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Clash of the Titans

Man that is one big Kraken. I thought the one in Pirates of the Caribbean was big, but the one in Clash of the Titans could challenge Godzilla and King Kong to a bare-knuckle fight and come out relatively unscathed.

This is the second time this year that I have seen Greek mythological gods and creatures chewing the fat on the big screen. Last time was with Percy Jackson and the Olympians: the Lightning Thief, which featured Steve Coogan as Hades. Clash of the Titans is somewhat of an upgrade since this time Hades is played by Ralph Fiennes, a specialist in villainous roles. Joining him on Mount Olympus are Liam Neeson as Zeus and Danny Huston as Poseidon. My Greek mythology is a bit rusty, but this movie informed me that these three gods are brothers who rule heaven, the sea, and the underworld. The titans, which oddly enough for this particular movie are never seen, created them, but Hades’ enormous spawn, the Kraken, wiped them out.
The god’s now rule over man, who either fear Hades or love Zeus depending on how their day is going. Either way, the gods get their mojo from prayers, and are told to simply be grateful to have the ability to breath and not complain about the lack of fish in the ocean. This leads to occasional revolts led by Greek kings who should think twice before cursing a god in the middle of a thunderstorm.

In the middle of these epic conflicts is Perseus, a demi-god orphan played by Sam Worthington, Hollywood’s new go-to-guy for blockbusters and leading men with crew cuts. As a baby, he is rescued from the sea by a fisherman called Pyros, played by Pete Postelwaite, who teaches him family values and how to mend nets. When he grows up, Perseus’ adopted family is killed by Haddes who just so happened to be diving right where their ship was floating. This sets up Perseus on a quest to avenge his family, a popular motivation for heroes.

Like all proper quests, he will travel great distances, fight fearsome creatures, fall in love, find a noble steed, and eventually face his nemesis. I especially enjoyed the meeting with the three witches, who are like the prophesising old crones from MacBeth, only much uglier and with only one eye that they share by taking turns holding it with their hands. One great battle scene involves giant scorpions who were spawned from the blood of cursed king Acrisius (Jason Flemyng). Think about that: they were SPAWNED FROM HIS BLOOD! And then, freaky-looking desert people who eerily resemble the Sandpeople from Star Wars showed up at the last minute and TAMED them. Obviously, some suspension of disbelief is required to enjoy this wild goose chase.

Of course, that is the whole point of a movie like this. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the scene where Perseus is riding a black winged horse, being chased by horrible winged creatures, while trying to defeat the Kraken by showing him the severed head of Medusa. What is really distracting though, is the amazingly cheesy dialogue. For instance, when Perseus and his loyal band of brothers are about to enter Medusa’s lair, he tells them something around the lines of “And remember: don’t look that bitch in the eye.” Good tip as it turns out.

Still, kudos to everybody who was involved in the making of this film; from the special effects crew, to the costume designers and prop masters, and the sound people who have a lot to work with during that last confusing battle. And special recognition to Liam Neeson for playing it straight when he is walking among the mortals and looking more like Moses than Zeus.

B-

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