Wednesday, November 3, 2010

PEPLUM FILM REVIEW (spoilers...if that's possible)

Clash of the Titans (2010)


What's this? A remake!


Remakes these days are almost always terrible and having seen production photos of COTT before its release, photos that didn't inspire much confidence, I decided not to see the remake on the big screen, opting to wait for it on dvd or download. I always had a love/hate approach to the original which I saw at the cinemas when I was a young teen. You can read my review here. So take this as someone who's not a fanatic of the original and was going to hate any remake from the get go. With that said the new film is thouroughly awful in almost every way possible. Except for the beginning (which is ok, not great), the action packed but not suspenseful Medusa scene and the clearly OTT ending, there's nothing much else to see. The entire cast of characters is uniformly unpleasant. Not one likeable character in the whole thing, including a growling Perseus (played by one-note Aussie actor Sam Worthington). This is difference with the original. I basically liked almost every characters, no matter how cardboard they were.

Here's a breakdown of the film:

- the changes to the story (humans vs gods) doesn't make any sense.

- Adding the religious/cult storyline with the crazy leader (the photo above) was awful. It added nothing and the character was annoying as hell.

- It doesn't really look Greek at all but more Pompeiish than anything else. The design of Argos, though spectacular during the climax, has absolutely nothing to do with Greek design/architecture.

Greek design?


- the look and design of Mount Olympus is tacky. Looks like a cheesy sci-fi movie.

- Like the original, the other Gods do not have much to do.

- In the orignal, Perseus had to tame Pegasus which made sense, for a Heroic journey. In the remake, Pegasus, who's black, appears to him and, well, that's it. Totally dull. The original was much better in this regard. And the reason they made Pegasus black because the CGI is more forgiving than if it was white. 

- the scene with the scorpions doesn't make any sense whatsoever. In the original, the Medusa's blood mutates the scorpions into big monsters but in the remake, Calibos' blood (after his hand was cut off) drips on some sand and the scorpions appear from the ground, killing most of the men from Argos but then Perseus and his men team up with the mysterious beings that use the big scorpions as transportation like nothing had happened! Huh?

- the set for the Medusa scene is pretty good and the Medusa is ok as a superfast slithery creature but the scene is more action than suspense. And Sam wears flesh-colored tights during many moments (see below), which makes it look very silly.

Many rips in them tights, boy!


The ending is so over-the-top that it's almost a thing of beauty. Here's a breakdown:

- It takes the Kraken 15 minutes to surface. There's slow and slow, but man, that beast is constipated.

- The Kraken looks like a turtle/octopus/that monster from Return of the Jedi thingy

- The ending or confrontation between the Kraken and Perseus is ridiculously drawn out, extended by having those winged demons snatch the bag with the head of the Medusa (how did they know what was in the bag?)

- the action is often so confusing that the characters have to tell us what's going on such as when the winged demons snatch the bag, Perseus yells that they stole it because we clearly couldn't see what was going on.

- Andromeda, which is not the love interest in this version, hangs from the sacrificial altar hundreds of feet above the sea, strung up by her arms, which she never seems to find painful. Unlike other Sword & Sandal films where people were in extreme pain when hanging from their arms, Andromeda is remarkably calm and nonchalant about it all. Because she's so painless throughout her ordeal, her scenes end up looking like a Sarah Brightman music video.

Thank god I've been doing Pilates!


- When the Kraken becomes a statue, the whole thing is beyond silly. It looks like the monster has a sudden rash. It crumbles from its own weight and Andromeda falls in the ocean and yet Perseus is able to find her underwater amidst the whole chaos. He must have a heat seeking device on him.

- Sam Worthington's Aussie accent can be heard throughout the movie. Plus the fact that his hair is not in style with the times, the less time Sam is on screen, the better it is.

The score is totally forgettable, unlike the Laurence Rosenthal score for the original, which is beautiful and soaring.

All in all, this remake is at times so bad that in its own way becomes a thing of beauty. I mean, how can a film get it so wrong on so many levels? Even the brief cameo of Bubo, which was a sight for soar eyes, was mishandled. The film was a huge success and even though the Kraken is dead and the Medusa is headless, Warner has greenlighted a sequel!

Because of this remake, I have to re-evaluate the original, which, after watching this suddenly comes out as brilliant on almost every level, including the fact that its more in tune with Greek mythology than this unpleasant version. Well, I still find the original uneven at best but it's also more enjoyable, memorable and far sexier too. The beefcake and cheesecake level in the remake is remarkably low.

You can discuss the film at the discussion page. I opened a new thread for it.

The best scene in the entire film, even if it's a dig at the original

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Honestly, what attracts me the most in peplum flicks are the sexy guys, and I find Sam very hot, but he could have shown more flesh. I never expect great stories or great acting from films like these.

PEPLUM cinema said...

Well, they consciously covered up Sam throughout the remake. They even had him wear flesh-colored tights in some scenes while Harry Hamlin was virtually half naked throughout the original. On that aspect, it's disappointing too.