The classic gets a CGI remake and a 3D retrofit - shame it feels so one-dimensional
Starring: Sam Worthington, Gemma Arterton, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes
The big question, it seems, concerning gods ‘n’ monsters fest Clash Of The Titans – the CGI upgrade on the stop-motion 1981 original – isn’t so much “How good is it?” as “Is the 3D okay?” Never mind the quality, what about the dimensions?
This is because the Sam Worthington-starring adventure – the first of the summer’s big blockbusters – was never 3D in the first place. Rather, it’s the first of many, post-Avatar, to have what’s being called a “3D refit” (the final two Harry Potter films are to receive a similar fate).
In the case of Clash Of The Titans, it’s a bit like saying that the cats who come back in Pet Cemetery have had a “life refit”. Sure, it works – but there’s something not quite right about it.
More specifically, as the film beings with Pete Postlethwaite fishing a mystery child out of the sea – this turns out to be Worthington, bastard son of Zeus, the God of Gods – we see Postlethwaite is distinct from the sea raging behind him, and the ship’s rigging before him, but no more. Shouldn’t this be fine, you ask? Well, yes, but have you seen the nose on the man? In Avatar, there are levels even within levels. Put another way: that conk would be poking in your popcorn.
The same, in fact, could be said about the film – which is fun, occasionally, spectacular, but mostly a little 1D.
Worthington, who once again survives an ordeal full of bloodshed and terror without breaking an expression of “very determined”, plays Perseus, raised as a man but born of a God (“I just fix nets,” he says at one point, like a demi-God version of Steven Seagal). After men rebel against the Gods, he must stop Hades (Ralph Fiennes), the Lord Of The Underworld, destroying the city of Argos with his fearsome creature the Kracken (a creature so big and fearsome, it turns out, we never really see how big because it’s never fully in shot – but suffice to say bigger than Godzilla but smaller than a planet) by getting the only thing capable of killing it: the head of Medussa, whose gaze will turn any creature to stone.
All well and good, and along the way are flying horses, charcoal men, massive scorpions, and Gemma Arterton, who plays a sort of spirit guide who… it’s never really clear. Suffice to say she looks good (and very 3D) in a toga.
Yet as fun as all this is, there’s something oddly airless about Clash Of The Titans. It’s not helped that the armour-plated Zeus (Liam Neeson) up on Mt. Olympus looks like he’s been buffered through a car-wash one too many thousand times (never mind Medussa killing anyone with eyeshot, you just try standing near this guy on a sunny day) but the real problem is the people.
People die who you never knew, people live who you’re not really bothered about. Worthington seems no more than a bit peeved by it all. If he doesn’t care, should we? Granted, it was never going to have the epic sweep of a Lord Of The Rings. But you can’t help feel that they spent so much time worrying how many dimensions the film should have, they forget how many the characters should.
5 out of 10