seriously, so that tends to help in that respect.
The 1981 Clash and the 2010 Clash differ especially when it comes to one major plot difference. Sam Worthington has said publicly that he pushed
to have the character Perseus want to carry out his mission as a human, not as a demigod. While the 1981 Perseus fully embraced his "destiny," and chose to use a sword, helmet,
and shield given to him by "the gods," our 2010 Perseus refuses to take any help from above, wanting to forsake his origin due to their behavior. While the Greek gods possess
god-like powers and abilities, they're far from flawless, and clashing egos often spark some of the most hideous events. Zeus unleashes his evil brother Hades on Argos to
try to win back their devotion, while Hades has every intention to overthrow his brother's throne. You can understand why Perseus might want to separate himself from them. However, because of this,
a great emphasis is placed on the mortality of man and trying to accomplish the impossible on our own. It's a bit against the Christian faith belief of relying on Christ for
strength, but given the Greek mythology setting, it feels more passable in Clash as fiction. I did miss seeing Perseus wield the special shield and helmet, but this plot change
gave the movie a unique originality to separate it from its predecessor. Another significant change came in the romantic aspect. Instead of Perseus feeling drawn to Andromeda and setting out on his great quest to save her, he's on this trip solely for revenge this time. And a new character named Io (well-performed by Quantum of Solace's Gemma Arterton) steps in as sort of a lifelong protector to Perseus.
With Worthington having last been seen in the box office record-breaker Avatar, I'm sure it'll be difficult for some to see him as anyone but Jake Sully in that film (he even sports a similar hair style). However, Worthington does a good job bringing a balance of emotions to Perseus, although most of it is motivated by anger and revenge for the loss of his family. Still, he lacks a bit of the charm a lead like his needs to really carry a blockbuster like this one. Much of the look and feel of the film reminded me somewhat of 1999's The Mummy remake, which also relied on corny, campy humor to ease the horror elements of the plot. However, The Mummy was substantially more humorous and goofy at times, while this Clash Of The Titans even dismisses the corny metallic owl from the original in an attempt to play the story much more straight. Aside from that, Worthington is a success in the lead, and is surrounded by very likable supporting characters, including Casino Royale villain Mads Mikkelsen as Draco, who brings enough of that intensity to the role that he's so good at, while stepping into the boots of a good-guy for a change. Perseus' entourage on his quest is a strong one, and they not only help make the adventure more fun to watch, but they give you reason to care about who makes it out of Medusa's lair... and who does not.
As a full-on action epic, director Louis Leterrier, who is probably most known for his 2008 reimagining of the Hulk franchise, loads Clash up with a great deal of action and violence.
There is a wealth of creepy and completely ugly creatures and monsters included within Clash Of The Titans to keep it rather intense. From the virtually faceless Stygian Witches to the snake-headed, fang-bearing Medusa, to the giant scorpions or the hideously disfigured Acrisius, there's plenty of creepy characters here (much like the 1981 original). On top of that, the actual violence gets a bit graphic at times. Acrisius himself is mostly scarred and grotesque, and when we first see him in action, he's literally tearing a person in half!
It's shown mercifully quick, with a splash of blood tipping you off to what just happened, but it's that kind of shocking violence you're liable to find in Leterrier's Clash. We see Acrisius's
hand get lopped off and soon morph into a scorpion, while we see a bloody, relatively gross wound on a person's arm several times. Lastly, a man burns his arm purposefully in a fire and
we briefly see that, while an assortment of other violence includes characters being stabbed, run through with a sword, turned to stone and shattering, etc. This is NOT a children's film and
those who dislike creature features and intense action should surely pass on Clash. When it comes to language, Perseus says "h*ll" and "b*tch" (referring to Medusa) in one scene, while he's referred to as a "b*stard son of a god" by a soldier in another. Other than that, there's no blasphemy or any other stronger language.
While this Clash Of The Titans remake is boasting being presented in 3D, we opted for an earlier 2D showing of the film. The movie was not shot in 3D, therefore it had to be artificially converted to 3D in post-production (which actually delayed the release of the movie a week or two), so this isn't a feature that seems to really need it. And I didn't feel like I missed out on anything by seeing it in 2D. The special effects range from decent to fantastic, with the most impressive renderings being the large scorpions and, of course, the Kraken. The Pegasus flying horses are also so incredibly done you'll believe they could actually exist. Also, it's obvious Leterrier chose to film a lot of the sequences on physical sets, not just adding in digital backgrounds, and it added a lot to grounding the action in a sort of fantastical reality. Instead of the recent Alice In Wonderland where it seemed everything after Alice's tumble down the rabbit hole was extremely synthetic, Leterrier managed to film some incredible landscapes for epic sweeping shots and commission the building of some wonderful set pieces. In the end, it felt epic without seeming too forced, and it brought a lot to the film. Where things faultered a bit, however, was in the entirely-CGI presentation of Medusa. Sure she was completely stop-motion in the 1981 version, but she looked much too synthetic here. A few shots were decent, but overall, she reminded me of a next-gen disappointment of the Scorpion King from The Mummy Returns. Not quite as bad, mind you, but she was far too obviously CG. In the recent Percy Jackson and the Olympians film, I thought the execution of actress Uma Thurman with a digital head of snakes for hair was next to brilliantly done. Something like that might have been a better approach here.
