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Monday
Apr052010

CLASH OF THE TITANS is Kraken lackin'

Rating:  Bad

I enjoy a good B movie as much as the gang at Lost Highway, but I can't find a lot to love about Clash of the Titans. For a movie built on its big-budget visuals, it lacks big payoffs. Much like the disappointing end to Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, when we thought we'd get an epic 100 boat brawl and got a 2 boat spiral squabble, Titans continually hypes expectations and fails to match them. We hear about the Kraken--a creature so massive and powerful that even Hades and Zeus fear it. Perhaps a scary creature to the gods, but Perseus (Sam Worthington) destroys it almost instantly. Where's the fun in that?

I didn't expect much from Titans: good visuals, big monsters, and a dash of coherence to glue the battle scenes together. Unfortunately, the only thing it provides are the big monsters, and there aren't enough of them. It's difficult to say how good the visuals are because I watched it in 3D. Do not watch Clash of the Titans in 3D. It looks terrible. This film was not shot with 3D in mind. Legendary Pictures decided to add 3D to the film in Feb./March, after the massive success of Avatar and blooming box office numbers of Alice in Wonderland.

I found myself taking the glasses off at times, more content to put up with blurry visuals than hack-job 3D. Heads and objects have clipping, CGI looks terrible in three dimensions, and its more difficult to see what's happening during action sequences. In 2D, Titans is a more acceptable (and affordable) experience. If you want to see competent 3D, look no further than How To Train Your Dragon, which has larger monsters and is in theaters right now.

Still, viewing the film in its intended two dimensions will not fix the story, which doesn't make a lot of sense. Sam Worthington and a gang of soldiers roam from monster battle to monster battle to find a way to stop the Kraken. You see, Zues (Liam Neeson) is upset with the people of Earth. They no longer worship him properly. Hades (Ralph Fiennes) convinces him that releasing the Kraken will scare the people into loving him again. And so Zeus agrees to release the Kraken in 13 days, unless the people of the city of Argos sacrifice the king's daughter to honor the Greek god. 

Perseus (Worthington) gets caught up in this mess after he learns he is a demigod (think Hercules) and the son of Zues. Though he's never picked up a sword before and lacks any knowledge of the lands they roam, he always knows exactly what do to and when to do it. Mads Mikkelsen, who you may remember as the villain Le Chiffre in Casino Royale, gives him a hand from time to time. Nicholas Hoult (A Single Man) sticks around to look pretty.

Perhaps I am being too hard on Worthington. In the end, Titans is his Man in the Iron Mask--his post-Cameron backup film. If Avatar had failed, Clash of the Titans would be his last shot at fame. Lucky for Sam, Cameron did not let him down.  

There are movies where I can sit back and enjoy the ride, but I have to know it's going somewhere; Titans doesn't budge. Clash of the Titans would pass as a TV movie, but on the big screen, it needs more Kraken.

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