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Epic Fail: Clash of the Titans


I R Shiny Beardy Godly Neeson! Your argument is invalid!


Film Review Scale - 5/5: Masterpiece; 4/5: Very Good; 3/5: Decent; 2/5: Weak; 1/5: Awful; 0/5: Uwe Boll

'Director': Louis Leterrier
Stars: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Gemma Arterton, Mads Mikkelsen, Ralph Fiennes.

There's little point in dancing around with the semantics: Clash of the Titans is staggeringly dreadful. Apparently the 3D version is even worse, but on the advice of various reviews I opted for the non-gimmick version, as I've found 3D to be a nugatory practice even when done well (Avatar). The prospect of it done badly therefore didn't exactly feel conducive to my attempts to derive a worthwhile cinematic experience from a film whose tagline was the spectacularly inane 'Titans Will Clash'. This is silly enough based purely on the fact that the movie is called Clash of the Titans, but becomes doubly hilarious when you realise, after legging it from the two-hour epileptic fit that has just taken place in Screen One, that not only do Titans Not Clash in this movie, but Titans Do Not Even Appear At All.

The movie's sole salvation is that if you happen to share my sense of humour, you'll occasionally stagger across a rare morsel of unintentional hilarity on your trek through this wasteland otherwise arid of any form of entertainment. I particularly love the fact that the blaspheming city's name is Argos, which over here in England permanently associates it with a particularly depressing form of catalogue shopping. There was of course a real Greek city called Argos and while it probably didn't so much as feature a collection hall where you had to sit around for hours waiting for semi-zombified staff to locate an item you'd already paid for, that didn't stop several mocking snorts from breaking out around the auditorium every time some muscle-bound goon snarled about saving Argos from the Gods (they probably got sick of taking twenty minutes flicking through the biblical item catalogue, only to wait a further half-hour in a queue to be told it was out of stock and discover they'd contracted syphilis from touching the handrail).

I have selected a George Foreman Lean Mean Grilling Machine from the catalogue. A MANLY PURCHASE!

There's no shortage of other, less arcane moments of amusing inanity either: the sweeping, dramatic score as our heroes cross various entirely non-threatening landscapes on the backs of GIANT SCORPIONS (look up overkill in the dictionary, etc.), or how Mads Mikkelsen, aka a buffer version of Le Chiffre from Casino Royale, THROWS PERSEUS THROUGH A TENT for no particular reason after he's just recovered from being poisoned. Hey, why not? As everyone is so keen to remind us, these are MEN we're watching! Big, sweaty, snarly men who say things like 'grrrr!' and only have two expressions, both of them the same shade of 'grrr!' Just prior to needlessly sacrificing himself for dramatic effect during the fight with Medusa, Mads (playing someone either called Draco or Drago – it's hard to make out much through that thick Scandinavian accent) sneers to Perseus: "Tell them Men did this!" like he's sounding out an advance warning to Germaine Greer. That'll teach those darned feminists what's what! Get back in the kitchen, you serpentine-haired slapper, and make me some custard! They're also followed by some chap whose face looks like the contents of an ashtray, and Gemma Arterton, whose sole job in the movie is to speak nonsense and pout in close-up. They might as well have had an announcer shout 'Babe alert!' every time she's on-screen, doing nothing absolutely gorgeously.

Babe Alert!

The 'story' is structured and written exactly like a videogame, which (along with the fact that God of War got there first) goes some way to explaining why one hasn't appeared on shelves yet: they'll be calling it a 'DVD' and it'll have exciting gameplay features such as 'rewind', 'pause' and 'skip chapter' (though the one you should really be looking forward to is 'stop'). The entire plot maps out as follows: opening cut-scene (watch stuff happen you're not involved with), training section (fight with Mads!), LEVEL UP (get divine sword – Worthington-tested, Neeson-approved!), walky section, mini-boss (giant scorpions), LEVEL UP (Scorpion Shield Get!), puzzle section (witches), boss (Medusa), mini-boss (B'Elana Torres' dad), vehicle section (Pegasus flying – Wii Balance Board compatible), QTE (kill Kraken with Medusa face, throw sword at Hades before he can get deathly on yo' ass), incoherent ending. And if anyone's going to moan about spoilers, all of that was in the trailer.

If you're after some semblance of serious evaluation in this 'review', here goes: Louis Leterrier directs like his cameraman was having a fit behind the lens. There's a sneaking suspicion that this is to hide how generally awful the CGI and animation is, although it fails at this too. During the more frantic action sequences, it's almost as hard to keep track of where everyone is as it is to find a reason why you should give a toss in the first place. As for performances, the fairest thing that can be said is that everyone fills space effectively (well, maybe not Worthington – he's more of a vacuum): no point talking about characters, as the actors only serve to make a distinction between the scenery that moves and the scenery that doesn't. The score, meanwhile, sounds like it was plucked from a CD of Epic-Sounding Tracks In The Public Domain.

Apart from being intermittently amusing in its straight-faced stupidity, Clash is a depressingly bad time which not only fails to live up to the Olympian potential of an Ancient Greek monster smackdown, but often barely seems to even be trying. Bad writing and performances shouldn't be a problem for this kind of movie, but when the sound and spectacle are so spastically directed and blandly designed, scored and edited, even the myriad relatively minor faults become more tangible than the ailing special effects. Gemma Arterton's awe-inspiring countenance, a man with a face like an ashtray, a city named after a catalogue retailer and the tossing of demi-gods through tents save this from no-star ignominy. That said, I dare anyone to see this (especially its egregious 3D retrofitting, from what I read) and not come out vowing manly retribution for the cinematic crimes of studio gods, who continue to expect us to pay deference for these lazy, cynical offerings. There's another one for that list of unintentional hilarity.


Cutting edge special effects! For 1981! And I'm talking about the 2010 version!


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About Xander Markhamone of us since 3:08 PM on 02.07.2010

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I'm a 26-year old English writer, formerly known on the CBlogs as Xandaça. I've been an avid gamer since I was a wee lad, gripping a NES controller in my hands and comprehensively failing to get past those infuriating Hammer Bros on Level 8-3 of Super Mario Bros. I've stuck with Nintendo since then (not for any animosity towards the other console makers of course - Nintendo just make games I enjoy and have grown up with), apart from a brief sojourn with a Sony PlayStation, several woeful attempts to play Half-Life 2 using a laptop touchpad and sporadically wrangling a turn on my sister's beloved Sega Saturn.

In addition to burping out the occasional novel, I'm a passionate critic, writing reviews and articles of films, book and games for my school magazine and university newspaper, for which I created and edited its film section. In addition to starting up my own blog, covering television, games and movies, I am also a writer for Destructoid's cine-geek sister Flixist. While primarily a film geek, the evolution of the games industry over the course of its short lifetime has fascinated me and provided vast quantities of content for some incendiary pieces of work - perhaps a few more might spring up on here?

My Favourite Games of All Time (because who doesn't love having a few Of All Time lists?) are GoldenEye 007 (which I still play through at least once a year to remind me of its glories), Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, Gunstar Heroes, Super Mario Bros 3 (I don't know who told Shigsy Miyamoto-san that raccoons could fly, but I'll love them forever) and No More Heroes.

I hope you find great enjoyment in my many scribings, and please keep an eye out for upcoming news on my novel(s) and do pay a visit to my blog sometime. And yes, the Dtoid community's 'no copy and paste' rule will be fully respected!

Good gaming, everyone!