|$||116.6M||Man of Steel|
|$||20.5M||This Is the End|
|$||11.0M||Now You See Me|
|$||9.5M||Fast & Furious 6|
|As of June 18, 2013|
Fresh off a record breaking box office performance in Avatar, Sam Worthington is at it again as the legendary Greek hero Perseus. In my opinion Worthington is no Russell Crowe and he ranks in the bush leagues compared to Hugh Jackman. As Perseus he looks un-muscular, has a vexatious Australian accent (last I checked Perseus is part of Greek mythology, not Australian), and seems too arrogant for this role (perhaps Worthington is a demigod in his own mind?). Liam Neeson plays the almighty Zeus expressing too much compassion for humans, showing not nearly enough potency, and he offers very little commanding dialogue (one would expect Zeus to have a reverberating voice). Gemma Arterton is Io, another demigod that is as lovely as she is talented, albeit unseemly pale. Ralph Fiennes steals the show as Hades, god of the underworld. The storyline of Clash does not entirely follow the "real" mythology of Perseus but it does incorporate two of the major achievements of Zeus’ son. Both achievements make up the wildest scenes in the movie; the subjugation of Medusa and the rescue of Andromeda.
Historical accuracy aside, (I taught the Dawning of Western Civilization at the college level) Clash is a fascinating film. It will undoubtedly increase book sales of mythological tales, particularly Edith Hamilton's Mythology. The story in Clash is presented in such a way as to attract new followers of history, whether accurate or not. Hollywood directors (Hi Oliver Stone how are you?) have a way of distorting historical events to suit their ideological templates. I accept this partiality as long as it provokes people to take an interest in the history of the Western world. Great movies are supposed to encourage critical thinking, not that this is a great movie.
As aforesaid, the two most eye-popping scenes are Perseus’ encounter with the poly-cephalous slithering Medusa and his slaying of the sea monster Kraken. His fight with Medusa is simply riveting. It is suspenseful, meshes well graphically, and it might be frightening to younger audiences. Hades’ son Kraken, the mythical sea monster is humongous. He towers over everyone and everything. He is only susceptible to one stimulus, the stoning head of Medusa. Even the mightiest of creatures has a weakness. It simply takes an intelligent hero to exploit their vulnerability.
Perhaps the most intriguing storyline development is the actual clash of the titans: Zeus of Olympus and his brother Hades of the underworld. One admires and pities man, while the other thrives on their fear. Zeus prospers as man prays to the gods and worships their creators. Hades’ strength increases as man bears misfortune and grows fearful of the gods.
Unfortunately for filmgoers Olympus is rather sparkly and cheaply manufactured. It lacks the appearance of the lair of towering immortal gods. The appearance of the underworld is barely touched on despite its central involvement to the plot. The monsters and beasts unleashed in their titanic struggle are very creative and a sight to behold. Although, I must point out that several of the mythical "animals" look like scorpions and blue tree limbs. They look neat but in all reality their likenesses have been shown in several other films.
Clash of the Titans is presented in no ordinary 3D. This is the most balanced exposition of what 3D can be yet produced. If 3D can enhance an IMAX film so much as to make it worth the price of admission, just imagine what it has done to this major production. Normally 3D makes a picture that much better by offering something extra. In this case, 3D perfectly complements the action scenes and looks like it belongs there. For this reason Clash of the Titans is a must see theater movie. To save it for home viewing on DVD without three dimensionality would be a colossal shame (pun intended). Even so, one cannot deny that Blu-ray DVD technology is at the forefront of the cinematographic revolution.
Laudatory remarks for the 3D aspect aside, this picture literally does nothing for me. Had I gone to a late showing instead of an early evening screening I would have fallen asleep. Oh sure, the film has its exciting moments and it is not boring by any stretch of the imagination but I have seen this type of film before. Not this particular storyline, nor these same actors, but the epic blockbuster has been done many times before and with greater accuracy and enjoyability. I prefer Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Gladiator more than I do Clash. It certainly deserves credit for being a unique epic picture, but so much feels borrowed and very little seems new. It has made a place for itself on the Mount Rushmore of epics, but it is near the bottom of the mountain, even if Zeus desires otherwise. Zeus can get as angry as he wants, this picture will be loved by many moviegoers, but I am not one of them.
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