Action-packed blockbusters are a staple of modern American cinema. When audiences go to see these movies, they expect to become lost in the dazzle and spectacle of a fantastical world for about two hours of solace from reality. That’s exactly what my friends and I were expecting when we hiked down to the movie theater at midnight on a Friday night to see Clash of the Titans this spring. The movie was packed with plenty of action and the ambiance of the film was very entrancing, but the film’s plot was so disjointed that it was nearly impossible to understand and get lost in the movie.
Clash of the Titans follows the story of a young man in ancient Greece named Perseus. After his adoptive family is killed in a freak statue-related accident, Perseus is captured by troops from Argos and brought to their capital. The King and Queen have decided to stick it to the Gods simply because they feel like it, and the Gods decide to put Argos in its place. Hades comes to the capital and tells the King that he will send the Kraken to attack the city unless they sacrifice their daughter to the beast. Perseus is there at the time and manages to not be injured by Hades (along with the majority of the court), so the king logically concludes that Perseus must be a demigod. Perseus accepts this unquestioningly and decides to see the Fates to learn how to defeat the Kraken for the King. Along with a ragtag band of some random guys, he travels through the desert and encounters a nasty, deformed guy, who happens to be Perseus’ mother’s husband, whose blood can turn into giant man-eating scorpions. Perseus and his friends are almost defeated by the scorpions, but a band of desert-dwelling charcoal people emerge out of nowhere and defeat some of the scorpions. (It turns out that the charcoal people were able to successfully domesticate the other scorpions during the ten minutes the scorpions have existed.) The leader of the charcoal people joins Perseus, and the group reaches the Fates, who tell Perseus that Medusa’s head is the only thing that will slay the Kraken. The team crosses the River Styx and reaches Medusa’s lair. Most of Perseus’ men turn to stone at Medusa’s gaze… except for the charcoal guy. He was immune to Medusa’s powers. I know what you’re thinking: “Great! He can kill Medusa!” Or he can just explode for no reason whatsoever. Perseus, the lone survivor of his group, kills Medusa, only to leave Medusa’s lair and see Hades kill Perseus’ new girlfriend (who is immortal…so I still don’t know how she was able to be murdered.)
Perseus flies back to the capital on his Pegasus and, just as the princess and the city are about to be devoured by the Kraken, Perseus shows Medusa’s head to the Kraken and flings his magical glowing sword at the beast, slaying it. (That’s right, the Kraken was only in the movie for five minutes.) Hades, who had turned on the rest of the Gods, was defeated. After defeating his enemies, Perseus rides on his winged horse across a beach as the sun sets behind him. He meets up with his true father, Zeus, who congratulates him. Zeus offers to let Perseus become a God on Mount Olympus, but Perseus tells him that he wants to live a normal, mortal life with his glowing sword and mythical winged horse. Always a good sport, Zeus decides to give Perseus some company during his mortal life, so he brings Perseus’ special female friend back to life. Let’s back up a second. A long time ago, the girl resisted a God’s advances, so he cursed her… with immortality. She had been alive for hundreds of years and had to watch loved ones die. She expressed numerous times in the film how much this bothered her. Nothing ever actually happened between Perseus and the girl throughout the week they knew each other, even though they did almost kiss before she told him to “ease your storm.” Hades killed her – she had finally gotten her wish and died! And less than a day later, Zeus brought her back to life. I guess she just couldn’t catch a break.
Apart from the completely nonsensical plot, the film’s dialogue was so awful that it was hysterical. When I was watching the film, the whole audience was cracking up throughout the entire movie, which was supposed to be serious. The film was so ridiculous that we couldn’t help but laugh. Improved editing would have made a difference to the film’s logic; the action sequences were too rapid and disjointed, and it’s likely that there are scenes on the cutting-room floor that would have explained many confusing aspects of the plot. To give the film credit, the special effects were excellent and the authentic sets and costumes created a believable, captivating mise-en-scene. That’s all it has going for it.
In short, don’t go to this film if you’re looking for a legitimately good movie. You should see Clash of the Titans if you want to find some unexpected laughs and if you want to hear Liam Neeson yell “Release the Kraken!” at the top of his lungs. I happened to learn a new one-liner that I intend on using if an over-eager guy ever gets a little too close for comfort: “Ease your storm, buddy.”