It’s been a while since I reviewed a movie here. So, here goes:
Last week… I don’t remember what day… Derek and I watched the new “Clash of the Titans.” Now, I went into this movie expecting it to be singularly ridiculous, somewhat amusing, fairly lacking in content, and pretty much laughable. I believed it would be entertaining, but what I did not expect, was that I was going to love it.
Very rarely do I watch a movie (especially a movie that I didn’t expect anything from) and wish that I had seen it in the theater. Possibly this is because I am pretty picky about the movies I go see (and am getting pickier as theater prices sky-rocket to ludicrous heights), or possibly it is because we watched the movie on my laptop, but either way, as we watched “Clash of the Titans” I found myself wishing that I had gone to see this movie when it was in theaters.
The visuals and special effects are fantastic. The monsters are realistic and frightening (but not horrifying to look at). The action is well-choreographed and intense, but not gory. The characters are likeable and heroic (as it should be in the retelling of a Greek myth), and they are none of them cowards.
The plot is pretty simplistic, which Derek listed as a con, but I list as a pro. You see, I am a student of mythology… being an English major and all… and the movie is pretty true to the story of Perseus. If you read Bullfinch’s Mythology, which is one of the best compilations of Greek and Roman myths that is out there, you will see the problem with turning any of them into a full-length movie: the longest story in the book is probably about 6 pages long and some of them are as short as a paragraph or two. Also, most of the stories are interconnected, so as to make it difficult to pick one out to tell without leaving your modern audience completely confused. Thus, the fact that the movie stuck closely to the storyline of the myth without becoming too tangled and confusing was, to me, a major bonus. The story was told with artful simplicity and although it strayed in a few places from the original myth which you can read if you click on that link… it did not do so by too many extraordinary leaps, and the leaps it did make gave the movie a focus and direction that is lacking in many of the myths and would make them hard to turn into movies (they tend to meander around a bit).
A few things I noticed while watching that did sort of bother me. In the movie, Queen Cassiopeia says that her daughter, Andromeda, is more beautiful than the gods. However, in the myth, Cassiopeia compares her own beauty to that of the gods, which is the vanity she is punished for and the reason that the gods demand her daughter as a sacrifice to the sea monster. Also, the movie has a Kraken threaten the city of Argos, instead of the sea monster Cetus. Now, I understand that, “Release the Kraken.” is much cooler to say than, “Release Cetus,” and it was probably one of those points that Liam Neeson’s agent negotiated for… however… the Kraken is from Norse mythology, while Cetus was from Greek mythology and is the creature that actually attacks Argos in the Perseus myth… so that kind of annoyed me. The other points where the plot strayed from the original myth were fairly minor and didn’t impact the overall story too much.
However, those two points were pretty minor in the grand scheme of things. There were no scantily clad people running around, I noticed one swear… mostly because it was so obviously out of place in the language of the time/place… and no sex scenes, for which I was thankful and quite impressed.
Overall, if you’re looking for something fun to watch on a Friday night, go ahead and rent this one. There’s action, adventure, great special effects, a rather fantastic soundtrack, good characters, and even a little bit of a plot, and nothing offensive to jar your senses as you watch the movie. It’s not a “thinking” movie, it’s not one that I’ll probably own. But it is one I’d be willing to watch again, because it was fun.