DVD of the Week – Review of Clash of the Titans (2010)
by NIR SHALEV
Clash of the Titans is very loosely based on the 1981 Ray Harryhausen classic in which Perseus is tasked with defeating the kraken. The story hasn’t changed much between the two films, however Perseus’ motivation has. This film takes a more serious look at life in that mythical time period and the screenplay somewhat fails whereas the original is an assured classic because it’s fun, imaginative, and a Harryhausen masterpiece.
Perseus (Sam Worthington) is a half breed, born from a human mother and Zeus but lacking the knowledge of who his real father is. Abandoned as a child, he grew up as a fisherman and eventually crosses paths with one of Zeus’ brothers, Hades. Hades is at fault for the death of Perseus’ parents and Perseus vows revenge. What ensues is an adventure that features Pegasus, a black horse with wings, a magical sword that only Perseus can wield, a group of proficient fighters, and a wizard that accompany Perseus throughout his adventures and even follow him down to the depths of hell, and the eventual battle against the famous Medusa followed by other eventual battle against the famous kraken.
The film is chock-full of action set pieces, sprinkled with a combination of lackluster and sometimes more than decent CGI, a good performance by Worthington (one much better than his lack of a performance in Avatar), and a simple story that goes from point A to point B within a two hour running time. The story is simple and the action is grand but can feel bothersome, seeing that most of it is computer generated. The movie moves at a brisk pace because all of the aforementioned, brief plot details actually happen in succession and without much thought. It’s a decently crafted, brainless action/fantasy that features Liam Neeson saying, “Release the Kraken!” (the part in the trailer that everyone watching this film was waiting to hear) and a fight with giant scorpions that had actually excited me.
The Blu-ray special features are as follows:
1) Maximum Movie Mode: Harnessing the Gods, with Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, and director Louis Leterrier and enhanced picture-in-picture; enhanced scene breakdowns; enhanced VFX breakdowns; on-the-spot vignettes; close-up views of the Kraken, the Scorpiochs, Medusa, stuntwork, filming locales, and more;
2) Sam Worthington: An Action Hero for the Ages;
3) Alternate ending: Perseus confronts Zeus on Mount Olympus; and
4) Additional scenes.
The Blu-ray edition is a combination DVD/Blu-ray so I’d recommend picking that up instead of the single DVD because everyone will have a Blu-ray player in the future, be it a near one or a distant one.
Other new releases this week: The Art of the Steal, Repo Men