CGI doesn’t make up for the wooden script or performances says Cornwall reviewer Stuart McColl on Clash of the Titans
1981’s Clash Of The Titans had a mystical charm to it, largely due to Ray Harryhausen’s stop-motion animation. Here, Louis Leterrier’s (The Incredible Hulk, Transporter 2) remake forgoes the charm for large-scale special effects and a plot that takes itself a little too seriously.
Perseus (Sam Worthington) is out to avenge his family, but he’s also out save the city of Argos, which is about to be wiped out by the Kraken, a giant elemental sea creature, which is being sent by the gods who are angry because It’s not that the plot is hard to follow, it’s just that it’s hard to care when scenes of exposition are truncated as much as possible and enveloped by jerky action sequences.
Character development is at an absolute minimum throughout. Perseus sets out on his mission with a small band of followers and we’re not even given so much as a name for some of them, let alone their reasons for joining him -or for being on screen at all, for that matter. But in the end it doesn’t make a great deal of difference, because they’re all swept aside at the last minute by the long serpentine tail of Medusa (something done much better in the original film).
While Perseus and the gang are on their adventures, we’re treated to a little subplot back at home in the city of Argos. Princess Andromeda (Alexa Davalos) questions whether or not to sacrifice herself to the Kraken in order to save her city -and that’s literally it. The whole thing has barely any screen time yet when it’s tied into the film’s finale we’re expected to care about the outcome, which is nigh on impossible when you’ve only spent about 30 seconds with the character. This lack of attention paid to the characters and the story underpins everything that’s wrong with the film.
Faults continue to stack up elsewhere like a decrepit tower of jenga blocks, ready to crumble at any minute into the absolute mess that Clash Of The Titans is. Barely-there wooden dialogue is delivered by barely-there wooden actors. The only way you can tell Sam Worthington’s Perseus apart from Sam Worthington’s Jake Sully is that in this film he doesn’t spend half of his screen time looking like a giant blue cat. He’s got the looks and a little bit of the charisma for a leading man, but there doesn’t seem to be much else behind it. You could argue that this is because of the poor script, but only time will tell.
Overwrought CGI sequences suffer from Transformers syndrome -jerkily filmed and cut together so that everything sort of looks the same and you never quite really know what it is you’re looking at. When the camera does zoom out from the action, you can see the CGI for what it really is. Sure, it’s an obvious step up from stop-motion. But when it’s the film’s only selling point, at what cost?