Sunday, July 10, 2011

Rehash the Kraken!

Hard to believe that Ms. Spenser and I saw the original Ray Harryhausen 1981 Clash of the Titans together in the theater. But it's not like seeing the new 2010 Clash of the Titans was a big nostalgia trip or anything. This is a whole new movie. Except for a quick cameo from the mechanical owl. And the Kraken.

The overall plot is approximately the same - Perseus, Andromeda, Medusa, Pegasus, etc, etc. This time around, it is overlaid with a strange Men against the Gods theme. This doesn't quite make sense - The gods are fighting each other, some men are fighting the gods, the men who love the gods are kind of Hindu suicide bombers, Perseus hates his father Zeus for being an absent parent and also hates Zeus' enemy Poseidon for killing his step-family, but Perseus also gets all of his powers from the gods, and he doesn't hate that. I think the political stuff was just put in for modern sensibilities, so of course it is incoherent.

The old Perseus was pretty boy Harry Hamlin, all curly hair and jutting jaw. The new version, played by Sam Worthington, goes the other way, with big muscles and a crewcut. In fact, he's the only guy in the movie with short hair, which makes him look kind of weird. I guess he was afraid of looking like a sissy.

But of course what you are really interesting in are the monsters. How do today's CGI beasts compare to Harryhausen's stop motion creatures? Well, they are bigger and more polished, but I can't say they are really better. The giant scorpions are fun, but edited to make it hard to really see them. The Kraken looks swiped from H.R. Geiger, and was really short on personality. I liked the sea monster from Voyage of the Dawn Treader better.

But, muddled editing, clumsy plot, silly haircuts and all, this was a fun action movie. It may have been less original than the original, but it served the same purpose - mindless entertainment - and served it well.

In conclusion, "Release the Kraken!"

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