Clash of the Titans is the story of the myth of Perseus, the estranged demigod who settles a struggle between men and the Gods. The film begins with a fisherman, Spyros (Pete Postelthwaite) finding a large chest housing a dead woman and her surviving son. He raises the boy, named Perseus (Sam Worthington), into a strong and talented fisherman like himself. He declares that even though he doesn't know his real parents he has all that he needs right here on the boat. After an unusually unsuccessful day which leaves his fishing net empty, his father (Spyros) curses the Gods and declares that someday "someone is going to have to make a stand". This day comes when the innocent boat sails into a bay and the group witness the destruction of an enormous statue of Zeus by soldiers from Argos, which summons Hades to exert revenge. He destroys the boat and Perseus' family is killed, with Perseus rescued and taken to the grand palace at Argos. It is revealed that war has been pronounced on the Gods and Hades will unleash the Kraken upon Argos unless the King's daughter Andromeda (Alexa Davalos) is offered as a sacrifice. Perseus is held captive, declaring revenge on Hades and the Gods for killing his family.
He is visited by Io (Gemma Arterton), his guardian, who informs him that he is the son of Zeus and that he must use his demigod powers to defeat the Kraken as requested by the King. Proving successful will leave Hades vulnerable and victory for man possible. The plot then jumps from event to event, proceeding with minimal character development, and absolutely no emotional substance. Just in case we were interested there is a flashback moment, narrated by Io, identifying the origins of Perseus, and Zeus's rape of Acresius' wife to impregnate her with a son. A barely surviving Acresius is visited by Hades and asked to hunt down and kill Perseus, as he possesses the only threat to the Gods' successful punishment of man. Perseus' morality is that he chooses to reject the godly powers he is capable of unleashing, willing to complete the quest as a mortal. After his parents are killed by the power of the Gods, and since his hatred extends even to Zeus, his refusal to cooperate with him becomes a theme that is moderately developed. But his decision has a cost, as the men in his party are killed off easily by their foes and yet he still continues to reject his abilities. It is not until the final confrontation with Acresius, where Perseus' life is challenged, that he uses his gifts to wield the cursed sword and overpower him.
The screenwriters have ticked all the boxes (or myths) that are associated with the story, and all is included in a messy collaboration that present a cause/effect for the next part of the story. After leaving Argos the party treks through the desert and are attacked by giant scorpion creatures and eventually befriend a tribe of Djinn, who form an alliance with the humans. They travel to the lair of the Stygian Witches where they reveal the secret to destroying the Kraken, by passing into the underworld and surviving Medusa by removing her head. In all of its ridiculousness the story is true to the myth of how Medusa was killed, with Perseus using his shield as a mirror to locate and destroy her. This battle sequence is one of the few highlights of the film, although, like the rest of the battles, it seemed just too quick and easy. The arrival of the Kraken is visually spectacular, and worthy of the only praise I can muster.
The performances are uniformly dreadful, and the dialogue awful. Sam Worthington, after his average performance at the heart of Avatar, still seems to struggle with any sort of accent. His protagonist is neither likable nor inspiring. It is never understood what his motivation is. It seems he wants to kill Hades out of revenge for his dead family and while he rejects anything beyond humanity, he falls for Io, his immortal guardian. It doesn't help when the lines he are given are gut-achingly bad. Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes would love to remove their credits from this mess.
Most of the characters are so poorly developed that they exist solely for the purpose of filling time. One such example is the character of Andromeda, whom the people of Argos decide to offer as a sacrifice to Hades to halt the wrath of the Kraken. She is set up to be the female character Perseus is destined to save and marry - but this is not the case. She allows her body to be taken by the angry mob to utilize as a sacrifice, which is a completely unnecessary plot point, other than to give Perseus something else to do during the final confrontation. Pegasus is thrown in there whenever Perseus needs assistance and all is resolved neatly and 'quickly'. The final sequences are also atrocious, setting up an inevitable sequel, which promises the return of Hades for revenge. Yawn! There is really nothing good to say about Clash of the Titans. It is an early favorite for worst film of the year!
My Rating: 1/2 Star