MovieMantz Review: ‘Clash Of The Titans’
First Published: April 1, 2010 3:08 PM EDT Credit: Warner Bros.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- “In Gods We Trust”
“Clash of the Titans” Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes Directed by Louis Leterrier
Well, thank the gods for small miracles.
The big-budget remake of “Clash of the Titans” is a pleasant surprise that’s every bit as good as the cult classic from 1981 and a highly entertaining spectacle in its own right. Chalk it up to French director Louis Leterrier, whose last two movies – 2008’s “The Incredible Hulk” and 2005’s “Transporter 2” – were much better than they probably deserved to be. It also helps having rising star Sam Worthington in his first major film role since “Avatar” became the highest-grossing movie of all time, not to mention fine supporting performances from the likes of Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes (both Oscar nominees for 1993’s “Schindler’s List”).
And despite some minor changes made to the story by screenwriters Travis Beacham, Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, the remake is pretty faithful to the original film (which starred Harry Hamlin). In an attempt to free humanity from the rule of the Olympian gods, Perseus (Sam Worthington) – who’s the son of Zeus (Liam Neeson), but raised as a mortal – volunteers for a dangerous mission to defeat the evil Hades (Ralph Fiennes) before he can destroy the city of Argos. With the help of his brave band of warriors, Perseus learns to embrace his own destiny as a god among men who will lead the human race to a better existence.
The original “Clash of the Titans” was dignified by the groundbreaking stop motion animation pioneered by Ray Harryhausen (who also did “Jason and the Argonauts” and “The Golden Voyage of Sinbad”). Those outdated effects still give that movie its everlasting charm, but they’ve been upgraded with the best computer-generated effects that a $70 million budget can buy – effects that look splendid in 2-D, but after “Avatar” broke every 3-D rule (and record) in the book, Warner Bros. hastily spent another $5 million to convert “Clash” to 3-D.
Leterrier keeps the film focused, tight and lean with a running time of 1 hour and 46 minutes. The action scenes are effective and exciting (especially the fight against Medusa), but they don’t trump what is otherwise a pretty simple story. Sam Worthington solidifies his status at the blockbuster go-to guy with another charismatic performance, while Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes give “Clash” additional credibility as, respectively, Zeus and Hades. “Clash of the Titians” may not break any rules, but it’s a lot of fun, and it’s not the big, dumb, loud action movie it could have been.
And that is a miracle indeed.
Verdict: SEE IT!
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