Clash of the Titans

I’ve never really understood why Pegasuses (Pegasi?) run when they fly. It’s not as if birds flap their wings and run at the same time. And what exactly are they running on? Air? How’s that work?

Nearest I can figure, it’s just for dramatic effect… and also because Pegasuses would look silly with their legs just dangling down underneath them. It’s much more showy to gallop along, right?

Well, it’s pretty much the same with Clash of the Titans. A lot of it, though surprisingly fun, is just for dramatic effect– and the 3D-ification is the (mostly) unnecessary, showy part.

Based reeeeaally loosely on the 1981 classic, this Clash follows pretty much the same story line with one glaring exception. Instead of the Gods just toying around in a global chess match with each other, it has Zeus’ bastard son Perseus (Sam Worthington) taking it upon himself to destroy the gods and save the world, pretty much single-handed.

Requisite backstory: Zeus came down from on high and got Danae pregnant in retaliation for her husband (except it’s her father in the ’81 version and in mythology) Acrisius waging war with the gods. Acrisius was mad and decided to go ahead and chuck his wife and her son (by Zeus) into the ocean in a fool-proof plan to kill them both. Sure, mom dies, but Perseus (the son) survives and is rescued by a local fisherman, who, in turn raises him in a strict anti-god household. Fast-forward 20 or so years, and Perseus is a grown man. ‘Round about this same time, Zeus’ brother Hades is reaching the end of his rope down in hell, and he wants out. So he formulates an elaborate plan to become king of the gods. Along the way he kills Perseus’ adoptive fisherpeople family. Cue the revenge.

The original movie was a cheese-ball, campy, over-the-top classic, and this one, though not worthy of ‘classic’ status, is just as over-the-top, campy, and cheese-ball.

The fact that director Louis Leterrier (Transporter 2) has his tongue firmly planted in his cheek rescues it, though. From the Bubo cameo (those who know will have a good laugh) to the complete re-invention of the Medusa scene (only the shield and the snakey hair remain from the ’81 version) it’s the kind of mindless, entertaining flick that’s usually reserved for the summer months.

Parts of it feel very much like a Michael Bay-style thrill ride (That’s not necessarily a bad thing, by the way), from the bombastic score to the slo-mo attack sequences to the occasional dribbles of humor.

The effects are pretty solid overall. If you’re a fan of the original, the 2010 version will only make it more obvious how far technology has come in the last 30 years. The action sequences, including the scorpion scenes and the last twenty minutes (“Release…. THE KRAKEN!”) are very fun, though they’re really the only parts of the movie where the 3D pays off. In fact, I took my glasses off for several long stretches and didn’t miss a thing.

If you can’t wait for the summer movie season to begin, rest assured– it’s already here. Clash of the Titans will never be called an intelligent, thought-provoking study in quality cinematics. But it you’re in the mood for a just-sit-back-and-watch, action-filled tale of revenge and mayhem, you’ve found it… flying/running horses and all.

3/5 stars