Review: Clash of the Titans

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Titans is a film almost impervious to criticism. This film is the blockbuster in its purest form – acting, plot, tension – it’s all been chemically distilled to just leave effects. How, therefore, do you tackle such a beast? When a film is designed to have no plot then surely the lack of it is merely the film achieving its dubious aim? Suffice to say humans have turned on their awful gods who decide that to win the love back they’ll be even more awful.  Zeus son, Perseus must travel through the underworld to get a weapon to stop them.  I would love to tell you that within lies a commentary on modern man turning his back on established religion but that’s pretty much it.

Director Louis Leterrier gave us an equally shallow experience with 2008’s Hulk, but here he’s assisted by Liam Neeson (The Phantom Menance) and Sam Worthington (Terminator Salvation). The first thing you will want to know in an effects heavy film – ‘how are the effects?’ Under whelming – in parts they are simply dreadful (Medusa) while in others they are far too blurry to make whatever temple, monster or city on display have any real gravitas. The director’s style does not help us here. The visual palette throughout is remarkably bland, like a drive during the twilight hours – details seem to just merge together. No doubt an attempt to hide budget limitations its gives the film a blandness which came as some surprise for a pure effects epic. Perhaps the rapid editing was also there to cover some dodgy CGI. In promising set pieces the director cuts back and forth to the extent that we can never fully appreciate whatever mythical creature our hero is slaying next. In the same way Michael Bay proved with Transformers 2, fast cuts and a poor colour palette just results in banality.  

Speaking of the banal, everyone’s favourite actor Sam Worthington could have been replaced by a cardboard cut out and the audience probably wouldn’t have realised for at least an hour. He has little to work with – but manages to convey nothing approaching an emotion in nearly 2 hrs. Happily, Liam Neeson’s troubled Zeus lifts any scene he graces and Gemma Arteton’s Io illuminates her scenes with her striking beauty (in a film this basic it makes all the difference). Oddly in such a formulaic film there isn’t even the token love scene – greek men have more important quests it seems!

Bland, blurry, banal – there isn’t any inspiration anywhere in this film. Tension, excitement – that’s missing too. Evil witches declare our hero will perish in his quest – a somewhat desperate attempt to stir something within the film. Ultimately we know the good guys will win, but we probably wouldn’t have cared if they didn’t. Sam Worthington is accompanied by a gang of presumably elite soldiers who largely exist to be munched or turned to stone. I suppose they should come across as brave souls risking all for their homeland – however the film presents their quest as another day at the office – giant scorpions and even Hades himself doesn’t seem to surprise them much. When their own mortality seems to be of secondary concern the audience is never likely to develop much of an emotional connection.

A coy attempt to get money during a quiet spell in film, Titans is also a pure fantasy film – taking you away to a realm where your criticisms are deflected as harmlessly as a hapless Greek guard’s arrow. The director just wants your money; he doesn’t want your praise. This isn’t a film trying to be clever, profound or even memorable and its so banal I can literally think of nothing further to add – but if you want to pass 2 hours I’ve seen worse films,

5/10.

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One Response to “Review: Clash of the Titans”

  1. Danjo Kazooe Says:

    I`m sorry but I refuse to believe that a movie with Sam Worthington as the lead could possibly be bad.

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