All in all, fans of the original may or may not appreciate the liberties taken to make this remake something all its own, but it does pay decent homage to its predecessor despite the major differences. The acting is strong, the effects are well done, and there's plenty of over-the-top action and adventure for anyone who can appreciate such genre films. If you're looking for something more serious and deeper than just an entertaining popcorn film, the 2010 take on Clash Of The Titans won't be your cup of tea. For the rest of the adventure seekers, you'd do pretty well to
check out this Clash Of The Titans... just heed the warnings about violence and surely don't take the kids to this one.
- John DiBiase, (reviewed: 4/1/10)
Blu-Ray and Special Features Review
Warner Bros. brings home the 2010 remake of Clash Of The Titans to Blu-ray with loads of bonus features. The Blu-Ray combo pack offers a Blu-Ray disc (BD) and a regular DVD that also contains a free digital download for your computer or iPod. The Blu-Ray disc also contains a special "Alternate Ending" that is exclusive to the Blu-Ray release, among other behind-the-scenes features.
Alternate Ending (5:23) - SPOILER ALERT... What's strange about the Alternate Ending is that it shows a romantic attraction between Perseus and Andromeda that otherwise wasn't in the film. The alternate ending opens with Perseus rescuing her, with alternate footage here as well, and then flying up to Mount Olympus and confronting Zeus in a very agitated manner. It seems to set things up for a sequel even more so than the happier ending that was used in the final film, but it's a bit more sloppily constructed (and I don't mean because of the unfinished effects seen here). The final ending feels more natural for the film's story.
WB Maximum Movie Mode (1:48:01) The WB Maximum Movie Mode is an another way to watch the feature film, surrounding the feature film with in-set behind-the-scenes documentary style footage, interviews, and insights into the making of the film. It's intriguing to hear about the director's vision for the movie and how the filmmakers set out not to re-create the 1981 original film, but to focus on the mythology. The Mode shows the film full-screen, then shrinks it to a corner as a behind-the-scenes window opens, sometimes shifting across the screen and shuffling the small screens about. The frequent shuffling gets a bit old fast (and sometimes the behind-the-scenes stuff remains small while the movie remains large... which doesn't make much sense... or the frames overlap too much on top of one another), but the content is so fun and interesting that it overrides the spastic nature of the way it's presented. And while you're watching this, it gives you the option to link into the "Focus Points" featurettes at certain points in the film. So if you're a fan of the film, this WB Maximum Movie Mode experience is great fun and a bundle of extras in and of itself.
Focus Points: Sam Worthington is Perseus (3:43) - This little featurette, and the first of the "Focus Points," centers on Sam Worthington as the choice for the 2010 version of Perseus, and features Sam talking about his character and the director talking about the vision for the character. It's cool to see some great behind-the-scenes footage here as well.
Focus Points: Zeus - Father Of God and Men (2:18) - This one focuses on Liam Neeson as Zeus and features Liam talking about the character, and also shows some great on-set footage. Although a short featurette, we even get to hear from the costume designer on the making of his suit of armor... and learn how uncomfortable it was to wear!
Focus Points: Enter The World Of Hades (3:29) - Ralph Fiennes talks about his role as Hades here, and it's interesting to hear the art department talk about the design of the character's armor and cape and such. A nice breakdown of the film's interpretation of Hades.
Focus Points: Calibos - The Man Behind The Monster (2:56) - If you hated how grotesque Calibos looked in Clash, you'll want to avoid this one. "Calibos - The Man Behind The Monster" focuses on the make-up application and design of Calibos and features quite a bit of Jason Flemyng talking about the character and make-up in a very candid way. It's a fun little segment.
Focus Points: Tenerife - A Continent on an Island (4:24) - To find the scenic location for Clash of the Titans, the crew found a remote island named Tenerife that had never been used for a film before. Here we get to see some breathtaking landscape shots of Tenerife as well as behind-the-scenes footage of director Louis Leterrier scouting on location and mapping out scenes to be shot. The care the filmmakers took in finding such a beautiful location adds a great deal to the film's end result as it is obvious, in many ways, that the scenery in Clash is real and organic. It's a shame more films don't use this approach anymore.
