Sunday, December 27, 2009

Clash of the Titans

Sometimes, things slip by me. Like the entire career of Sam Worthington. Where'd this guy come from? It's like Hollywood, bemoaning the lack of charisma in its current generation of actors, decided to cast the SAME uncharismatic actor in every damn movie.

You might have noticed him in Avatar. Or last summer's Terminator 4, where he was the one who looked distractingly like Christian Bale in a lot of the teaser pictures. Or you might not really have noticed him at all, since he tends to blend in to the surroundings, and not in a method-actor way but more of a most-beefcake-chameleon-ever way.

So then I find, this morning, a trailer for the new film 'Clash of the Titans.' Below.

I like that bit. "Titans will Clash." It's Clash of the Titans, so I should bloody well hope so.

If you've been living even deeper under a rock than I have (seriously, Sam Worthington and Lady Gaga are the two things from 2009 that ambushed me like the Cheney-era CIA) let me start off with a bit of history. This film is based, not just on the success of 300--though this time it looks like they decided to make something other than a Fascist Instructional Cartoon--but also the 1981 film Clash of the Titans. It had Burgess "The Penguin" Meredith, Lawrence Olivier as Zeus, and a young Harry Hamlin as Perseus, before he would go on to star in a bunch of things you or I have never heard of.

That's a fan-made trailer, updated for today's attention spans. The original Clash was the last really big showcase for the model work of Ray Harryhausen, who designed, among other things, the menacing skeletons in Jason and the Argonauts and that big, Godzilla-like Venus creature in 20 Million Miles to Earth. He's a legend. A legend of stop-motion monsters. I'll bet he makes some token cameo in this flick, which has replaced all his charming, I-know-they're-dated, stop-telling-me-they're-dated, stop-motion effects with a bunch of CGI monsters and creatures who look like they missed the audition to a Guillermo del Toro film. Of the former I'm ambivalent. It's amusing to me that we've advanced this far in creating creature effects that are for the most part no more realistic than they were in 1981, just cheaper and made on a Mac instead of with silly putty. Of the latter I'm pleased. Guillermo del Toro doesn't make a whole lot of movies and it's nice to see the monster freakshow jet-set getting in on other Disposable Friends of the Hero-Killing action.

The original Clash was very much in the mold of Star Wars, going back directly to the source material for its hero's Joseph Campbell-ing about the place. It's been years since I've seen the thing, but I don't think Perseus was aware that Zeus was his Dad. It was much more an adventure movie, the young lad sailing off to fight monsters and win the heart of the girl.

In this one, at least in trailer 2, ol Worthius seems conflicted about his demigod nature and Zeus is much more of a prick. Oh, Liam Neeson. You'll do anything, won't you? You're like Morgan Freeman, an actor of immense gravitas who will do films like The Bucket List. I haven't included Trailer 2 here because Trailer 1 was so dorky. "Titans will Clash" indeed.

"I'm dark and conflicted!" Worthius shouts at the screen, and I suppose I believe him. But I'm not going to mistake growling or shouting at the screen for drama, rather I'm going to miss the feeling, encapsulated by this movie of my childhood, of going off to adventure just for the sheer hell of it.

1 comment:

  1. The one shot where I was able to spot Worthington in that trailer (before they cut away), he literally blended into the background.