April 6, 2010

Guys Movie Night: Clash of the Titans

The new Clash of the Titans takes itself way too seriously. A stiff and humorless adventure fantasy which stuffs all the ideas from The Lord of the Rings trilogy into 118 minutes. There's some badass moments here and there, but I wanted more trashy fun. Grade: C+ !

MITIGATING FACTOR: The Guys of Guys Movie Night were eager to get out of the house after a long winter of serious, Oscar-worthy movies. A baker's dozen showed up for dinner (ribs) and a movie (beefcake ;-) We had a fun night out, which more than made up for the so-so movie.

The original Clash Of The Titans (1981) was one of a plethora of sci-fi/fantasy adventure movies attempting to cash in on the Star Wars phenomenon. The 1981 CotT was no special movie- so why remake it with such grim seriousness and import? Why not let the characters have fun, or at least ham it up a little? It doesn't help that Perseus is played by the wooden and humorless Sam Worthington (left holding the bag, see photo): he's an Aussie, just like Russell Crowe, Mel Gibson, and Heath Ledger, but those three all had a fun side that's missing in Sam.

Liam Neeson totally rocked a gaudy, glowing, chromed suit of armor, which would have fit in perfectly in the 1980 Flash Gordon movie. I kept expecting Queen music to play whenever he appeared onscreen. Neeson played Zeus with the same thick, lionine hair and beard as when he played Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia. See the image below and compare for yourself?

Ralph Fiennes is Hades, a misunderstood villain, with matted hair, ashen, cracked skin, speaking in a whisper, like a sick dog who's been sleeping in the basement behind the furnace. He looked silly floating in midair, POOFing from place to place like a coal-powered teleporter, but frankly, the movie needs all the silliness it can get.

The new CotT applies the Lord of the Rings template, and the comparisons are NOT flattering:

  • Rag-tag fellowship voyages across varied landscapes, filmed from a helicopter? Check.
  • Leader carries a special weapon which he dares not use? Check.
  • Porcelain-skinned beauty, struggling with her immortality, offering moral support, and possible romance? Check.
  • Two Hobbit-esque bumblers offering comic relief? Check.

After reading Ty Burr's scathing review in the Boston Globe last week, I still hoped for a trashy and kick-ass experience, but I wanted to avoid the retro-fitted pseudo-3D. It took some digging online to discover that the Boston megaplexes were only showing CotT in 3D, and charging $15.50 per ticket! Meanwhile on planet Earth, the Somerville Theater is showing CotT in 2D for $8.50. Whatta bargain, AND they serve beer! As the organizer of Guys Movie Night, I successfully persuaded the Gang of 12 to pay less for a beer-fueled moviegoing experience.

NEW EUPHEMISM for URINATION: "I gotta go release the Kraken!"

(Clash of the Titans, in glorious 2D, for $8.50, at the Somerville Theater, with Jon, Adam, Angus, Jack, Marc, George, Jose, Jeff, Ilan, Brian, Alex, and John.)