So I saw Clash of the Titans today, and having been old enough to actually catch the original in theaters, I was looking forward to seeing this remake. The original holds a special place in my heart, being one of the few movies I would watch over and over as a kid whenever I caught it on television. I could never get tired of that movie growing up because of the characters, the action and the special effects, done by stop motion master, Ray Harryhausen, that movie sucked me in. And while I don’t look at it with the same excitement I had for it as a child, I still can’t help but feel some nice sentiment from and towards it whenever I happen to catch it on the air (which is rare nowadays).
And now that I’ve seen it, what is my judgement? Well while it’s a great popcorn movie to enjoy for an afternoon or to kickstart your night out, for fans of the original, like me, they’ll find it’s less of a remake and more of an re-imagining. Yeah, I hate that term too, but it actually applies to this movie. Now granted, it has been some time since I’ve seen the original, I still remember enough to know what parts are used in this version. The basic premise from the original still remains, Perseus, half man half god, leads a ban of not so marry men on a journey to save a city from its coming destruction from the Kraken. Meanwhile, the gods of olympus, or more specifically Zeus, keeps a keen eye on Perseus since he’s the father of our hero. That’s about where the similarities end. Gone from this version is the is the R2-D2 like golden owl sidekick, Bubo, as is a lot of what made the original so endearing. (though Bubo does show up in a five second cameo and Pegasus is awesome) The action is ratcheted up times ten, and of course the effects are top notch compared to Harryhausen’s herky jerky stop motion animations. But what it makes up for in looks and kinetic action it severely lacks in heart, drama and overall suspense.
As goofy as the original was, you were made to care about the characters, even feel a little for the bad guy, Calibos, the half man half whatever he was, who plagued Perseus throughout the original. In the new movie he’s been replaced by a character who’s boring and is only there to amp up the movie when it slows down. The tongue and cheekiness of Bubo, and the special effects, while amateurish by today’s standards, added an extra depth to it that the new version doesn’t have. Suspense wise there is none. Medusa’s lair in the original was dark and scary and you couldn’t see what was coming for you until it was too late. The scene was drawn out to make you fear for the men who entered it. In the new version, the film doesn’t try to hide her from the viewer or make you figure out where she’s coming from. There’s no suspense, and while this Medusa is heads (at least for a little while) and shoulders above the original, she’s no where near as frightening compared to her Harryhausen counterpart.
The one thing I will say the movie got right is the Kraken. This is the Kraken I would’ve liked to have seen back in the day. He’s big, he’s mean, and he’s out and out f#*@ing scary, and he lays waste to a good portion of the city before he’s dealt with. The problem is, the one thing they did right wasn’t on screen long enough for anyone to enjoy him. This isn’t my generation’s Clash of the Titans, this is the younger generation’s, and they can have it. The movie has been streamlined for the modern audience and a great portion of the original story and characters from the original movie, no longer exists or has been changed so much that you don’t recognize them. Not to say the movie is bad because it’s not. As I stated earlier, the movie is good for what it is and that’s a good ol’ fashioned popcorn movie where you check your brains and cares at the door. If you’ve seen the original and liked it, if you’re like me and grew up with that movie, if you can remove yourself from the original and accept the newer version for what it is and not compare to it’s predecessor, (at least while you’re watching it) you’ll be fine.