By Caroline Blair HUB Correspondent
Clash of the Titans is the latest in epic, if uninspired movies that seem to crop up before the summer blockbuster season.
The film follows the journey of the mythical hero Perseus (Sam Worthington) as he battles fantastical creatures and clashes with the gods. It is a remake of the 1981 film of the same name, but the new Clash lacks the kitschy fun of the original. In fact this movie more generally lacks fun.
Central to the movie is the conflict between men and their gods. Mankind has become arrogant and believes that they are as powerful as the gods and in order to keep them in line Zeus (Liam Neeson) allows his brother Hades to torment the people into submission. In one attack Perseus’ adopted family is killed, sending the demigod, as he is the son of Zeus, out for revenge.
In addition avenging his family Perseus must also save the city of Argos from the wrath of the gods. For as a beggar there says “You defy the gods and you will be punished.”
And punished they are as Hades, played with a sinister rasp by Ralph Fiennes, terrorizes Argos with zest.
Fiennes and Neeson are a well-matched pair, circling each other in an ongoing battle for dominance, but with Worthington responsible for most of the action the gods are sidelined. Underutilized, these two great thespians are never able to bring their characters past glowering men to the gods they are supposed to be.
Sam Worthington, who is quickly becoming a first rate action star thanks to his roles in Terminator: Salvation and the über-successful Avatar, is an acceptable hero, but lacks gravitas.
Mads Mikkelsen gives the best performance of the lot as Draco a soldier from Argos who acts as a tutor to Perseus. Mikkelsen, who is best known as ‘Le Chiffre’ in Casino Royal, gives Draco a stoic charm and portrays his loyalty and doggedness in battle without any ridiculous male posturing.
The special effects have been greatly improved since the stop-motion monsters Harry Hamlin fought in 1981. Perseus battles the Kraken, several large scorpions, Medusa, and Hades’ flying minions, all of which are computer generated in an attempt to frighten and awe the audience. But only creature that was successful in creating real tension was Medusa, the cursed coquette whose gaze turns men into stone.
Clash of the Titans is one of those movies so big that it’s unavoidable, and as far a film spectacles go it’s not bad.