Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Clash of the Titans

Well, I’ve come to the official conclusion that I need to stop doing long summary posts where I talk about a lot of things in very little detail. That’s, like, the exact opposite of what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m supposed to be talking way too much about a single topic that I’ve been obsessing over. And, I have not been obsessing over Chuck. Or House. Or V. Or Stargate Universe. I have been obsessing over Human Target a little bit, but it’s hard not to when you have back to back guest stars in Grace Park and Moon Bloodgood.

In any case, I have been obsessing over Justified.

But, because I spent all that time writing about those shows I didn’t even care about, I didn’t write about nearly enough of the random things I wanted to write about Justified.

Like how the opening theme is extremely reminiscent of True Blood. I don’t know why that should be the case, but it is. I guess they both are set in the South, so there is that. Also, True Blood’s imagery during the theme is meant to be at least a little disturbing while Justified’s just wants something running while the credits roll. I’m not sure if it has a goal at all, in fact. On a related note the country song playing for True Blood is downright awesome while Justified’s song is totally forgettable. And more rap influenced, I think.

Also, I didn’t get to talk about how one of the fellow US Marshals is played by a young women who was in an episode of Firefly. I’m glad that she’s gotten another role. I think it’s funny that she speaks exactly the same way and it fits just as well here. Also, she looked pretty good in his hat. Clearly, the whole team should wear cowboy hats. That would be awesome.

Okay, I think I’m done obsessing over Justified for at least a little while and I’m ready to talk about Clash of the Titans (the topic of this post, in case you forgot; it’s okay, clearly I did). Of course, to be honest, I don’t really have that much to say about it. I just wanted an excuse to put up another post and keep talking about Justified. But, whatever. I saw it. So, I’ll write about it. Probably too much. So, it’ll all work out.

Interestingly, I did not see the original movie. Apparently, I’m a failure and was unable to find it playing on TV and record it, otherwise I would totally have watched it. I wonder why they weren’t playing it all the time during the preceding weeks. I have’t seen that version, so all I can do is guess, but I’m thinking that it’s because the original hasn’t aged very well.

I mean, a lot of those 80s fantasy-esque journey movies haven’t aged very well. I submit Krull as an example. Also Labrynth. Not The Dark Crystal, though, if only because I actually saw it when I was young and therefore the nostalgia helps it out. I think Conan the Barbarian fits as well. I’m thinking Willow was sufficiently tongue-in-cheek so it’s probably aged alright. But, that’s not relevant.

So, yeah, I can’t compare it to its past filmed rendition, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it compared somewhat favorably (how’s that for insulting a movie I haven’t even seen but was sufficiently popular that the studios decided to remake?). For that matter, I never really read any of the Greek mythology stuff, so I can’t even compare it to the past rendition as recorded by somebody whose name I should know from the oral tradition.

As such, I can only judge it by the standards of the action adventure movies of this day and age. Oh, also, I didn’t see it in 3D. So, I won’t be comparing it to the excellence of How to Train Your Dragon either. And it should be thankful for that, because How to Train Your Dragon wins hands down. I mean, even the love interest is cuter and she’s not even real (but she’s wearing a skirt covered in actual skulls, which beats boring old Greek attire every day of the week).

So, did I like it? Eh. It was okay. It was better than the first 5-10 minutes suggested it was going to be, that’s for sure. Once the journey actually started, I think it found its feet pretty well and there was certainly fun to be had by all.

Liam Neeson was pretty cool as Zeus but Hades never really did it for me. I liked that he was pale, but it wasn’t really working with the long hair and beard as well. It just made him look Norse rather than Greek (I swear, I’m not trying to bring How to Train Your Dragon into this review, it just happens all on its own). To be clear, I’m not saying that Hades has to have hair made of blue fire and be voiced by James Woods, but well, I guess, I, um, yeah. I liked Disney’s version of Hades better, okay.

