When all was said and done, my feelings toward the original Clash of the Titans were mixed. On one hand it’s an undeniably terrible movie, not only because of the dated visual effects but also just because of how transparent and ridiculous the acting was. At the same time it was all just good fun and I wouldn’t necessarily turn down watching it again—which I can’t say the same for this remake. While it certainly pulls elements from the original as well as mixing in some of its own elements (some in line with the mythology and some out of it), this Clash of the Titans remake just isn’t something that will leave you thrilled as neither a fan of the original or as a newcomer. Thankfully for Warner Bros. the film worked past the poor critical reviews of the film as it went on to gross nearly half a billion dollars worldwide.
In Clash of the Titans, the ultimate struggle for power pits men against kings and kings against gods. But the war between the gods themselves could destroy the world. Born of a god but raised as a man, Perseus (Sam Worthington) is helpless to save his family from Hades (Ralph Fiennes), vengeful god of the underworld. With nothing to lose, Perseus volunteers to lead a dangerous mission to defeat Hades before he can seize power from Zeus (Liam Neeson) and unleash hell on earth. Battling unholy demons and fearsome beasts, Perseus and his warriors will only survive if Perseus accepts his power as a god, defies fate and creates his own destiny.
The trailers for this film were a real work of magic. They made it look like such an amazing action summer flick that it was something that was going to be hard for me to pass up. Still, after watching the original (and snagging movie cash to see this film from the originals Blu-ray release) and the preview for this film on it, I was pretty jazzed to see it…yet I never did. That movie cash burned a hole in my wallet and before I knew it the film was out of theaters and the ticket expired. It was no big deal, however, as the reviews were certainly against this one and while I try not to allow critical reception to shape my interest to see a movie, it does shape which ones I spend $10 to see in theaters. Yes, I did have the free ticket to the film but going to the movies alone is depressing and I couldn’t find anyone who wanted to sink their own money into the film just so I wouldn’t be lonely in the dark room.
Quite frankly if I’d known just how dull this film was I might’ve gone to take a nice nap. Granted the original wasn’t anything that was drastically action packed, but the way the trailer set it up I figured we’d be knee-deep in god rage within a few minutes of the film’s opening. While there is some chatter from them and a nice appearance by Hades (who probably has the coolest entrance of any villain I’ve seen in a film lately), there just isn’t that much that raises the goose bumps on your arms any. Every time I eagerly anticipated a scene to see how they remade it for this new film, I ended up underwhelmed or disappointed. They also made Pegasus a black horse for no real reason; that’s not a huge deal I guess, but it’s just those little nuances that make you want to ignore this movie.
The biggest irk of them all came from Hades though. While Fiennes was decent (everyone in this film was guilty of overacting and overdramatizing everything—such is the time period and source material I know, but it nevertheless got tiresome), the movie painted the picture that Hades created the Kraken rather than Poseidon. I know little about Greek mythology, but a sea creature being constructed by someone other than Poseidon just doesn’t make much sense—then again they pretty much wrote Poseidon out of this film. I guess it makes more sense for this stories purposes, but it’s still a very lame angle to even bother throwing in—for as big of a build up the kraken fight had, it was over within minutes. The coolest sequences of it were (unsurprisingly) used in the theatrical trailer.
Really, everything about this film just felt mundane. The new story additions were interesting, but nothing that really stood out. There seemed to be less character exposition and the action sequences were all too brief. On top of that the CGI seemed to be lacking as it was overly shiny at times; one glaringly obvious instance of this was the fight with Medusa. Her skin was so glossy it was pretty obvious that that it was CGI. Granted this is in line with the original 1981 film, but the point of a remake is to make it bigger and better…which they just didn’t do here. Whereas I could laugh at the cheesy horribleness that was the old Ray Harryhausen film, this remake is just…boring. In the end it wasn’t terrible, but it’s certainly not something to even bother watching if you already enjoy the original for what it is. This new one seems like it could have been so much more and appears to be more concerned with setting itself up to be the first in a series of films…which, judging by how much money this thing made it’s entirely possible we’ll get another. Here’s hoping the liberties they take with the next one make for a more entertaining outing. Worth a Rental for the curious, but don’t expect anything miraculous.
Warner brings Clash of the Titans to Blu-ray in a standard Elite Blu-ray case. Inside is the usual pairing of discs (one Blu-ray, one DVD/Digital Copy combo) and a rather decent selection of extras. It’s a fair enough package, but it’s the A/V presentation that’ll keep you coming back for repeat viewings if you dig the film in the least.
While we get a 3-D less version of this film on the disc (we can all rejoice for that, as the 3-D presentation was apparently very, very mediocre), the same DNR wiped presentation of the film is ever present. If a Blu-ray is ever able to get away with DNR for any reason, it’s because that’s what the original filmmakers did and the VC-1 encoded transfer represents just what the filmmakers wanted (apparently). It’s not too bad though—there is still a copious amount of detail to be had here, but there are a few sequences that are just a little too Vaseline-y. Combined with the fact the CGI is already pretty waxy looking, the transfer probably has more flaws than it should for a newly minted film…but it honestly isn’t too bad and will leave you smiling on more than a few occasions because of the detail exhibited.
Audio is a DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix and if anything is close to flawless on this disc, this is it. While the action scenes are rather brief, they’re nonetheless a noisy and bountiful affair. Plenty of LFE and surround output no matter the sequence, although the tight-knit quarters of Medusa’s lair proved to be plenty good for ambient noise. The final fight with the Kraken too was pretty impressive, with swooping surround output and plenty of brutal big beasty bass. The rest of the film was ever present in the front channels with crystal clear dialogue throughout.
Sam Worthington: An Action Hero for the Ages (8 minutes, 1080p)
Harnessing the Gods: Maximum Movie Mode; Focus Points (35 minutes, 1080p)
Deleted Scenes (19 minutes, 1080p)
Alternate Ending (5 minutes, 1080p)
Admittedly the extras are kind of brief, but the selection of deleted scenes show just how much more boring this movie could have been. Perhaps most intriguing was the alternate ending, which was a rather…well, darker ending compared to what we got. It would’ve probably put off even more audience members than the current film id, but it’s interesting nonetheless. The Worthington featurette boasts about the action star who will no doubt be everywhere in the coming years, while the movie mode/focus points tackle some of the more specific points of the film such as the production and CGI work.
Overall a disc worth a Rental and nothing more.
Clash of the Titans arrives on Blu-ray/DVD and DVD on July 27th.