Clash of Titans Review – “Nearly Unwatchable”

I’ve been excited to see 2010’s Clash of the Titans since the previews came out last year. War on the Gods despite great odds? Defiance as a principle and free right? Greek mythology? These are some of my favorite themes. Unfortunately, if it weren’t for Gemma Arterton – who, even while standing pretty still and delivering poorly written, flatly acted lines was still captivating – I might have walked out of the theater.

Interestingly, the main story was actually taken from Christian mythology, rather than Greek: Zeus “loves” human kind, so would not punish them even in their defiance. But something has to be done. So – paraphrasing from the book of Job – Hades (Lucifer) asks Zeus if he can punish the humans; giving Zeus, the all powerful mighty God the loophole to duck out of. So Hades ‘torments’ human kind – although he really does no such thing. He just says you will all die, or you will give up your princess Andromeda. Quite rightly, the villagers don’t give a hoot about the princess and are ready to feed her to the beast.

How the indiscretions of a bunch of blasphemers can be compensated by the blood sacrifice on an innocent, faithful girl, is unclear. Perseus, rather than having any interest in Andromeda, just wants to kill the Kracken to get at Hades, whom he plans to kill (of course, it’s impossible to kill a god and in the end he just banishes him).

OK – the story does sound good. Monsters, princesses, greek gods – but somehow they screw it all up, and the story is peppered by ridiculous, laugh out loud bit of horseshit, inconsequential, underdeveloped characters that come and go, cheap sets and costumes (let’s just rub dirt on everybody – heck they never bathed back then did they?).

It played out like a bad, 30 year old TV B movie (actually the acting was probably better in the old versions, even with the crappy effects). Not that the bad acting was completely the actor’s faults. The lines were god-awful. There was no cohesive plot, no twists, no surprises, nothing interesting at all. Noone said anything funny or clever (the one attempt at humor wasn’t funny and the audience watched sadly as the actors all had to laugh as if it had been). I felt like the actors knew they were making a flop and just wanted to get out as soon as possible so they could put it all behind them.

Sure – great special effects. But we’re used to special effects. I could have been home playing God of War Three – which is visually more appealing and has a much stronger story… If I were editing this movie as a novel (which is what I do) I would have torn it apart. Why did this character do/say/think this? What was the motivation? How did they get from here to there so fast? Why is he angry/sad/happy? What’s the reason? Why would Zeus have given Perseus divine presents when Perseus mission was to defy and defeat the gods? etc.

The movie stuck pretty close to the original myth of Perseus and Andromeda, which was interesting to watch – until they absolutely screwed it up in the end by having Perseus ditch Andromeda, and letting Zeus restore the already dead Gemma so that the two demigods could get it on (why Zeus didn’t restore Perseus dead family instead is one of many unanswered questions.)

If you want to see a good movie, go see Percy Jackson’s the Lightning thief: more stars, and better acting. Clash of Titans, it’s true, probably had better effects; but I’ve come to realize effects mean very little when you’re painfully sitting through a movie with gaps in logic, reason, motivation, and consequence.