Even worse than a Norse Hades was the most boring Underworld ever imagined. I’m sorry, but I’ve been playing Dante’s Inferno (but was eventually distracted by other games, primarily FFXIII, which is a topic for some other post), and so my standards for visualizations of Hell are kind of high. I know, it’s not Hell, but come on, there should at least be souls somewhere in the Underworld, shouldn’t there? I mean, Hades enters some former king’s private chamber in the Underworld at one point, which is primarily decorated with dead trees, fog and candles. Private chamber! Seriously, that’s what you’re going with? There’s nobody constantly drowning in the River Styx? There’s nobody else around at all, anywhere? It was just a really boring Underworld. I can see why nobody wants to go there, but, it’s hardly menacing.

Also, I don’t know if it’s just me but I wasn’t really into the girls either. Apparently Gemma Arterton (fun fact: I’ve been thinking her name was Gemma Atherton for pretty much forever and I recently realized it’s because there’s a random douche in one episode of Firefly named Atherton) is going to be super popular for being incredibly hot after Prince of Persia comes out (have you seen her in the trailers for that?) but somehow she is not really hot in this. I don’t know why. On the other hand, Alexa Davalos as Io is rather pretty. I don’t have any complaints about her.

Let’s see, then there’s the ragtag team of surviving legion dudes to help Perseus out. Nobody really memorable besides the two hunters who join in out of the goodness of their hearts. They were pretty cool. And I was glad when they recognized that going into the Underworld would be hazardous to their health, except I was sad because they were actually kind of cool and then they weren’t around anymore. Everybody else is pretty cookie-cutter as far as I’m concerned. I guess I was happy to see the battle hardened old dude final die, although I’m not entirely sure exactly which God’s eyes he believed he was spitting in.

On the topic of the cool hunters, I enjoyed watching them confidently kill their scorpion like professionals while Perseus was struggling with his. From a choreography perspective, though, it was a terrible idea. You’ve got two separate groups fighting identical monsters. Who comes up with that? It makes it really hard to follow the action because you’re never sure which scorpion you’re looking at because they look the same. Why not just let the two scorpions be different colors or something? It would have made that extended fight scene much easier to follow.

Man, now that I’m writing about it, I’m realizing that all I have are complaints. I think it gets a fair number of passes on most of those things, though, because the fights were actually pretty well shot and the action was well done. And that’s what I had actually come to see (okay, I had also come to get a preview of the hotness of Gemma Arterton and so was sent home disappointed on that count).

Actually, one more complaint. What is Perseus’s problem with being part God? What’s so terrible about that and, possibly more importantly, how does he think he’s thrown it away? I mean, one of our ending scenes is him bragging about how he’ll continue his (immortal) life living as a man and then we see him riding on the beach on his HORSE WITH WINGS! I feel like someone needs to take him aside and let him know that mortals don’t get to ride those things. Also, they don’t end up with the girl who never ages. Even if she’s not as hot as she will be in her next movie.

But seriously, how can he not take a perspective more along the lines of how he can be better than a God because he’s part human? That would be way better. If he were proving the superiority of demigods rather than trying to prove the superiority of mortals all while not actually being mortal. It’s like he believes there something inherently wrong with the Gods, his creators, just because they’re not very good at looking out for their creations. As if that type of irresponsibility is solely in the realm of the Gods.

Yeah, I don’t know but every time he talked about not wanting to use his immortal side annoyed me. Particularly when it was clear that he was pulling from it all the time without even knowing it.

But, well, I’m moving on. It was fun. The whole “Release the Kraken” line was not as cool as I had been lead to believe it would be. Mt. Olympus was rather cool though. I liked that the floor was a scale model of the land. And that there were clouds at their feet. I liked how it created this sense that the Gods simply believed they were better than the mortals and that was that. Also, the glass tower thing that housed little statues of people was cool too. Particularly when it broke.

And that is all.


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