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CLASH OF THE TITANS

SYNOPSIS:
Perseus (Sam Worthington), rescued as a baby from the sea by fisherman Spyros (Pete Postlethwaite), learns when he grows up that he is the mortal son of the god Zeus (Liam Neeson). The gods have been behaving badly and the people of Argos are fed up; someone has to say 'enough'. Perseus realizes he is the one to do the job, and with - at first reluctant - help from Draco (Mads Mikkelsen), he embarks on a perilous journey to stop Hades (Ralph Fiennes) of the Underworld and his angry monsters - including the deadly Medusa (Natalia Vodianova) from spreading their evil to Earth as well as the heavens. He is helped by the mysterious Io (Gemma Arterton) who has watched and protected him all his life.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Perseus (Sam Worthington) is a down to earth kind of bloke (could be from working class Australia, in fact, if it wasn't in Greek mythological time) who learns that he is a demi god, the mortal son of the great god, Zeus (Liam Neeson). This puts him in line for the challenging job of stopping the Underworld's bitter and twisted Hades (Ralph Fiennes) from wrecking everything and making humans fearful - which feeds him power. Their prayers and devotion feeds Zeus, and so the two, although brothers, hate each other. That, rather simplified, is the plot, but the telling isn't so simple. It's not quite good versus evil, as the only goodie is Perseus and some of his allies, notably Io (Gemma Arterton) the ethereal beauty who has been his guardian angel all his life - cursed with never ageing. Some curse.

An army of serious acting talent joins battle as the pursuit of Hades brings forth giant scorpions and the powerful shape shifting Hades himself, as well as an assortment of devils. Two of the biggest clashes of Titan scale are with Medusa (Natalia Vodianova) she of the giant snake's body and snakes-for-hair head, who also played a key role in the recent 'light' version of this myth, Percy Jackson. (Medusa, not Natalia. Medusa was played by Uma Thurman in that one.)

The climactic battle is, of course, with the biggest baddie of them all, the humungous sea-dwelling creature, Kraken, summoned by Zeus himself, and ordered to destroy Argos, along with the sacrificial virgin, Cassiopia (Polly Walker).

Clash of the Titans is meant for teen and pre-teen audiences, and the likes of Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes (and the other veterans) end up looking foolish or farcical, thanks to the direction. Although the 3D seems muted, and much of the first half is underlit, the action and effects will please the target audience. The battle scenes, both large scale and small, are jumbled and difficult to follow, like the details of the story. Pity, because it is essentially a good, rich story if only it wasn't treated like a comic book adaptation.

Review by Louise Keller:
With its pounding score, operatic violence, massive stunts and large scale story from Greek mythology, Clash of the Titans is big, brash and loud as Sam Worthington's heroic demi-god Perseus, the son of Zeus, shows determination and courage to lead a perilous mission against the evil Hades. It's almost as though Sam Worthington has leapt from the back of Avatar's flying dragon to Pegasus the winged black stallion, in this reworking of an ancient tale about salvation and revenge. Worthington reinforces his onscreen presence as a macho hero, even endorsing his Australian nationality with his overt Aussie accent, which is something Russell Crowe aspired to do after Gladiator. Teenage boys will love it, but the rest of us will be frustrated by the storytelling, the shaky camerawork and the dubiously effective 3D presentation, which distracts more than it offers.

For me, the film's highlight is the thrilling scene in which Perseus and his team confront Medusa, the beautiful gorgon with a head of writhing asps, whose deadly gaze turns men to stone. Mads Mikkelsen is one of the men on Perseus' team whose presence is another highlight; his Draco promises to smile only when he spits in the eyes of the gods - and he gets his chance. Natalia Vodianova is striking as Medusa, although after having seen Uma Thurman claim the role in the recent Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief, which tells a similar story, I couldn't help but wish the stunning Miss Thurman was part of this production. Admittedly it's hard to fault the cast, with stalwarts like Liam Neeson as the booming Zeus, God of Love and Ralph Fiennes, whose rendition of Hades is somewhat reminiscent of Charles Dickens' Fagin.

In the mould of Gladiator, but without the soul, Clash of the Titans is heavy-weight action with no subtlety or soft notes. By the time the climactic scene in which Perseus must kill the dreaded mega-monster The Kraken, we have already been beaten into submission. Sadly, the screenplay by Travis Beacham, Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi does nothing to whet our appetites for Greek Mythology. Percy Jackson succeeded much better.



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 2
Mixed: 0

CLASH OF THE TITANS (M)
(UK/US, 2010)

CAST: Sam Worthington, Ralph Fiennes, Liam Neeson, Gemma Arterton, Nicholas Hoult, Alexa Davalos, Danny Huston, Izabella Miko, Jason Flemyng, Polly Walker, Kaya Scodelario, Mads Mikkelsen, Pete Postlethwaite, Tamer Hassan, Luke Evans, Natalia Vodianova

PRODUCER: Kevin De La Noy

DIRECTOR: Louis Leterrier

SCRIPT: Travis Beacham, Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Peter Menzies Jr

EDITOR: David Freeman, Vincent Taballion

MUSIC: Ramin Djawadi

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Martin Laing

RUNNING TIME: 106 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 1, 2010

UPCOMING EVENT
RIVERSIDE SCREEN PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release on 6 consecutive Tuesdays, starts February 17, 2015 at Riverside Theatre, Parramatta, Sydney.

Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.







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