AWFJ Women On Film – “Clash of the Titans” – Review by Susan Granger

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Who would have believed 3-D burnout would happen so quickly? While enhanced visual technology was an integral part of “Avatar” and “Alice in Wonderland,” it’s been added onto this cheesy remake of Ray Harryhausen’s stop-motion F/X fantasy – and the distraction is definitely not worth the added box-office bucks.

Plot-wise, the defiant demi-god Perseus (“Avatar’s” buff Sam Worthington) is determined to save humankind – his family and Princess Andromeda (Alexa Davalos) – from vengeful Hades (Ralph Fiennes, channeling his malevolent Voldemort from “Harry Potter”), who is determined to punish the Greek city of Argos for daring to disrespect the gods. So Perseus volunteers to lead an expedition – that includes immortal Io, his spiritual guide (Gemma Arterton), and the veteran warrior, Draco (Mads Mikkelsen) – on a perilous mission to defeat the god of the Underworld before Hades can seize power from his brother Zeus (Liam Neeson). Also lurking around Mt. Olympus are another brother, Poseidon (Danny Huston), and Apollo (Luke Evans).

Lest you wonder why stalwart actors were sacrificed on the altar of this ancient, if fanciful sword-and-sandal kitsch, remember that the cast of the 1981 version (now available on a Blue-ray DVD) included Laurence Olivier, Claire Bloom, Maggie Smith and Ursula Andress with a very young Harry Hamlin as Perseus. Unfortunately, the concept has been updated by a trio of writers (Travis Beacham, Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi) and directed by Louis Leterrier (“The Incredible Hulk”) without a shred of wit or humor. But there’s a giant scorpion, winged Pegasus, the two-headed dog Dioskilos, the snake-haired Medusa (depicted better by Uma Thurman in “Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief”), and, of course, the fearsome Kraken, a sea monster lifted from Norse mythology.

The cast/crew referred to this clunker as “Let’s get Kraken…” The film’s website is release-the-kraken.com and there are already numerous parodies of Neeson’s bellowing on YouTube. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Clash of the Titans” is a crummy 5. The downfall of 3-D is going to be quickie CGI conversions like this.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.