SciFi Japan

    Review: CLASH OF THE TITANS (2010)

    Author: Kim Song-ho Official Website: clash-of-the-titans

    CLASH OF THE TITANS is a remake of the 1981 film of the same name. The original film, based on the Greek mythology about the adventures of Perseus, was directed by Desmond Davis and featured stop-motion visual effects by the legendary technician Ray Harryhausen. It was the last film in which Harryhausen produced the visual FX, and many of the fantastic creatures in this film, especially Kraken, Medusa and Pegasus, are still lovingly-remembered by fans. The 2010 remake was co-produced by Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures which brought us such international hits like BATMAN BEGINS, THE DARK KNIGHT, 300, THE HANGOVER and WATCHMEN (the companies also recently announced another big property to remake - Godzilla. See the previous SciFi Japan coverage). Louis Leterrier of THE TRANSPORTER, UNLEASHED and THE INCREDIBLE HULK fame, directed. This new take on both the Greek mythology and the classic film based upon it is a nice addition for any fans of the genre. The plot has various changes from the source material and features some new characters, but succeeds in reviving such feelings of mythic adventure that makes the viewers` hearts keep beating. The film also has some new fresh ideas, especially the depiction of a more active Perseus when his identity as demigod makes things complicated. The change of the main antagonist from Thetis to Hades infuses an edgier and grander scale to the overall tone. Production design, costumes and visual effects are all in impressive quality in general. The story is not that strong nor is Leterrier`s direction, but veteran actors like Liam Neeson (as Zeus) and Ralph Fiennes (as Hades) are enjoyable to behold and there are two great action sequences when the Perseus gang clashes with giant scorpions and in the climactic appearance of Kraken. Perseus` confrontation with Medusa is not as thrillingly staged as in the original, despite the fact that the new CG Medusa looks not too bad. And if you didn`t see the original CLASH OF THE TITANS, please do so before seeing this remake as it has several amusing references to the first version, including one cameo by the character the fans fondly remember... or not (to me, it was a welcome moment).

    And now comes the important part - the 3D presentation. CLASH OF THE TITANS was originally shot in 2D and was planned to open March 26, a week earlier than the current date of April 2. However, due to the history-making success of James Cameron`s mega-blockbuster AVATAR (also starring CLASH`s Sam Worthington), which made us all talk about 3D now, Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures decided to jump on the bandwagon when the film was already well into the post-production stage. In late January of this year, the companies announced that they would convert the film to 3D and postpone the release date by a week. In my opinion, that hastiness was a problem. James Cameron envisioned AVATAR as a 3D film from the start and spent more than a decade preparing it for that format. However, CLASH OF THE TITANS was not planned as a 3D film, but is just a 2D to 3D conversion. The process took just 10 weeks and every shot of the film is not supposed to be seen three-dimensionally. Thus, despite the potential in the material had the filmmakers decided on 3D before production, the heavily hyped 3D image of CLASH OF THE TITANS was below average at best. The shots lack depth and structural consideration. They flow too fast and look just plain and flat, which does not help the viewers fully engage with the story. After finishing the film, the uninspired 3D image only leaves the viewers with a little dizziness and sore eyes. As I fairly enjoyed the film, I found no reasons not to see it again. Next time I will go to a conventional cinema and see it in 2D. Despite some drawbacks, CLASH OF THE TITANS is a fantasy adventure worth giving a chance. But I seriously do not recommend doing so in 3D. Save those extra bucks, if you can. Check back with SciFi Japan this week for detailed production notes and dozens of images from CLASH OF THE TITANS!

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