Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Clash of the Titans

It's Ancient Greece, and the Gods are angry. The human race is slacking off with the prayers - the source of the Gods' strength - and are actually going so far as to destroy temples and statues. This cannot stand, and so Zeus decrees they must all die, or sacrifice a princess. Can Perseus, legendary hero, defeat the Gods and prove himself as a man?

I'll be honest, I wasn't expecting a great deal from this. The trailers didn't suggest intelligence, relying more on massive action and the brilliant tagline 'Titans will clash!' We'd worked that out, yeah. So it would be fair to say that I went in expecting something like 300: pretty bad, but in a ridiculously awesome way.

Well, that's what I got. Sort of. If you're familiar with tvtropes, you may have come across the trope crazy awesome. Well, 'Clash of the Titans' is stupid awesome. It makes little sense, and it fails at most aspects of the art of film-making, but it's rather good fun.

To be fair, it starts off rather impressively, with a genuinely beautiful prologue, the 'history' of Olympus told against a backdrop of stars and galaxies, the main gods formed out of constellations. It's imaginative and very well done. It's probably the best thing in the entire film, in all honesty.

In short order, we are introduced to Perseus, legendary Greek hero. He's clearly Australian, But that's ok, because his (adoptive) dad is Pete Postlethwaite, speaking in his normal Yorkshire accent. Actually, about 90% of the cast are British, with a few miscelleanous Europeans making up the rest of them. Anyway, back to Perseus. He's big, he's manly, and he's a rather petulant young man. Of course, about five minutes after we meet him, his family have been killed by Hades, so it's understandable. It would just be nice if he showed any other emotion over the next few hours, when he's not hacking things apart with a sword.

In truth, this is not a film for those who appreciate fine, subtle acting. This is a film for those who want to see Liam Neeson bellowing "Release the Kraken!" through a massive beard, while Ralph Fiennes chews slightly more scenery than he does as Voldemort. About half of the cast are either so unmemorable that their names don't register, or they simply aren't given a name. Names would distract from the heavy metal soundtrack, the awesomely bad script ("Calm your storm"), the bastardisation of the myths, and a massive lack of coherence. It's the kind of film that has the heroes set of from the city of Argo, and make their way into a rather pleasant forest, maybe from rural Britain. They get attacked, and chase their foe out of the forest, into a rocky badland sort of area. Which in swift order turns into the Sahara, before almost immediately changing into New Zealand. They end up in Mordor. This is all in the space of about ten days.

It's the kind of film that has one character flit between declaring his intention not to smile until he has spat in the Gods' eyes, and telling Perseus to pray to Zeus for strength, and that he should definitely use the gifts the Gods have given him. Given that the whole point of the film is that they're on a mission to defy the's one of the weaker moments, shall we say. And I haven't even mentioned the love story, between Perseus and the ageless Io. She's been watching him since he was born. Which, if you think about it, is a little creepy.

It's the kind of film that can have you grinning as you watch a burly man in a skirt hack apart a giant scorpion from the inside, or fly Pegasus through the tentacles of the biggest sea monster I've ever seen. And what's not to like about Ralph Fiennes unleashing a swarm of harpies from his firey wings?

So yes, 'Clash of the Titans' is undoubtedly a very bad film. But if you disengage your brain entirely, then there's fun to be had here. It's just a shame that '300' did it first, and (as a So Bad It's Good film) worse.

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