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Clash of the Titans (2010) (Blu-ray Review)

6 Aug, 2010 By: John Latchem

Box Office $163.2 million
$28.98 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘PG-13’ for fantasy action violence, some frightening images and brief sensuality.
Stars Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton, Alexa Davalos.

Strictly speaking, there aren’t any actual Titans in this movie. In Greek mythology, the Titans are the race of deities that ruled before the Olympian gods led by Zeus overthrew them, and their role in the film is limited to a mention of their plight in an effective opening narration sequence that details how brother gods Zeus, Poseidon and Hades overthrew them to take control of the heavens. Zeus then created mankind to use their worship to grant immortality to the gods, while Hades was tricked into ruling the underworld.

The backstory is so elaborate, in fact, that maybe instead of an affectionate reimagining of the 1981 movie the focus of this film should have been this earlier war between Titan ruler Cronus and his sons. As it is that story seems hanging out there as a definite prequel opportunity.

Director Louis Leterrier’s remake uses the earlier film as a road map for the key action sequences, but focuses the story more explicitly on a conflict between man and god (the original film dealt more with bickering among the gods under Zeus).

Angered by humanity’s growing independence from divine worship, Zeus (Liam Neeson) agrees to Hades’ (Ralph Fiennes) suggestion to allow the monstrous Kraken to destroy the city of Argos, which will be spared if the people sacrifice the princess Andromeda (Alexa Davalos). Zeus believes this will force mankind to again worship the gods, but Hades hopes to increase his own power and seize control of Olympus.

Caught in the middle is the half-human Perseus (Sam Worthington), a son of Zeus living as a mortal who vows revenge against Hades for killing his adopted family. To defeat Hades he must kill the Kraken, and to do that he must capture the head of Medusa, whose gaze turns living creatures into stone.

In its conflict between Hades and Zeus, the film takes on a bit of the flavor of Disney’s 1997 animated Hercules movie, but the film’s best moment is a hilarious cameo by Bubo, the cheesy gold mechanical owl from the original film. Ultimately the remake turns out to be an entertaining romp.

The deleted scenes offer more glimpses of the other gods and introduce an interesting subplot involving Apollo helping his brother Perseus, fearing their father Zeus is blind to Hades’ deception. Had this been fleshed out it would have added a significant dimension to the film and brought more weight to the movie’s primary themes dealing with the power structure among the divine and their relationship to the mortal world (setting the Apollo-Perseus relationship in parallel to Zeus-Hades). Instead, to bounce between action sequences as quickly as possible, the final cut focuses on the father-son relationship between Perseus and Zeus, whose motivations are murky at best.

There’s also an alternate ending that touches on the Perseus-Andromeda relationship that formed the foundation of the original film. Since the remake establishes a deeper connection between Perseus and Io, the theatrical ending makes more sense.

The Blu-ray also contains a featurette about Sam Worthington’s status as an action star, and a “Maximum Movie Mode” that is essentially just a series of picture-in-picture featurettes, since it isn’t hosted by anybody.

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