02 April 2010

Clash of the Titans

So, there's this little girl sitting in front of me at the theater with her parents. She could not have been more than four or five. I saw her when I sat down and I remember thinking, I'm not sure this is going to be a good movie for somebody that young. Fast forward to about halfway through the movie. A not-so-big-baddie has had his hand chopped off and his dripping blood. Everywhere his blood lands, a giant OMFG scorpion is birthed out of the sand. So the sand starts churning for the first one, and the scorpion begins to arise.... suddenly, from in front of me, I hear the little girl go "Aw crap."

I laughed so hard. She was absolutely the best part of that movie.

That should tell you something I guess. Don't get me wrong: I loved it like cake, but it was by no means a good movie. Neither could it manage to cross the line into "so bad it's good". Instead it's in that middle ground of just plain bad where no movie has a right to be.

Again though, I loved it like cake. Liam Neeson filled cakey goodness... mmmm....

Is it possible to spoil a thirty year old movie? A movie that is in fact older than I am? A movie based on 3,000+ year old myths? Virtually the entire movie is: Monster! [fight monster] Monster! [fight monster] Monster! [fight monster] Monster! [fight monster]

Okay, so what happens is that in times long past Zeus seduced the wife of Acrisius and she had a son named Perseus. I kind of want to stop already to point out that she was at least lucky enough to have Zeus appear in the form of her husband. Others were not so lucky. Actually, in the original myth Zeus appears to Perseus' mother in the form of a golden rain and you know what? I don't even need to make that joke do I?

Gee? Where was I? Anyway, Perseus grows up with an adopted family who hate the gods, and it turns out the gods hate them right back because they get killed before Pete Postlethwaite (a veteran "Hey, it's that guy!") really has a chance to get going which is sad and makes me tear up a little even now.

Man, you can tell I don't have a whole lot to say about the movie when I keep getting sidetracked like this.

Anyway, Zeus is convinced by Hades (Ralph Fiennes who makes a way better Voldemort if you ask me) to punish a city called Argos for not worshiping as they should. Hades tells the city to sacrifice the king's daughter or they will all be fed to the Kraken - which is so not what Zeus told him to do but whatever...

You know what? Let's start over. Perseus goes on quest to find the magical thing to save the people. Magical thing is obtained, the city is saved, there is much rejoicing.

The historian in me who has studied Greek mythology flipped her shit through about 98% of this movie. The person in me who loves bad movies thought it was the most amazing CGI spectacle I have ever seen in my life. So know that. They are very very free with their mythology.

Rant? RANT! Zeus turns into an eagle, that's cool. That's how it's supposed to be. Why oh why did it have to be a bald eagle? Was that really necessary? Did you think we wouldn't like Zeus if he had some sort of generic eagle? Is this an American Zeus? Every time that damn eagle went flying I would die a little inside.

(I do love how Perseus denies that Zeus is his father, despite "Zeus" being in his name for all intents and purposes. Hades even pronounces it Per-Zeus.)

The monster effects were superb and in my opinion pretty damn seamless. Someone, somewhere has mastered the art of CG water which is nice to know. There are scorpions and horsey-birds and ogres and a big f-off KRAKEN. Clash of the Titans Kraken > Pirates of the Caribbean Kraken. By a lot. This was what a kraken is supposed to be, and it doesn't get anywhere near enough screen time in my opinion. I would watch two hours of the Kraken kicking stuff over and drowning people. I totally totally would.

This movie was entirely predictable and a great deal of fun. If you can enjoy a movie without needing it to stimulate your higher reasoning skills in any way whatsoever then this is the movie for you.

(Edited to add: Because of this review I am now the number four hit for the Google search "Zeus bald eagle". I can die happy.)


  1. My husband's been on me to go see that. He pointed out that we spent a roadtrip a couple weeks ago listening to Don't Know Much About Mythology (which irritated me because it turned out that I knew a whole hell of a lot about mythology and got frustrated waiting for the occasional new stuff).

    It sounds like a lot of fun--and if I can't have my movies accurate, I like them fun. :)

    Re: rant...do you think Americans, on average, can tell something's an eagle unless it's a bald eagle? Small comfort though.

  2. Thanks for the review. I was really excited and then sort of down on it after the reviews came back. You make a lot of sense.

  3. Echo rant: Just got back from watching the movie and found your rant surfing for 'Zeus bald eagle'. I was in disbelief at what they had done and had to see if others had an issue.

    I can relate to your little-death comment. Having Zeus' messenger be a bald eagle was disheartening. I caught it in the first few moments of the film and then became more and more sick as they kept pushing the point. The movie-creators seem more intent on upselling America than telling a hero's journey. And, yes, I'm American. They killed the movie from my perspective. I don't want to watch it again.