June 9, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 48°F


Titans clash in glorious action scenes

Medusa, the Kraken, an evil ferryman and every important Greek god and goddess: “Clash of the Titans” has it all — well maybe not everything.

Though it has stellar special effects, that can only bring a film so far. Visually quite stunning, the story at times lacks substance.

But this modern remake, and crash course in Greek mythology, succeeds as a film adaptation of the timeless stories audience members read in middle school.

The story of the hero Perseus’ quest to defeat the Kraken is given a modern-day makeover of the 1981 film of the same name. “Clash of the Titans” is entertaining but fails to become mind-blowing. In a post-“Avatar” world, it is hard to be blown away by any new feats of computer-generated effects.

“Clash of the Titans” takes from  Greek mythology without getting too bogged down in details. Introductory voiceover provides viewers with a general overview for understanding the story of Perseus and his ragtag team of soldiers, but the film gets down to business soon after.

The battle scenes with Medusa and the Kraken are captivating, interesting and even scary at times. As an epic story, the film falls short, only clocking in at about an hour and a half, and aspects of the story outside warfare don’t have much substance. The love story between Perseus (Sam Worthington) and Io (Gemma Arterton) is genuinely sentimental but receives little attention.

The reason this new “Clash of the Titans” is a decent action movie lies in an ensemble of established actors.  Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes are seasoned actors playing Zeus and Hades, respectively. They give depth to their roles as opposed to making them overly dramatic. The dialogue might not give them much to work with, but they make the characters impressive.

Worthington, of “Avatar,” moves outside of caricature in his role as Perseus. True, the film deals in archetypes of gods and ideal men, but Worthington manages to avoid being an obnoxious cookie-cutter action hero. Instead, he works with the stilted dialogue and delivers an outstanding performance.

As both this film and “Avatar” depend on special effects, comparisons between the two are inevitable. When the Kraken rises from the ocean and screams, it’s clear this film’s effects are just as strong as those in “Avatar.”

Everything about this film, from the sound effects to the costuming, is decent but not noteworthy. It appears the producers put everything into the computer-generated effects but forgot about other aspects of the film. And in an epic film like this, costumes and sound effects are just as vital as the visuals.

The film lacks something in terms of development and story scale, and the biggest issue might just be that “Clash of the Titans” is too short. Mythology could provide days of epic footage for filmmakers, but very little is used in this film.

The film as a special effects feat is impressive, and the story has redeeming factors. As Perseus and his companions enter Medusa’s lair, the scene gets everything modern-day special effects have to offer. Her eyes might just turn viewers into stone.

“Clash of the Titans” was written by Travis Beacham, Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi and directed by Louis Leterrier.