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Clash of the Titans(2010)
Perseus is the son of the King of the Gods, Zeus, but is raised as a man. When Hades, the God of the underworld, threatens to seize power from Zeus, Perseus embarks on a life-threatening mission to defeat him. Joined by a group of brave warriors, Perseus is forced to battle beasts and demons in order to save his family, and will only succeed if he finally accepts and uses his power as a God.
For more about Clash of the Titans and the Clash of the Titans Blu-ray release, see Clash of the Titans Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on July 15, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Flemyng, Gemma Arterton, Alexa Davalos
Director: Louis Leterrier
» See full cast & crew
Clash of the Titans Blu-ray Review
Scorpions and gorgons and harpies, oh my...
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, July 15, 2010
Let's be honest: Desmond Davis's original Clash of the Titans is no Jason and the Argonauts. Strip away nostalgia and Ray Harryhausen's beloved stop-motion creatures, and what remains? A bloated, cheesy melodrama with stilted, overtly theatrical performances. Hardly the stuff of legend. Perhaps that's why the small but resounding outcry over Louis Leterrier's bastardization of the original Titans baffles me. Yes, Leterrier and his legion of screenwriters and CG artisans made dramatic changes to the narrative and its characters. Yes, they tweaked things that didn't need tweaking and allowed dated conventions to pass unscathed. And yes, Sam Worthington isn't exactly the most magnetic demigod this side of Argos. But come on... compared to Beverley Cross's middling script, Davis's ungainly pacing and burdensome storytelling, and Harry Hamlin's paint-by-numbers Perseus, Leterrier's flashy reimagining at least gets your blood pumping. Big dumb fun? Most definitely. CG-laden action flick? No argument here. Superior to the 1981 version? For me, a bit. Sadly though, that doesn't mean Leterrier's Clash of the Titans is any more of a masterpiece than its predecessor.
When Hades (Ralph Fiennes), banished god of the Underworld, attacks a group of blasphemous soldiers, he inadvertently destroys a nearby fishing boat, killing everyone aboard. Everyone except a dutiful young man named Perseus (Sam Worthington) who becomes determined to seek revenge on the god who murdered his family. Soon thereafter, the grieved "son of no man" is taken to the city of Argos. There, he conveniently witnesses yet another appearance by Hades, one in which the dark deity offers King Kepheus (Vincent Regan) and Queen Cassiopeia (Polly Walker) a choice: sacrifice their daughter Andromeda (Alexa Davalos) in ten days, or watch as their entire city is destroyed by an unstoppable monstrosity called the Kraken. Lo and behold, it's revealed that Perseus is actually the bastard son of Zeus (a scene-chewing Liam Neeson), a development Kepheus hopes will spell salvation for Argos and Andromeda. Perseus initially refuses to help, but changes his mind after a cursed immortal named Io (Gemma Arterton) informs him that killing the Kraken will give him a shot at Hades. Seeking the guidance of the fabled Stygian Witches, Perseus sets out with a band of rough-n-tumble, red-shirt warriors and Io herself. His quest brings him face to face with a scorned king named Calibos (Jason Flemyng), enormous scorpions, a race of strange Djinn, and a vicious gorgon called Medusa (Natalia Vodianova), all of whom force Perseus to prove his worth and earn the respect of the gods and his fellow man.
Though many plot threads and characters remain intact, Leterrier and his team liberally depart from the original Clash of the Titans. Unfortunately, it isn't always for the better. Zeus is now a besieged god vying for control of his kingdom; his power derived from the worship of mankind. It's a nice twist on an old idea, but Olympus and its rulers are sketchy caricatures at best. A bitter, vindictive king one moment, a sympathetic father-god the next, Zeus is both the anchor point of the film and the story's most slippery, inconsistent player. Perseus is even more unrecognizable. Vengeance, not love, propels the film toward its inevitable conclusion, transforming Perseus into an angst-ridden, 21st Century action hero struggling with daddy issues. Worthington handles the role well -- even if his reactionary performance involves a whopping five emotions -- but as written, his protagonist lacks any semblance of inner turmoil or psychological complexity. And then there's the Djinn. Inserted for little reason (other than to provide Perseus and his men with a mode of transportation) and given even less to do, the Djinn emerge as expositional distractions and, worse, invade iconic encounters (namely Perseus's battle with Medusa). Still, Leterrier isn't flailing at the wheel. Hades is a welcome addition, one that gives the tale a singularly focused villain; Io lends a feminine touch to the journey, as well as a more accessible love interest for our bewildered hero; and Perseus's men, while the source of jarring comic relief and many a critic's wrath, are infinitely more endearing than Hamlin's bumbling bodyguards.