Focus Points: Scorpioch (4:06) - This centers around the gigantic scorpion action sequence, revealing pre-visualization animations and artwork for the film. We get to see a lot of on-set filming footage on how they filmed the actors and then added in the effects, as well as a break down of the details for the design of the scorpiochs. Finally, we get to see a pretty detailed explanation of how they did the shot of Mads Mikkelsen as Draco riding the scorpioch while he fought it. It's a pretty cool featurette.
Focus Points: Actors and Their Stunts (3:48) - This is a really fun one that features all of the central characters and actors and the stunts they perform for the film. Lots of great behind-the-scenes footage of the stunts being filmed, shown mostly in a montage. And it's a lot of fun to hear the actors talk about the experience.
Focus Points: Wales - A Beautiful Scarred Landscape (2:31) - "Wales - A Beautiful Scarred Landscape" reveals that the scene outside of Medusa's lair was in fact shot on location in Wales at an abandoned slate mine. It's just another incredible real location used for the film.
Focus Points: Bringing Medusa to Life (3:47) - It was a bit unfortunate that Medusa turned out to look TOO synthetic in Clash... coming out only slightly better than the Scorpion King did in The Mummy Returns (which was horrible). This year's Percy Jackson film did a great job superimposing digital snakes onto Uma Thurman's head for a much more realistic rendition of the iconic character. This featurette goes very in-depth into the design of the Clash Medusa, showing the motion-capture filming of the Russian supermodel who stood in for the face of Medusa, and the digital rendering process for creating the entirely-CGI character. It's also cool to find out that this was the very first sequence (inside Medusa's lair) that was filmed for this Clash of the Titans.
Focus Points: Prepare for the Kraken! (3:55) - "Prepare for the Kraken!" is dedicated to the iconic beast that drives both Clash films. Sadly, none of the featurettes even mention the original 1981 film, so this one treats the Kraken independently from the original film's design. It's cool to see the different animation effects and layers as well as the different designs the creature went through during the planning stages. It would have been cool, however, to hear a bit about the original's Kraken design and see a clip from that famous sequence. This is also the final "Focus Points" segment.
Sam Worthington: An Action Hero for the Ages (7:56) - This featurette is dedicated to the efforts Sam Worthington put into the role of Perseus and how many of the rigorous stunts he endured for this film. In talking about the film, Worthington acknowledges that movies like the Bourne trilogy and Dark Knight raised the bar on action films and actors who do their own stunts and he feels as if he owes it to the audience to do as much of the action himself as he can. It's an awfully fun look at what Worthington had to go through, including the filming of him diving straight down from a great height (take after take after take). There are also some great outtakes and candid footage.
Deleted Scenes (18:10) - Almost twenty minutes of deleted scenes make it onto the disc. The first sequence takes place in Olympus where the gods argue about how to deal with the unrest in Argos. It's an extended alternate version of when Hades pleads for Zeus to let him pour out suffering on Argos. It's actually a better version, but much slower and would have hindered the momentum of the story. The second scene shows Perseus confronting Io in the forest about her purpose on their journey. It seems to be an alternate version of how they meet, but it was definitely worth cutting out. The next scene takes place in Olympus with two of Zeus's children, Apollo and Athena, discussing their father's decision to unleash Hades on Argos. It's a bizarre interaction between the two (Athena seems to be attracted to her brother?) and it's a subplot that was best omitted. The fourth is a little scene featuring Andromeda worrying about the ailing Cassiopeia and if Perseus will succeed in his quest. The fifth sequence is an extended/alternate scene of when the team go to see the witches. Io reveals that she is sort of "sisters" with the witches. Some fun dialog is here that didn't make it into the final film. The sixth deleted scene shows Apollo again, this time confronting Zeus about Hades. It's actually a good interaction that adds more depth to the thinly drawn Olympus residents of the film, but I can imagine that it was cut for pacing. The next sequence was two scenes together that were omitted -- partly involving the subplot with Apollo. Sadly, it omits a great interaction between Io and Perseus after the witches give him a less than favorable prediction. Then, as Perseus wanders off sulking, Apollo actually appears to him in person instead of Zeus appearing to him like in the finished film (he even gives Perseus the gold coin that Zeus gives him). It's a neat interaction and possibly better than the one used in the final version. The eighth scene is a very brief shot showing that Cassiopeia has died. The ninth scene and the tenth scene show Andromeda running from being seized by the Argos people, and then that lousy irritating religious fanatic takes her to where she is to be sacrificed (this scene also shows some more violence as a handmaiden of Andromeda's drives two knives into a man's neck to try to save Andromeda - but it isn't gory. The next shows sort of a closeup of the fanatic's burned and bloody arm). It then intersperses shots of Hades conducting the Kraken's attack on Argos. The performances of the Olympians is way over the top and the whole sequence ramps up the cheese factor. It's crucial to the final attack of the Kraken used in the actual film that it didn't have all of this. To sum up - it's clear there was a different approach to the relationship between Zeus, his children, and the order given to unleash Hades on Argos than what's shown in the finished film. While what was used kept the pacing up, some of what was cut actually added to the characters. In the finished film, all we really see of the Olympians is just them standing around in the background. It's clear after watching the deleted scenes that there was a grander scope for them. Perhaps in the announced sequel we'll see more of the other Greek gods in action.
