Clash of the Titans (2010)

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +1

Content: +2

Sam Worthington, Gemma Arterton, Alexa Davalos, Liam Neeson, Mads Mikkelsen, Ralph Fiennes. Written by Matt Manfredi, Phil Hay, Travis Beacham. Directed by Louis Leterrier.

FILM SYNOPSIS: This guy Hades is a bad cat. Heís trying to seize Zeusí power and unleash hell on earth. Perseus was born of a god (Zeus is the papa), but lives as a man Ė heís a man-god. He volunteers to go up against Hades and even make the final sacrifice. Any of this sound familiar?

PREVIEW REVIEW: The 1981 original, though supported by the likes of Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith and Burgess Meredith to guide newbies Harry Hamlin and Judi Bowker through the sword and sandal genre, was dumbed-down Greek mythology, with the emphasis on visual effects. It was all a bit silly, but this new version is just boisterous and bland. Itís just not fun. The leadís parents and little sister are killed right off, which always happens in Greek tragedies, but it merely allows Sam Worthington to put on an angry glare and keep it there throughout the film.

The emphasis is on action. No problem there, but most of the battle sequences are badly choreographed. Iíve heard people complain that the 3-D process, which often muddies the narrative or takes the place of a narrative altogether, sometimes gives them a headache. This time, aided by the unsteady cam that bounces up and down in an attempt to liven up several scenes, the three-dimensional process began to ache my head. Whatís more, unlike last yearís Disney documentary Earth, here the 3-D gimmick does nothing to heighten the look or cause us to gasp in awe. Itís the in-vogue effect, but it became that by being excitingly used in previous films. Here it pops in and out to do little more than separate the leads from the extras.

Actually, it looks like a lot of work went into this production, so believe it or not, I hate finding problems with the film. My blah reaction to the enterprise, however, seemed confirmed by not just several fellow colleagues, but from some of the screening audience as well.

As to the Greek mythology, well, the film seemed more a veiled swipe at God than at the flawed residents of Olympus. As with most films from this post-religious Hollywood era, the theme seems to suggest Godís ineptness and lack of care for us. I donít want to hit on this point too hard because that may not have been the filmmakerís intent. Indeed, whatever the message is, it is overshadowed by snaked-headed demons and other assorted grumpy monsters and even grumpier sword-wielding mortals.

Itís not an awful film, just not an engaging one. It receives its rating for the violence, but there is little else to offend, other than that whole headache-inducing 3-D thing.

DVD Alternative: Jason and the Argonauts. The 1963 version (the best) has Jason and his brave crew on a quest of discovery. This superb good vs. evil adventure/parable is complete with ominous monsters, an eerie score, and superb special effects (for its day). Concerning the Greek mythology of gods and goddesses; there are a great many fantastical movies, TV shows and other outlets for sci-fi exploration that could eventually raise the question, ďIf all this is make-believe, is our God also fantasy?Ē For myself, I have always looked upon the ďdeitiesĒ from Mt. Olympus as allegorical, meant to be used in good vs. evil parables. They never swayed me from my faith in God or Jesus. As a child, I went to Sunday school and my parents made Bible study and prayer a part of our daily lives. Even as a kid I could watch Hercules or Jason and the Argonauts and see the ethereal beings for what they were, protagonists or antagonists in entertaining action adventures.

Or, in a completely different vein: The Passion of the Christ. Want to see a God-man make a sacrifice, one which really happened? This is the film. It is certainly a directorís film, and Mel Gibson manages the behind the camera job impeccably. He orchestrates the proceedings with a deliberate pace in order to add tension. Aided by Caleb Deschannelís superb Baroque-like cinematography, a potent score by John Debney, and Jim Caviezelís sincere and muted performance, Gibson brings a mood and sensitivity never before captured when telling the story of Christ. Justly rated R for its graphic depiction of scourging, piercing, beating, and crucifixion, The Passion is meant to shock, unnerve, and clarify the ordeal of Christís sacrifice. It is not a movie one sees, and then goes out for pizza. Itís not for children or the squeamish. But Mr. Gibsonís film, while showing the physical horrors Christ endured, is not really about what mankind did to Him, but about what He did for us.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Warner Bros

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: One obscenity used to describe a mean-spirited woman and one minor expletive.

Profanity: None

Violence: A lot of sword swinging and monster chasing action, though little blood. Blood: Some blood. Some of the demonic-looking creatures spooked little ones at the screening Ė evidently moms and dads couldnít get a sitter and figured the sight of the snaked-headed Medusa and other demonic creatures wouldnít disturb little Timmy. ďBut we didnít know there would be demonic creatures.Ē Yeah, thereís an excuse.

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: None

Other: None

Running Time: 100 minutes
Intended Audience: Pre-teens and Up

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