And Harryhausen's creations? Beware complaints that the original stop-motion monsters have "more character" than Leterrier's CG beasties. By "more character," very well-intentioned filmfans are generally referring to the passion and hand-crafted artistry that bleeds into Harryhausen's designs and animation, not the aesthetic believability or visceral impact of the creatures themselves. Harryhausen's Pegasus has become a stocky, clumsy steed over the years, but Leterrier's flying horse is a graceful dervish of power and precision. Whereas most people with a pair of Nikes could run circles around the original Medusa (impressive as that sequence remains in the realm of stop-motion animation), her new incarnation is more vicious, visibly intelligent and animalistic. While the scorpions once tip-toed over Hamlin and jabbed at his men, they now shake the ground, impale their helpless victims, and crush rocks with a flick of their tails. And even though the advent of CG has reduced the Kraken -- gods love him -- to a hobbling, baby-faced giant, Leterrier's gnarled colossus could eat him in one bite. Bristling with teeth and tentacles, it looms over Argos and topples buildings without a second thought. It lifts the ocean with its arms, and floods the streets below. It feels like an unstoppable force of nature. To be clear, I have great respect for Harryhausen as an artist and pioneer, and great affection for his iconic creatures (they're one of the only things that make Davis's Titans watchable). But let's not allow adulation to get in the way of reality. Blasphemy, I know.
Clash of the Titans is a lot like Leterrier's last blockbuster, The Incredible Hulk. Some things work, some simply don't; some things click, some never quite fit together; some actors exude heart, others ham it up for the cameras; some effects are amazing, some look like action figures springing to plasticized life. But as a reimagining, Titans is a success, even if its script isn't as coherent as it could be, and its characters aren't as fully realized as they should be. Ultimately, approach it for what it is: a harmless, popcorn-addled, brawn-over-brains fantasy flick that could have been better, but also could have been much, much worse.
Clash of the Titans Blu-ray, Video Quality
Eagle-eyed videophiles have probably noticed a growing trend at their local cineplexes: more and more releases are arriving in theaters with distracting (albeit intermittent) applications of texture-wiping noise reduction in tow. Kick Ass recently caused a stir among DNR-sensitive moviegoers for just such a thing, as have other notable blockbusters. But when Clash of the Titans' 3D-conversion fiasco became the focus of its critics' ire (rightfully so), the noticeable, at-times severe smearing that plagues some of its shots fell by the wayside. Needless to say, Warner's 1080p/VC-1 transfer exhibits some of the tell-tale signs of DNR, but any criticism should be directed at the filmmakers, not those responsible for the Blu-ray edition's faithful presentation. Beyond the warm palace halls of Argos and the fiery innards of Medusa's lair, cinematographer Peter Menzies Jr. relies on earthy hues, lifelike skintones, and chilling corporeal grays to weave a decidedly bleak myth. Forests are awash with rich greens, but deserts and barren wastelands are hardly a source of primary punch. Even so, strong reds and vivid blues find room to breathe even where there isn't any. Black levels aren't exactly deep -- contrast is a bit weak in the knees -- but delineation is revealing and shadows naturally spill around Leterrier's backgrounds. Detail is noteworthy as well. Overlooking the aforementioned smearing (which sullies closeups of Zeus and his Olympian cohorts, Medusa's lair, Hades' appearances, and many a beastie battle), the majority of Menzies' shots are sharp and nicely defined, brimming with clean textures and firm edges. Slight edge enhancement (and subsequent ringing) is apparent throughout, but most likely traces back to the same source as the DNR. Thankfully, artifacting, banding, crush, and other digital anomalies are held at bay, and the image exudes the pop and pizazz of a refined high definition presentation.
