Greek mythology facelift in ‘Clash of the Titans’

Greek mythology hits the cinemas once again with Louis Letterier’s remake of “Clash of the Titans”. Letterier used the 1981 original as inspiration for his previous films and has now joined Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, and Ralph Fiennes in creating ‘a Clash of the Titans for this generation of kids’.


The remake of the 1981 film "Clash of the Titans" converted to 3D late on in the production process. Photo: Warner Bros

It is fair to say that “Clash of the Titans” is only loosely based on the original story, but it still tells the general tale of the ancient greek hero, Perseus (Worthington) as he leads mankind against the gods. The film, showing in both 2D and 3D, begins with a wonderful sequence set in space, telling how the greek heroes’ stories are set in the stars and using this idea to establish the story of king of the gods, Zeus (Neeson) and his brothers, Poseidon and Hades (Fiennes).

We then follow Perseus as he grows up as a fisherman and watches his family die at the hands of Hades, the god of the underworld. Perseus is taken to Argos as the city is given an ultimatum by Hades to sacrifice their princess, otherwise be destroyed by the terrible beast Kraken.

However, we then discover that Perseus is actually a demi-god, the illegitimate child of Zeus, and is destined to defeat Kraken and make a stand against the gods. So Perseus sets off in classic greek mythological style, collecting heroes and gifts from the gods as he goes, in an effort to save Argos and avenge his family by killing Hades.

“Clash of the Titans” was converted into 3D late on in production after the success of Avatar, however it did not add much to the film, be it a gimmick or not. Nevertheless, all the key features of the Perseus story are there: the winged steed, Pegasus, the blood-spawned, giant scorpions, and the snake-haired Gorgon Medusa.

The home of the gods on Mount Olympus is also represented, (much akin to the council room in “Star Wars”), but without the chessboard from the original. Though in true homage to the ’81 film, Bubo the lovable, mechanical owl does make a short cameo. It is definitely a “Clash of the Titans” for this generation, but have the updates and spectacular CGI sequences taken away the magic of the original? Perhaps it has.

The film looks beautiful with high, sweeping shots of Argos and huge battling monsters aplenty but it seems that these spectacles were the main strength of the film. The plotline is much unlike the original film and myth, and as a consequence it falls short.

For example, Perseus who leads the men against the gods: it seems ambiguous as to whether he even knows which side he is on. In fact, Worthington doesn’t quite manage to show any other emotion but blind anger.

The story just seems to be muddled, leaving just the spectacle of the action scenes to fall back on. And while those scenes don’t disappoint, if you’re looking for a complex, mythological legend, you won’t find it here.

Clash of the Titans = 6/10 (7 for mythology fans!)

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