‘Clash’ of The Migraines

The demand for 3D has never been so high. After the roaring financial success of “Avatar” in 3D, more studios are jumping on the bandwagon, requesting that more films be filmed in or converted to 3D.

Louis Leterrier’s “Clash of the Titans,” a remake of the 1981 fantasy adventure, is one of these films. Despite undergoing a hasty 3D conversion in just three months, the glossy trailers certainly make it look like a box office hit. Frankly, it doesn’t matter whether one watches it in 2D or 3D, because the film is lackluster either way.

The story is as such: the bastard son of Zeus (Liam Neeson), Perseus (Sam Worthington) seeks to exact revenge on Hades (Ralph Fiennes) for killing his surrogate family. As Hades convinces Zeus to wipe out the mortals for rebelling against the gods, Perseus is tasked with finding a way to stop the monstrous Kraken from destroying the city of Argos.

If there’s one warning that the common moviegoer absolutely must heed, it is to avoid watching “Clash of the Titans” in 3D. The action scenes become a series of headache-inducing blurs, and there are instances when a character’s hair may pop out at the viewer. The fact that 3D ticket prices have increased by a dollar make the overall 3D experience seem more like a scam.

When compared to the original film, the remake certainly takes many liberties with the story. The remake retains roughly about forty to fifty percent of the content found in the original and incorporates new ideas of its own, though most of them do not work.

The film moves so quickly that there is hardly a moment for the plot to sink into the mind. Perhaps that is what the makers of the film are going for, since some scenes lack so much logic that moving at a fast pace may force the viewer to forget such shortcomings.

One particular scene concerns the origin of Perseus. Some years before, a king named Acrisius laid siege to Mt. Olympus, home of the gods. While the gods wanted to wipe out these mutinous mortals, Zeus loved them so much that he laid with Acrisius’ wife while disguised as the king and thus fathered Perseus. Wait a minute — how does that make any sense?

To make matters worse, the dialogue is simply laughable. There’s one scene where Perseus gets a little too close to his spiritual guide Io (Gemma Arterton), and she responds, “Calm your storm.” If you can’t listen to that line with a straight face, then you won’t have much luck with the rest of the film’s dialogue.

Those who want to see the gods in action ought to play the “God of War” video games instead. While the viewer does get to see a meeting between the Olympians, only three of them say more than one line. What makes them even more disappointing is that the male gods — with the exception of Hades — are decked in glittering battle armor, yet never fight.

Accompanying Perseus on his perilous journey are Io and elite warriors from Argos. To learn the names of these warriors other than their leader Draco (Mads Mikkelson) is pointless because they’re essentially cannon fodder. However, one can label these characters with titles such as ‘grumpy sarcastic veteran’ or ‘comic relief dudes.’

Worthington, who sports the same crew-cut he had in both “Terminator Salvation” and “Avatar,” growls and screams through his lines. Not only does the man have zero charisma, but he also makes no attempt in hiding his distracting Australian accent.

The usually dependable Neeson delivers his campy lines so dramatically that it’s difficult to take Zeus seriously. Fiennes seems to be the only actor who’s actually having fun with this material, even though his Hades is basically Voldemort with a plenitude of hair and a raspier voice.

The rest of the cast leave the slightest of impressions. Though Arterton gives Io an air of graceful beauty and Mikkelson makes Draco an amusing character, their efforts do not offset the banal dialogue that they are given.

The visuals, particularly the creature design and effects, are well done. Although the beasts do not create a fearful and tense atmosphere as they did in the original 1981 film, they are still an improvement over their counterparts, especially the Kraken.

The amount of effort that the filmmakers put into creating the many settings in the film is noticeable. Each place is rich in detail and evokes the appropriate mood, whether it be the royal chamber of Argos or Medusa’s lair.

“Clash of the Titans” proves that more noise and visuals cannot set apart a remake from the original. When an impressive production design is coupled with a poorly written story, deplorable use of 3D and a general lack of heart, the result is hardly a satisfying experience.