VOD film review: Clash of the Titans
James R | On 30, Sep 2014
Director: Louis Leterrier
Cast: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton
Watch Clash of the Titans online in the UK: Amazon Prime / Apple TV (iTunes) / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / Google Play
We all wanted another hike up Mount Olympus, right? Well, we’ve got one, because hot on the heels of Percy Jackson came Sam Worthington’s Perseus – a demi-God with a more-than-demi-dodgy accent. Illegitimately fathered by Zeus (Neeson), Perseus is thrown to his death before being raised by a fisherman who looks a lot like Pete Postlethwaite. But when Hades (Fiennes) smites his foster family, hissing away like a fiery Voldemort, Perseus realises his true destiny: to avenge Pete Postlethwaite and save the town of Argos, plus their princess Andromeda. This might have been Sam Worthington’s follow-up to Avatar, but he’s a long way from Pandora.
Louis Leterrier still puts in the hours, though, ramping up the CGI to James Cameron levels to create an epic world of adventure and ancient beasties. A world that looks an awful lot like that film Clash of the Titans. You know, that movie from 1981. But here we get no Harryhausen stop-motion; these creatures are lumps of pixels without any character. The scale is right, but the charm’s way off. It’s a bit like taking Laurence Olivier and replacing him with Liam Neeson. Which is exactly what happens – Zeus here has a great big bushy beard and one heck of a sparkly costume, but his gravitas has gone walkies.
Along with the visuals, it was the hammy Olivier that made the original’s camp fantasy so much fun. With Worthington’s grizzly chops in a starring role, Leterrier’s approach is far more serious. Some of the cast have enough grit to carry the grandeur along – Liam Cunningham and Mads Mikkelsen are serviceable Greek warriors – but with giant CGI scorpions and a CGI Medusa, they’re let down by the over-digitised production. When it comes to the climax, even the mighty Kraken looks a bit pants. It’s far from Godzilla. It’s not even Cloverfield.
And so it’s down to Fiery Voldemort to bring the fear. And he does for the most part, making this brainless blockbuster almost enjoyable. But striving for pace, the script starves him of screen time. Instead we get clunky dialogue from Stupidius, the God of Bad Writing. “Temper your storm,” says monotonous wise chick Io (Arterton) to Perseus, placing her hand suggestively on his chest. If anyone knew what that meant, they’d be up on Mount Olympus too. Hopefully putting up a sign that says No Remakes Allowed.
An epic with a tiny brain, Clash of the Titans is a pointless remake. It’s not as bad as it could’ve been, but at least it’s under 2 hours – thank Zeus for small mercies.
Clash of the Titans is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Instant Video, as part of a £5.99 monthly subscription.