Clash of the Titans should have looked like a Maxfield Parrish painting with a film score reminiscent of Aaron Copland. However, I wouldn’t expect Louis Leterrier nor Warner Bros. development executives to either know who the fuck Maxfield Parrish or Aaron Copland are nor have the creative insight to come up with anything remotely resembling the film that should have been. The 1981 original Clash of the Titans is a movie I hold very near and dear to my heart. It was among the first 3 films (the other 2 were Star Wars and Popeye) I ever saw at the movies and Titans was actually the first movie I saw at a drive-in (Capitol Drive-In in San Jose, which STILL exists!). In fact, I loved Titans so much that when my mother took me to see Raiders of the Lost Ark at the drive-in, I refused to watch it and instead climbed over into the back seat and watched Titans from the back window without any sound. It was my 2nd time watching it. When it finally came out on video, I must have rented it at least a dozen times. In short, Clash of the Titans was a defining moment in my childhood.

So now here comes a remake, the announcement of which made me cringe. My fears that Warner Bros. would somehow fuck up the movie were confirmed when 1.) Louis Leterrier was signed up to direct and 2.) the trailer featured a heavy rock soundtrack. Somehow Leterrier has become the go-to guy for the studios. After making a name for himself with the dogshit duos of Danny the Dog and Transporter 2, he went on to make the mediocre The Incredible Hulk and now the equally mediocre Clash of the Titans. More frighteningly, Leterrier is rumored to be up for consideration to helm The Avengers, a prospect that may potentially cause fanboys to commit hari kari. Leterrier is representative of a crop of new directors who churn out cookie-cutter films off the studio assembly lines that offer nothing original or visionary. Leterrier is the perfect studio lapdog because he simply mimics whatever gimmick works in other movies and spoon feeds it to his audiences.

Clash of the Titans is loosely based on the Greek myth of Perseus, the demigod son of Zeus, who sets out to save Andromeda, a Greek princess, from the jaws of the monstrous Kraken. The film is obviously set in Greece and the Greeks have begun to turn against the gods. Zeus is dismayed by his creation’s betrayal and accepts his brother Hades’ suggestion to punish the humans for their insolence. Zeus agrees to allow Hades to unleash the Kraken, a huge monster, to destroy the seaside town of Argos as the humans’ punishment. However, if the humans offer up the princess Andromeda to the Kraken as sacrifice, Hades will call off his monster. Perseus and a band of Greek soldiers decide to go off and find a way to defeat the Kraken and prevent Andromeda from being sacrificed.

Despite the filmmakers shitting all over the story and making some unnecessary changes, the plot still holds up well and it makes me wonder how awesome of a movie this could have made had it been in the right hands. The story is classic epic material that contains everything you would expect from a mythological story. The original Greek myth is such a rich involving story that there is absolutely no need to alter it in any way. This is why I am so confused as to why the filmmakers felt compelled to change anything in the story. One absolutely unforgivable change that was made for the remake was not having the gods play a game of chess with the humans. I thought that was so cool in the original film. Gods playing a game with human lives. How totally appropriate. Regardless, the basic plot still remains and it is solely because of how good it is that I give it 2 stars. Otherwise, Clash of the Titans has nothing else going for it and its one giant missed opportunity and a waste of resources.

Speaking of wasting resources, I would be pretty embarrassed if I was Leterrier and I had hired acting giants like Ralph Fiennes and Liam Neeson only to give them such shit material to work with. As I was watching the movie, I kept thinking of what was going through these actors minds when they had to speak their lines. No one can tell me that they probably weren’t thinking of how the fuck they signed up for this picture and how at least they were getting paid handsomely. If you had an opportunity to cast Ralph Fiennes as Hades and Liam Neeson as Zeus, wouldn’t you literally kill yourself to turn out the absolute best possible script you could? Maybe Leterrier did and he just doesn’t have the talent to be good. Who knows?

A lot of people gave Sam Worthington shit about what a poor actor he was in Avatar. I rather enjoyed the hell out of him in Avatar and I thought he was the best thing going for Terminator:Salvation. Here, however, the gung-ho attitude he seems to have adopted as his signature style doesn’t work as well. He comes off as a cocky little asshole and that doesn’t fit the character of Perseus. The character is supposed to be heroic in a little man against insurmountable odds sort of way. To be sure, Worthington does a good job looking and acting courageous, but he also needed to be heroic in a inspiring way that requires a degree of sympathy from the audience. I didn’t get that here. By the way, as an example of how untalented Leterrier is, he basically takes Worthington’s motivational speech to the Na’vi from Avatar, makes some changes, and regurgitates it for Clash of the Titans. I almost laughed when I saw that here and I’m surprised Worthington was willing to be used this way.

I don’t know what the budget for Clash of the Titans was, but whatever it was, you can bet it was a hell of a lot higher than District 9‘s budget. If thats the case, then why the hell does the CG in Titans look like something out of a 90’s effects film? The effects work is downright horrible and I was genuinely shocked that it was released looking this bad. District 9 presumably had a fraction of Titan‘s budget and the effects work in that movie looks like it was made for $100 million. Titans, on the other hand, looks like something I would see in a Sci-Fi Channel movie. Its that bad!

Anyway, I can continue to go on and on with how bad Clash of the Titans is, but I would be wasting my time and yours. Don’t waste your money on this heap of shit. If you’re yearning to see an escapist fantasy, check out How to Train Your Dragon and see what good talent can do with studio money. Better yet, go buy the original Clash of the Titans on DVD and see for yourself the potential the remake had to be great with the kind of technology thats available today.

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