CLASH OF THE TITANS
Review by Michael Jacobson
Stars: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson,
Ralph Fiennes, Alexa Davalos, Gemma Arterton, Mads Mikkelsen
Director: Louis Leterrier
Audio: DTS HD 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.40:1
Studio: Warner Bros.
Features: See Review
Length: 106 Minutes
Release Date: July 27, 2010
“Decide your penance…death or sacrifice…”
If there was a single good reason to remake Clash of the Titans, it might have just been to hear Liam Neeson saying “RELEASE THE KRAKEN!”
Apart from that, I suppose the main reason would be that it was a big hit in its day that easily lent itself to a remake thanks to advancement in CGI and other special effects technologies. Was it a necessary remake? Not at all. Is it a fun one? Yes.
I recently watched the original again when it came out on Blu-ray. As a child, I was enthralled by the film. As a young adult, I found it a little cheesy and the effects already outdated. As a more mature adult, though, I appreciated it on a whole new level. The stop motion effects by Ray Harryhausen were indeed marvelous to behold, and now I have the wisdom to understand that what he did in the 80s took more skill and work than anything seen in the new movie.
The updated version is kind of like a jazz cover; it hits the main notes enough to remain familiar but takes liberties all around it. Perseus (Worthington) is still the offspring of Zeus (Neeson), but a new foe is in the picture: Zeus’ brother Hades (Fiennes, in a welcome re-pairing with Schindler’s List co-star Neeson). Zeus and his fellow gods defeated the titans once upon a time. Since then, Zeus banished Hades to the underworld and created man so that the gods might live off of his prayers and worship.
But man is growing weary of the gods, and in an act of rebellion, the city of Argos even topples Zeus’ mighty statue. Hades, who has plans of his own, convinces Zeus to make an example of Argos by releasing the monstrous Kraken upon it. Their only way out? Sacrificing their beloved princess Andromeda (Davalos).
Perseus, who had seen all the family he knew killed by the gods, is the unlikely man to lead the charge to prevent all of this from happening. The goal: defeat the Kraken. How? Well, fans of the original know it involves claiming the head of the deadly Medusa, whose stare turns any living thing to stone. But new to the mix is Io (the beautiful Arterton), herself an offspring of the gods and a solid guide for Perseus.
Perseus has some god-like abilities, but to the dismay of his men, he refuses to use them, preferring to battle the gods as a man. He will have much to learn and many chances to prove himself, especially when battling giant scorpions, crossing the deadly river Styx and fighting Medusa, not to mention the final showdown with the Kraken.
Storywise, it’s satisfactory, if not exemplary. The new special effects are quite impressive. The Kraken is everything you hoped it would be and more. Then again, being kind of old-fashioned, I kind of missed Ray Harryhausen’s intricately designed models that had to be animated one frame at a time. For such a story of mythological proportions, his approach just felt more right than all the dazzling computer-generated work.
Still, all in all, I found the new Clash to be an enjoyable diversion. And indeed, hearing Liam Neeson utter those iconic words is almost alone worth the price of admission.
Completely flawless from start to finish. This is really what Blu-ray is all about. From the opening look at the stars to the ferocious battle scenes, from the expanse of the sea to the dark lair of Medusa, this high definition transfer is an absolute marvel from start to finish. This is easily the best looking release of the year so far!
Likewise, the DTS HD audio is relentless, powerful and completely enveloping, with thunderous dynamic range and plenty of action sequences to keep all directions of sound in full engagement. Dialogue and music are well rendered against the effects…a superior listening experience.
The coolest extra is being able to watch the movie in Maximum Movie Mode, which means while the film plays in smaller screens, you get interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and more. The graphics and display are well-designed.
There are also numerous other Blu-ray exclusives, including about 18 minutes worth of deleted scenes, many vignettes on the special effects, designs, stuntwork and more.
Rounding out is a look at Sam Worthington becoming an action star and an alternate ending.
Clash of the Titans is a fun remake that takes the original special effects in bold new direction, but you can be forgiven if when all is said and done you still prefer the original. This is still an absolute reference quality Blu-ray that will show you what your home theatre is capable of!