Pros: A comic book action movie with awesome CGI. Great cast who sell the production.
Cons: It is more like a comic than Bullfich's Mythology.
Clash of the Titans (2010) Directed by Louis Leterrier
Perseus: If I do this, I do it as a man.
Draco: But you are not JUST a man!
Perseus (Sam Worthington) came into this world with the deck stacked against him. He and his mother were cast into the sea in a chest by her husband, King Acrisius (Jason Flemyng) who resented being cuckolded by Zeus. And though Danae did not survive, Perseus, like Moses from the bull rushes, was saved by a humble fisherman, Spyros (Pete Postlethwaite). Spyros did not raise Perseus to be a god, but instead to be a good man.
Fast forward to adulthood. Perseus and his family are fishing, and minding their business when they witness the Argosians desecrating the statue of Zeus. Punishment is swift, as harpies burst from the sea and decimate them, and then coalesce into Hades, Lord of the Underworld (Ralph Fiennes). Hades makes his grand exit straight through the innocent fishing vessel sending Perseus' family to Poseidon's watery embrace. Rescued by the Argosian survivors, they take him back to Argos. There, we find the source of the problems; King Kephus (Vincent Regan) and his Queen Cassiopea (Polly Walker) have declared war on Olympus, outlawing the worship of the gods, attempting to starve them. But Hades persuades Zeus (Liam Neeson) to allow him to punish Argos. And he does; and he demands of the city the sacrifice of the Princess Andromeda (Alexa Davalos) or the city will be destroyed by the most fearsome monster known...the Kraken!
But all Perseus can see is his families killer, and if defeating the Kraken is the way to get a shot at Hades, he is in. He has help, an honor guard of resentful soldiers, lead by Draco (Mads Mikkelsen), and the guidance of Io (Gemma Arterton) who looks really, really good for her age.
Their adventures run them afoul of Calabos, Hades' hit man, Giant Scorpions, and the terror of the Stygian Witches. From those gray oracles, they learn of the weapon that can defeat the Kraken...the gaze of Medusa. So in order to kill one unkillable monster, they must kill another. Such is the nature of quests.
This is a special effects driven movie. So was the original. They both play fast and loose with mythology, (the Kraken is Norwegian) but the accuracy is not nearly as important as the adventure, and they deliver that in spades.
The original was accused of being weak on plot, and counting on the special effects of Ray Harryhausen to carry it through in the greatest, and final stop motion epic. Now, this one has CGI to replace all the little dolls.
And the effect is AWESOME. The majesty of the pegusi, the lithe lethality of Medusa; before she was a slow ponderous cripple with a bow. Now she moves with the speed of a striking cobra. This is the best Medusa ever, from the monster point of view (though nothing will ever replace Umadusa from Percy Jackson in my heart). The original was campy, with Bubo, the clockwork owl. This time, they took a more serious approach. ("Leave it.") There is genuine pain, with the death of all Perseus loved, the grisly punishment of the defilers of Zeus' statue, and the wanton destruction of the city of Argos. It is much darker and more realistic, more blood and axle grease, compared to the original's moonlight and magic approach.
The story, like the original, was a little thin on character development; no more than you would get in a better grade of comic book. The action and the effects are the thing here, just like in the original.
But one thing that the original had was a sort of earnest gung ho quality that really sold the story with a will. And I am happy to report, that spark of magic made it into the remake. Yes, it is about the special effects. (Hey, it's 3D!) No, it isn't as mind-blowing as Avatar. But it is awesome, and the combination of action, effects, and a stellar cast selling this dog and pony show for everything they are worth makes it all work, from Polly Walker's lethal Hubris (why is she always such a b*tch in a toga?) to Sam's earnest determination, to Gemma's patient ‘I have seen this all before. Several times.' The actors sell the story. And kudos to Ralph Fiennes, who finally got Hades right, that evasive mixture of malice and melancholy.
I think we may see a whole new slew of mythic inspired movies; they have finally proven that they can be done right. Clash of the Titans. Where man and myth meet.