It’s with good reason that I refuse to watch the 1981 version of Clash of the Titans as an adult. I have such fond memories of that old movie. Whenever it came on as a kid, I was planted. I blame it for getting me vested in Greek mythology, especially when I started realizing that our modern day comic book heroes had heavily borrowed from the ancient gods and demigods. But make no mistake: I know that should I happen to watch the original as an adult, I would probably be sorely disappointed. A six year old is far more forgiving than a thirty-three year old. Oddly enough, I’m pretty sure I never caught the 1981 version from start to finish.
So when I heard they were remaking the classic cult movie, I originally scoffed at the notion and refused to watch it, especially because someone I’d never heard of had been cast as Perseus. But then I started seeing the commercials, and my love of Greek mythology trampled my righteous snobbery. I couldn’t wait to see Pegasus in all his glory, the Kraken as a true monstrosity, and Medusa’s evil glare as only modern day special effects could render.
And I got all of those things (though Medusa had a bit too cute of a face). However, along the way, I realized something: I didn’t care about these characters. Sure, the 2010 version had all of the action and technological wizardry you could hope for, but it had none of the original’s heart; it had no magic.
I blame this lack of spirit on the movie’s star, Sam Worthington. Now, I don’t really know much about Worthington, but I know I liked him in Terminator: Salvation. Of course, he was playing a robot in that flick, so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised at his turn as Perseus. Perseus is among the greatest of the demigods, up there with Theseus and Heracles; he is a future king and a hero of the people. Worthington played him as a brooding, scowling, angry warrior devoid of any charisma, charm, or heroism. Worthington made Perseus boring, which is nearly inconceivable. If nothing else, at least Harry Hamlin made Perseus likable.
I was also saddened by the fact that other than Hades and Zeus, none of the other Greek gods were given their due. Yes, they stood in an amazing Mt. Olympus, surrounding Zeus, but only a few were allowed a word or two and most weren’t even addressed at all. This really upset me because what’s the fun of going to see a 2010 update of a story featuring Greek gods and demigods if the gods are barely even shown!
Furthermore, I strongly recommend you don’t waste your money on the 3D version of the film. As I was watching it, I thought to myself, “Wow, they really didn’t capitalize much on the 3D technology with this.” I came to find out later that they decided to make it 3D after the film was shot.
In addition, there are some pretty major detours from the original Clash of the Titans. Most of them weren’t terribly distracting, and some were even for the better, but I had a difficult time with the major role given to Hades and the utter exclusion of Thetis. It really changed the overall mood and tone of the film. The elimination of any real “romance” also made the characters less identifiable and the story less tense.
The 2010 version of Clash of the Titans has some grand spectacles, but it lacks the heart and fun of the original version and plays like just another “warrior” flick. And without a heroic Perseus, I don’t think any six year olds out there are in danger of being inspired.