Clash of the Titans Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Warner's heaven-storming DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track doesn't have to deal with any inherent shortcomings. Sinewy and intense, it rushes to electrify every city-shaking roar, heighten every shrill sheen of clashing swords, and support every bit of debris and armor that's flung across the soundfield. LFE output is full-blooded and aggressive, lending weight to crumbling statues and toppling towers, and palpable presence to giant scorpion strikes and Pegasus' powerful wings. The rear speakers are insatiable, grabbing hold of skittering stones and furious winds, and establishing the earthy expanse of a forest and the terrifying confines of a Styx ferry. Listen carefully when Perseus winds his way into the depths of Medusa's lair. Pay attention to the scuffle that erupts as the Stygian Witches desperately search the ground for their eye. Marvel as the waves of Argos hurl toward the skies and a god-killing beast wades toward a helpless populous. Ambient effects are somewhat subdued whenever Perseus and his men sheath their weapons, but note how eagerly they leap into action whenever a new threat lumbers into his path. Through it all, dialogue is crisp, clear and consistent, and rarely becomes overwhelmed by the madness that erupts around our band of heroes. (Even when it does, it's safe to assume any lost lines are meant to be lost.) All in all, Clash of the Titans sounds as good as a new, action-oriented theatrical release should.
Clash of the Titans Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Blu-ray edition of Clash of the Titans rises from the home video sea with an exclusive Maximum Movie Mode Picture-in-Picture experience, a collection of Focus Point featurettes, and twenty-five minutes of deleted scenes (including an interesting alternate ending). More content would have been appreciated -- a commentary, more expansive comparisons between the original film and Leterrier's remake, and a Harryhausen retrospective spring to mind -- but fans of the new Titans will enjoy Warner's supplemental lineup.
Clash of the Titans Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The new Clash of the Titans represents a monumental leap forward from Desmond Davis' cheesy cult classic... well, at least as far as special effects are concerned. Otherwise, Leterrier's 21st Century Clash plays out too much like its 1981 predecessor, embracing superficial theatrics and melodrama whenever Medusa and her ilk are off screen. The cast's performances are far better, and the story thankfully more focused, but the film's narrative and characters are little more than sketchy interpretations of the legends and heroes that inspired both versions of the tale. Fortunately, Warner's Blu-ray offering is more satisfying. Its video transfer is primed to please, its DTS-HD Master Audio track truly releases the Kraken, and its supplemental package features an exclusive Maximum Movie Mode. Don't get me wrong, Clash of the Titans is worth renting -- it makes for a fun little rainy day diversion -- but, as entertaining as it sometimes is, the Olympian gods and their bastard sons deserve a smarter, sharper, more startling treatment than this.
Clash of the Titans: Other Editions
Clash of the Titans Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Official Trailer for Wrath of the Titans - December 20, 2011
Warner Bros. has released the first theatrical trailer for Wrath of the Titans. The sequel to 2010's Clash of the Titans remake, this adventure finds Perseus (Sam Worthington, Avatar) on a quest to save his father Zeus (Liam Neeson, Taken) from the vengeful partnership ...
• Blu-ray Sales, July 26 - Aug 1: Clash is a Titan (Update) - August 5, 2010
As expected, Warner's mythological action/adventure movie Clash of the Titans was easily the top-selling title on Blu-ray during the week ended August 1, according to data from Nielsen VideoScan First Alert. The direct-to-video animated title Batman: Under the ...
• This Week on Blu-ray, July 27-August 2 - July 27, 2010
As I write today's post, I can't help but see the similarities between the cover of today's Blu-ray release of Clash of the Titans and a scene from the beginning of Transformers. That might explain why this action-packed remake failed to provoke the same level ...
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