Greetings again from the darkness. I have a weakness for the 1981 version and still get a kick out of Ray Harryhausen’s stop-action art in that film, as well as the “Sinbad” films. One of my favorite trivia questions is “What film starred both Harry Hamlin and Laurence Olivier?”. That cracks me up, and stumps most people … even though most have seen the original.
Director Louis Leterrier provides a remake that is very much a film project of current day despite the mythology involved. Here, Liam Neeson as Zeus and Ralph Finnes as Hades are (not so close) brothers supposedly battling for the same thing – getting those pesky humans back in line. This comes after the army of Argos gets fed up with the whims of the Gods and makes a move toward independence. You either know the story or not, but either way shouldn’t affect your enjoyment of the movie.
Sam Worthington, fresh off his Avatar fame makes for a solid Perseus, the half-son of Zeus (thanks to an earlier trick, that most would call rape). However, I never could make sense of his perfectly barbered look of facial and scalp stubble, while those around him all sport the late-60’s Hell’s Angels look. Gemma Atherton (former Bond girl) plays the quasi-God who is to protect Persues, and Mads Mikkelson (former Bond villain) fights alongside him. However, this is not an actor’s film.
The special effects are bountiful. Hades comes and goes as a cloud of thick black smoke and is quite comfortable splitting himself off into a flock of evil-spirited flying dragon things. Pegasus, the flying horse is back, as are the giant scorpions, who are much bigger and badder than before. Still don’t understand how they went from mean to sweet between scenes. Of course, the coolest thing is Medusa and her hairdo of creepy, crawly snakes. That’s one bad chick. The most impressive special effect is the Kraken, Hade’s underworld pet who is “released” to destroy mankind (unless Perseus can stop him).
There is one humorous tip of the cap to the original, but most of the other shots at humor fall extremely flat. This is not a movie to see for the dialogue. The mythology and wonderment of the Gods have a certain appeal, though this one certainly falls short in providing us any real insight into the daily tasks of the lucky few on Olympus. So enjoy this one for what it is … a guilty pleasure. And stump your friends with that trivia question!