Saturday, April 3, 2010

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Clash of the...Oh, Who Cares?


It's funny. I was excited for this remake of the 1980s Harry Hamlin-starrer, in which demi-god Perseus saves a beautiful princess from the vengeance of the Olympian Gods. The original has some cool moments, but it's a very slow-moving film with bland leads, though Maggie Smith is always a treat to watch. The new one offers Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes as Gods, Avatar star Sam Worthington in the lead, a mix of practical and CG effects, and Louis Letterrier in the director's chair. This was set up for me to love.

And I hated it. I hated it all so much. Other than Fiennes and Mads Mikkelsen having the time of their life, there is little to recommend about this movie. Perseus compromises his principles, and we're meant to root for this. We're also meant to feel for Zeus, one of the most corrupt and amoral characters I've seen this year -- and I saw The Ghost Writer. Hades is once again played as a villain, a portrayal that I don't remember in Greek mythology, but the American fear of mortality has seen fit to cast him as such. There is a romantic subplot that is only "romantic" (and a little rapey!) in one scene, with neither character developed.

Actually, none of the characters are developed. I have no idea who these people are, what they're doing, or why they're doing it. Oh, sure, there's the rigmarole about how the city of Argos is going to be destroyed by the Kraken because the people have offended the Gods. And it's either Kraken kills all, or Argos sacrifices their princess Andromeda. And Perseus goes to save her...but the Kraken really does a lot of damage to the city anyway. It seems hilariously futile when you watch it.

Worst of all, I couldn't even appreciate the special effects. We went back to the AMC where we saw the awful projection of The Wolfman -- it's the biggest screen in town, but I personally prefer the Regal Governors Square. They may not have huge screens or ear-blowing sound, but you can hear it perfectly and actually see the movie. Unlike the AMC, which had completely out of focus shots throughout the majority of the film. And when we complained about the film being out of focus, the manager tols us there was nothing they could do, that's just how the film looks. Sure, lady, Leterrier purposely made an effects-heavy blockbuster so blurry that the scorpions looked like blobs on the screen. Riiiight.

No more peer pressure, then. No AMC anymore. I should've stuck to my guns on this one. And sure, perhaps that added to my dislike of the film, but the script and acting didn't help. Worthington's performance here was devastatingly dull, while Gemma Arterton just stands around smirking at everyone, her only lines being odd platitudes about being a human vs. being a god. Fight scenes occur out of nowhere, like when the blind witches attack Nicholas Hoult (is he too pretty for them?). And the scorpion fight lasts forever. Indeed, when suddenly there are three ULTRA HUGE scorpions at the end of this sequence, it felt like a cut scene for a video game.

How bad was this movie? The screening I went to was a 10:45 show Thursday night. At the very end, I looked behind me. You've never seen an angrier-looking audience. College kids, families, couples: they were pissed. Have you ever heard an entire audience boo during the end credits? I can now say that I have.


TomS said...

Against my better judgment, I ALMOST went to see this. As a kid I LOVED seeing movies on TV like "The Black Scorpion" and "Tarantula," melodramatic oversized-insect films from the 1950's in black and white.

After the initial pans this weekend, I regained my sanity, and instead, went to see "How to Tame Your Dragon"...and really liked it.

Nice review Walter, but really, you shouldn't hold back like you do...!!

Unknown said...

I seriously had a checklist of everything I knew was going to be wrong with this movie and you hit every single point. Including "If AMC, additionally awful".

It's such a burden being right all the time.

Alex Constantin said...

I'm guilty of liking the trailer... :) but who knows.

Walter L. Hollmann said...

Alex, keep to the trailer.

TomS - I need to see How to Train Your Dragon. I've heard nothing but good things.

Amanda - But you carry that burden so well!