In the end, there are a ridiculous amount of features for the Clash of the Titans Blu-Ray combo pack that makes it the bargain buy for fans of the film. Warner Bros. knows what they're doing with releases like this; here's hoping we continue to see more home entertainment release treatments like this one.
- John DiBiase, (reviewed: 7/25/10)
Parental Guide: Brief Summary of Content
There's a brief flashback where we see a quick shot of the King's wife lying possibly naked under a bed sheet, and a man comes
in and lays down with her. We hear in the voice over that they slept together, which leads to a child being born. We then see the man she had slept
with with his shirt off, but nothing more
1 "h*ll," 1 "d*mn," 1 "b*tch," 2 "b*stard"
We see some goblets in a banquet hall kind of setting
In a flashback, lightning strikes King Acrisius and we see that he is charred and burned from the sight;
When we're introduced to Acrisius, he pulls back a robe covering him and it exposes scarred flesh from being burned and he's pretty grotesquely disfigured;
We later see Acrisius in the forest as he's extremely quickly ripping a man in half as he's throwing him, with blood splashing as the two halves of the man fly across the screen (done very, very fast);
Acrisius bites a man in the arm. We then see someone slice off Acrisius' hand; We see a close-up of the severed hand from Acrisius and it starts to twitch and then mutate (we later see it has become
a scorpion). We also see the bloody stump of the man's arm and the blood dripping onto the sand; Later, we see the bloody, kind of gross-looking bite wound on the arm of the victim from earlier. We later see it briefly again and then see it as it heals up quickly;
A man sticks his arm in the fire (we don't see this) but we see it all charred and bloody when he pulls it out of the fire; We see the gooey guts of some scorpions spill out;
Hades touches a young woman's face and she suddenly morphs into an old hag (which looks a little creepy, gross); The Stygian Witches are pretty creepy looking. Their faces appear deformed. They also
carry an eyeball which allows them to see although they are blind; The Ferryman is a creepy looking skeletal creature; A monster's head is cut off and we
see the head slide off the monster's body and roll around on the floor. The headless body then falls into a lava pit. We later see the head again separated from the body; A man is impaled by
an arrow. He tries to pull it out (it's hard to tell because it is dark). We then see him spit out some blood; A person is impaled by a staff or sword or something, but we don't see any blood;
A man is sliced with a sword, then run through, but we don't really see any blood; Perseus has some bloody scrapes on his face
LOTS of action violence. Winged monsters snatch away Argos soldiers; Hades destroys a ship, trapping a man, woman, and child in it as it sinks (they die);
Hades turns a young woman into an old hag and threatens the people of Argos; A deformed man tears a soldier in two, stabs others and tosses others around. His hand
is then cut off; Large scorpions attack and kill several men and are then killed themselves; The people of Argos rise up to try to sacrifice a princess to save their people
from the Kraken; Some sword fighting - Draco fights with Perseus to try to help him to learn how to fight; Some witches attack the soldiers and they fight back; Io tries to teach
Perseus some tips on fighting (and hits him and causes him to fall over, etc, in the process); A creature heals an injured man and other men attack him, thinking he means them harm,
but they find out it is okay; A slithering, snake-like monster turns several people to stone, and shoots several people with arrows (causing one man to fall into a lava pit);
A person is impaled by a sword of some kind and killed; A gigantic monster attacks a city and we see many buildings get destroyed (and presumably many people die); A lunatic man
stabs another man (not really seen, more so heard) and kills him); A large piece of stone crushes another person to death; And other action violence
** Disclaimer: All reviews are based solely on the opinions of the reviewer. Most
reviews are rated on how the reviewer enjoyed the film overall, not on content. However, if the content
really affects the reviewer's opinion of the film, it will definitely affect the reviewer's rating.