‘Titans’ remake slick and silly, in a good way

  • By Robert Horton Herald Writer
  • Thursday, April 1, 2010 3:07pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

The two versions of “Clash of the Titans” provide a yardstick for the growth of the special-effects industry: The original was based on Ray Harryhausen’s famed stop-motion animation technique — a wonderfully hand-crafted style that already looked antique back in 1981.

And here’s the remake, which comes brandishing nongimmicky 3D and the latest (if not “Avatar”-level) computer-generated effects.

Of course the remake is slicker, smoother and technically more impressive. The pleasant surprise is that it’s also a better movie than the first one, which (except for a few of Harryhausen’s monsters, notably a sensational hissing Medusa) was generally pretty lame.

The remake remains in the world of Greek mythology, albeit juiced up for Hollywood. The stalwart hero is Perseus, played by none other than “Avatar” star Sam Worthington; Perseus is a demigod, having been fathered by the big guy himself, Zeus (Liam Neeson).

There’s trouble in Olympus when Zeus’ brother, Hades (Ralph Fiennes), threatens to unleash the Kraken, a deadly sea monster, if the town of Argos doesn’t sacrifice the beautiful Andromeda (Alex Davalos).

Why does Hades do this? Because he can. That’s just like the gods, always messing about for the sake of messing about. If you didn’t want him to be bad, you shouldn’t have named him Hades, right?

Anyway, Perseus needs to perform an epic chore to forestall this disaster, because without epic chores, there would be no Greek mythology. This gives the movie a sturdy spine, which director Louis Leterrier (he made “Transporter 2”) knows how to follow.

Along with some decent monsters, “Clash” has a big-time cast; Fiennes even brings a little nuance to the villain — he looks like he decided to play Hades as “Richard III” and it works. Danish star Mads Mikkelsen does his usual tasty work as the mentor of Perseus, and Liam Cunningham and Hans Matheson are other crazed members of the questing group.

As for the goddesses, no one can fill the toga of Ursula Andress from the first film, but Gemma Arterton (“Quantum of Solace”) lends a strangely unsettling presence as Perseus’ guardian spirit.

Sam Worthington is still a somewhat blank actor and I’m not sure why he’s the only person in the movie with short-cropped hair, an effect that only adds to his blankness. But his job is to wield a sword and leap from boulders, which he does very well.

He certainly can’t make sense of Perseus’ main character trait, which is a refusal to deploy his demigodlike powers. He’s sort of like the annoying friends you have who won’t live up to their potential — c’mon, man, you’re a demigod! Use it or lose it.

Look, this is a silly movie. But if you’re in the mood for lightning strikes and mighty godlike beards and flying horses, “Clash of the Titans” will supply the goods.

“Clash of the Titans” (three stars)

Remake of the 1981 Greek mythology flick that, frankly, improves on the original: This one’s got a decent cast (including Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes as warring gods) and the usual slick special effects. Sam Worthington stars as a demigod who must quest around in search of the feared Medusa — yes, it’s silly, but it’s silly done right.

Rated: PG-13 for violence

Showing: Alderwood, Cinebarre Mountlake Terrace, Edmonds, Everett, Galaxy Monroe, Marysville, Stanwood, Meridian, Pacific Place, Thornton Place, Cascade Mall, Oak Harbor

Talk to us

More in Life

Photos by Karina Andrew/Whidbey News-Times 

The Jacob and Sarah Ebey House will open to public visitors Memorial Day weekend.
A landmark steeped in 19th century history reopens on Whidbey

Beginning May 28, you can venture inside one of the state’s oldest buildings: The Jacob and Sarah Ebey House, which dates from the 1850s.

Caption: Incorporating frozen vegetables into your menu plan is a fast and cost-effective way to save money on rising food costs.
The secrets of cheap meals: frozen veggies and slow cookers

They not only stretch your food budget, but also timesaving godsends for busy parents. Here are three recipes to try.

Cinderella_Red.jpg: Red Riding Hood (Katelynn Carlson) gets advice from Cinderella (Grace Helmcke) in Red Curtain’s production of Into the Woods, running May 20-June 5 at the Red Curtain Arts Center, 9315 State Ave. in Marysville.
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

Marysville troupe stages a Stephen Sondheim musical masterpiece. Jazz, featuring the sons of legend Dave Brubeck, takes over Edmonds. And there’s this music festival in downtown Everett …

Navigating the rough, often scary seas of a hospital stay

After helping a friend who underwent major surgery, Paul Schoenfeld reflects on ways to cope for patients and their loved ones.

Sam Bowles records the run off the water from a chalk drawing with friend and co-artist, Rhyanna Mercer, Tuesday afternoon in Everett, Washington on May 10, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Jackson High’s global TikTok star is chalk full of ideas

Sam Bowles, 18, uses vibrant videos and social media fame to raise awareness of autism.

I canceled my flight to Frankfurt, but now I can’t use my credit

Melissa Crespo receives a $2,060 ticket credit when she cancels her flights to Frankfurt, Germany. But now her online agency has told her she can only use 25% of the credit at a time. Can it do that?

Lonicera ciliosa, commonly called orange honeysuckle or western trumpet vine. (Richie Steffen)
Great Plant Pick: orange honeysuckle

Its orange trumpets announce spring is here, and hummingbirds are irresistibly drawn to it.

Home & garden happenings in Snohomish County

The Mill Creek Garden Tour will return this summer after a two-year absence due to COVID-19.

Photo Caption: Would you believe a zipper sold for $18,450 at Morphy Auctions? What about a diamond necklace that looks and works like a zipper?
X-Y-Z spells ‘big money’ with this high-fashion zipper

It’s actually a necklace, but the zipper function works. Someone paid nearly $18,500 for it at a recent auction.

Most Read