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Back in 1981 when the face of special effects were changed by the 1977 movie Star Wars and the introduction of digital animation, stop animation creator Ray Harryhausen decided it was time to do one last movie with his stop action animation process. He chose Clash of the Titans, the epic tale of Greek god vs. man, as that project. The movie starred Sir Laurence Olivier as Zeus and Harry Hamlin as Zeus’ half-mortal son, Perseus. But the real star of that 1981 movie was Harryhausen’s incredible stop action animation process.
Now flash-forward 29 years and the face of special effects have changed even more radically as digital animation is combined with a stunning visual effect known as Real D technology. Real D is a technology that gives images on screen a richly textured three-dimensional look. It was Real D technology that was used in the 2009 remake of the horror movie My Bloody Valentine, which starred Jensen Ackles, to give the movie an ‘in your face’ feel to the gruesome scenes of mayhem. In the 2010 remake of Clash of the Titans, the Real D effect seems to only be there to give the movie’s sweeping scenery a more textured look and feel because it sure wasn’t used to give any ‘in your face’ feel to the few and far between action sequences of the movie.
After sitting through this Louis Leterrier directed remake written by Travis Beacham, Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi and based on the original 1981 screenplay written by Beverley Cross, I firmly believe that it could have used more action sequences and desperately needed that ‘in your face’ feel to go with them because in this reviewer’s opinion this remake of the Greek gods vs. man storyline was ploddingly dull and lifeless. The characterizations were bland and so poorly fleshed out that most of them seemed to be in the movie merely to serve as expendable fodder for whatever befell the heroes on their journey.
Sam Worthington as Perseus was grim faced and, to me, completely lacking in any sort of big screen presence necessary to take on such a larger than life character and get the audience to connect with him. Perseus was boring. Liam Neeson as Zeus was boring (and way too shiny white like some character out of the Tron movie). Only Ralph Fiennes as Hades seemed to have any –no pun intended- real fire to his performance in this movie.
I really wish I could have liked the remake of Clash of the Titans more than I did. But despite the glossy look of the Real D technology, I just found myself getting lost in the boredom to the point I realized my mind had wandered off to analyze the reasons why it would be aerodynamically unfeasible for a flying horse to have it’s wings attached to it’s withers (but that black Andalusian with wings was stunning). By the time they called for the release of the Kraken, I was praying for Capt. Jack Sparrow to show up. This movie needed a character like him because it was, in my opinion, way to caught up in it’s own totally humorless pretentiousness and that just left me looking at my watch and wondering when the movie was going to get better or be over.
I really do not know why they wasted time and money filming the Clash of the Titans remake in Real D technology since it never fully utilizes the aspects that puts the audience right in the movie. The creatures are run of the mill digital effects that, to me, no way come close to the coolness factor of seeing them in Ray Harryhausen’s amazing stop action animation process. It’s also a pretty sad state of affairs for a movie when the scenery has more dimension and depth than the main characters do. Those characters really needed the writing equivalent of Real D technology.
I am guessing this move would be pretty much the same in 2D theater as it would in a more expensive 3D theater since the only reason for the Real D is to make the scenery look better. You can pretty much see the same thing for a lot less money. Or better yet, why not rent the 1981 version with the totally awesome Ray Harryhausen stop action animation process. The 2010 Clash of the Titans remake opens in select theaters on Thursday, April 1st and in wide release on Friday April, 2nd.
Rating = C+
Reviewed by M R Reed