From the Editor

Movie Review Archive

Thank you for checking out my movie review archive. I'm in the process of transitioning to something else, so I will no longer post new reviews to this blog. In the meantime, I will keep these reviews archived; these are from the fall of 2008 to April 2011. Please watch this blog for more info and keep in touch (you can still find me on Facebook and Twitter). Here's to more great movies!

Wes Singleton

North Texas Film Critics Association

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Clash of the Titans - B

Rated PG-13 for fantasy action violence, some frightening images and brief sensuality, 118 minutes

Entertaining remake "Clash of the Titans" a giant load of CG

"Clash of the Titans" is a huge big-screen remake of the cheesy 1980's film of the same name starring Harry Hamlin in a battle of the gods and other scary creatures. This enjoyable, fast-paced but needless treatment serves up considerable amounts of action and CG special-effects but takes itself far, far too seriously. With swords and creatures flying at you, it's probably best seen in 3-D, which will at least take your mind off the vacuous story.

Born of a god but raised as a man, Perseus (Sam Worthington) is helpless to save his family from Hades (Ralph Fiennes), vengeful god of the underworld. With nothing left to lose, Perseus volunteers to lead a dangerous mission to defeat Hades before he can seize power from Zeus (Liam Neeson) and unleash hell on earth. Leading a daring band of warriors, Perseus sets off on a perilous journey deep into forbidden worlds. Battling unholy demons and fearsome beasts, he will only survive if he can accept his power as a god, defy his fate and create his own destiny.

"Clash of the Titans" is an entertaining tale of a battle between the gods, played out with epic proportions played out against a bundle of CG special effects. It shows how much movies have changed in the last 30 years since the original film. The original wasn't a great movie to begin with, and if that one was a big cheeseball (but still fun to watch, in the right mood), this is the chips and salsa version. Lots to munch on, some fiery moments but still nothing to be taken seriously.

Director Louis Leterrier ("The Incredible Hulk") directs with an energy to keep you engaged, even if the gods have fashioned a well-worn, overly familiar story (and originally written by veteran filmmaker Lawrence Kasdan). Man of the hour, handsome Australian Sam Worthington is a worthy big-screen hero and anchors the film well, something he's already proved in "Avatar" and last year's update of the "Terminator" series, and he grunts and growls on cue, fighting those formidable creatures with valor. Veteran actor Ralph Fiennes huffs and puffs as Hades, making for a terrific bad guy as he's done in the "Harry Potter" series, while Liam Neeson is a statuesque but somewhat bland Zeus, making stilted statements as he watches the proceedings from on high.

Worthington's Perseus is out to stop the underworld from taking over, but all those darn creatures are so entertaining, providing the film's best moments and some nicely-paced action sequences that pepper the film. And pay attention, there is a clear nod to the original film, with a cameo from a recognizable mechanical creature. The CG special effects seem to take over the weak story in "Mummy"-like fashion, and they're the real star of this version of "Clash of the Titans," particularly a huge climax involving a pretty mean dragon-like creature.

I'm not sure that remaking "Clash of the Titans" was a great idea, given Hollywood's penchant for throwing out lots of special effects amidst a rather anemic script and wooden dialogue. But then audiences these days don't go to something like this for the story, they go for the action, and on that note "Clash" is successful, which should make it a big hit. Let's just hope the gods provide a better story next time.