Clash of the Titans lives up to its promise of fast action and big visuals, but will not be seen as a VFX classic in the years to come.
Like the 1981 camp classic of the same name (from which this film is a remake), Clash circa 2010 gives respect to the Greek myth of Persues by staying true to the fantastical elements of its story, instead of offering a modernized account ala Wolfgang Peterson’s Troy.
The film opens with mankind in revolt against the heavens and refusing to worship the gods. This leaves Zeus (Liam Neeson) in a majorly foul mood, with Hades offering his assistance by unleashing his ungodly (or is that godly?) creation upon mankind, the gargantuan sea monster Kraken.
Cue the heroic Perseus (Sam Worthington), a demigod with a hatred for his immortal kin, who leads a small group of soldiers on a quest to stop the oncoming onslaught.
As Perseus, Worthington takes on another man of destiny and plays the role with a steely heroism, physicality, and emotional intensity needed to make it work. Neeson and Fiennes are also well cast, bringing a Shakespearean clout to their roles of rival gods.
Yet acting is not the strength not drawcard of this fantasy feature. It’s the epic scale of its visuals that viewers will play top dollar to see, and director Louis Letterier (mostly) delivers as promised: an action fantasy of epic structure with enough style and spirit to substitute any lack of substance. In short, a solid popcorn movie.
While Letterier’s insistence of utilising shaky cam for most of the action scenes irritates, the production design is of mostly top value.
Practical effects, make up, set and costume design, and well chosen location shots all deliver. The computer generated effects, however, can be cumbersome, especially in regards to its succession of gods, monsters, and other creatures of Greek mythology, some of which are successfully brought to life (the money shot Kraken), and others which are not (a synthetic Medusa).
Just exactly how Clash of the Titans will age is anyone’s guess. The original was also heralded for its stop motion effects, but now looks beyond vintage compared to today’s digital standards.
So for the sake of the here and now, let’s just say that for a film of its ilk, it succeeds.
(Please note: The 3D visuals are so subtle that a viewing in 2D is both a cheaper and just as satisfactory alternative).