Toku Review #3: Clash of the Titans

In place of our regular Tokusatsu Tuesday feature, let’s make way for two micro reviews of some recently released Western tokusatsu films: Clash of the Titans and Kick-Ass.

Toku Review #3: Clash of the Titans

A remake of the 1981 classic, Clash of the Titans is a loose and fairly straightforward adaption of the Greek myth of Perseus. If most of the article on Perseus from Wikipedia is even half right, then this years update is very loosely based –  as in streamlined to the bare bones. In fact, the original 1981 Clash of the Titans is closer to its source material than this remake is to either of its two sources. Don’t mistake this as bad; it works for rather obvious reasons. Allow me to list them:

*Sam Worthington is still developing as an actor

Perhaps the weakest link in the cast of Avatar when he was actually on screen, Worthington isn’t a terrible actor, and I see where the appeal is in him. His Perseus is basically a Greek Marcus Wright (Worthington’s role in Terminator Salvation). This guy tries to put some real heart into his character, we all know he has the potential to do it as he was really close to nailing that in some scenes in Avatar, but alas, there just isn’t any material in the script to make it happen. Thing is, it’s not even necessary. We take the time to watch this movie to see Medusa get her wig split (hehe) and to see the Kraken be the Kraken. With this in mind, Worthington does his job as action hero well.

*Liam Neeson is awesome

Ras al Gul, Qui-Gon Jinn, Aslan, and now John “Hannibal” Smith and freakin’ Zeus… Neeson in armor so shiny it lense flares worse than the Enterprise bridge… magic…

*Medusa’s hot

For a whore who was made frighteningly ugly by a powerful goddess for seeking this very goddess’s help in her temple after boasting of her own beauty over that of this goddess only to get raped in said goddess’s temple (thereby desecrating it), Medusa is pretty hot. I mean, sure she has angry snakes for hair and a powerful rattlesnake’s body below the belly button, but she’s got a fine enough face, and she’s a mean archer… Seriously, the Medusa sequence is well done. The fight itself could have been better, but Medusa’s weight, speed, agility, and strength all shine through as if she could have really been on set (setting aside the now expected CGI shimmer – however muted, it’s there). Her death spasms are disturbingly good as well. Unfortunately, I don’t think the animators put much work in her facial expressions. As good as the puppet looks, if I could equate her to a real actress I’d say she’s trying too hard to act.

*The Kraken was released

This thing is huge and mean. Sadly, he doesn’t get much screen time, and hardly factors into the final confrontation despite wrecking a decent chunk of the city of Argos. That said, this monster is still a baddie. It’s not nearly as cool in hindsight as the giant scorpions (did I mention there were giant scorpions?)  or even Medusa, but had Perseus been allowed to confront this beast in a real battle, I assure you it would have been truly epic.

*Decent pacing

This is what makes some of the most awesome parts of this movie less awesome while at the same time makes everything about the film work. The movie just keeps on ticking. There are few moments of talky-talky, and those moments of character development are right they should be. This isn’t to say that all of these scenes are perfect (far from it), but at least the film doesn’t drag or steamroll. The movie creates an appropriate roller coaster ride that might have been able to use a few more (or just bigger) loops.

Clash of the Titans is not an epic epic. It is, however, a decent popcorn movie. I give it a 3.5 out of 5 for fair enough treatment of an epic tale, but falling shy of really wowing me. It was a fun ride, and I left the theater happy. That was all I really wanted, and that’s what I got.

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I'm an otaku, avid gamer, and electronic "musician." I'm forever indulging in the amazingness that is Japanese tokusatsu.

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