C. Robert Cargill July 25, 2010
In one of the boldest and most undeniably ill-advised moves of the year, Warner Brothers took their spring tentpole fantasy film, Clash of the Titans, and rushed a 20-week 3-D process, cramming it instead into a last-minute 10-week period. The results were shockingly bad. After a painstaking process of set design, location scouting in remote locations, and rugged filming (sometimes at almost unworkable altitudes), a lush, beautifully shot movie was rendered into a mess of 3-D digital images that did the entire cast and crew a disservice. Critics lambasted the film, and the first nail in the coffin of 3-D had been hammered in. Unfortunately for the film, most of the negative reviews had more to do with the distracting experience of buggy, poorly rendered 3-D and less to do with the film itself.
The film is actually a lot of fun. In its 2-D version, where you can enjoy the lush cinematography, beautiful sets, brilliant creature design, and fast-cut action sequences (which the brain has trouble processing in 3-D), you can find yourself swallowed up in a good old-fashioned sword-and-sandals monster movie. The action is fun, the characters likable, and the set pieces incredible. Far from being a perfect film, this version of Clash of the Titans (a remake of the 1981 classic) completely ignores the love story between Perseus and Andromeda — a focal point not only of the original film but of the myth itself — and instead tells a story about half-god Perseus being angry at his dad (Zeus). And while this quickly becomes the rap-metal version of mythology, it never manages to drown in its own angst; rather, this new storyline creates some very interesting conflict.
Devin Faraci over at CHUD has an interesting piece on the Clash of the Titans that almost was — a film with the Andromeda love story, a brewing war between the gods and Zeus as the villain. Entire chunks of the film were dumped for the sake of the new narrative — brought in through extensive reshoots — one in which rising star Gemma Arterton was pushed to the forefront as a romantic lead rather than a secondary character. Most of the scenes deleted were of the gods on Mount Olympus. The single best part about this Blu-ray is that 22 minutes of those scenes have found their way onto it. In one of the best special features I’ve seen recently, many (if not all) of the deleted scenes involving the gods are brought to light for fans. Many of them are better than those presented in the movie. Olympus is where director Louis Leterrier put his strongest and most experienced actors. There’s one 5-1/2-minute scene of Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes — two of the best actors working today — playing rival brothers Zues and Hades, verbally sparring before the Pantheon of other gods. If that’s not something you wanted more of, then why would you want to see a movie called Clash of the Titans?
The other major feature of this Blu-ray is Warner Bros. MAXIMUM MOVIE MODE, a way to watch the film intercut with many of the bonus features included on the disc. This Blu-ray is swimming in making-of features, all of which help you appreciate how much work really went into the film. If you’re someone who enjoyed the film, you’re going to enjoy discovering how little of it is actually CG. While the film has its share of digital work, many of the film’s incredible shots were just good old-fashioned filmmaking — and they’ve got the features to show you how they did it. This particular Maximum Movie Mode isn’t as impressive as some others, mostly because Louis Leterrier doesn’t take stage front and center as other directors do, but it will give you buckets of information to process about the making of the film.
Despite walking out of this film disappointed with how it was treated, this release rekindled my interest in it, and I found that I enjoyed it immensely as a home experience. It’s well worth checking out.
Clash of the Titans is a Combo Pack (complete with DVD, Blu-Ray, and Digital Copy) and is available now from Warner Home Video.
Categories: DVDTags: Blu-ray review, Clash of the titans