Movies

God and Man at the Movies

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The Gods Must Be Crazy, Part III

Fear not, action purists: Clash of the Titans is a movie with no patience for chit-chat. Befitting a movie about an ancient struggle between god and man, Titans has nothing resembling actual human conversations. Instead, it's jammed with speeches and proclamations, fist-shaking threats, and wannabe high-toned announcements of what is Right and Just and Necessary. And for the for old school action junkies, there's a smattering of what B-movie scholar Joe Bob Briggs called "snappy dialogue"—the meathead quips that Arnold Schwarzenneger specialized in throughout the 1980s.

Sadly, there's nothing so delightfully dumb here as that great moment from Running Man in which Arnie sawed a baddie in half and announced, "Time to split!" (though it wasn't long into Titans' running time before splitting from the theater was exactly what I wanted to do). Neither god nor man comes off very well in this testosterone-fueled romp through ancient lore. Alternately leaden and ridiculous, it's a seriously stupid movie that, rather unfortunately, doesn't take its stupidity very seriously.

Unlike the 1981 monster-mayhem masterpiece it's based on, the movie's camp-quotient is just high enough to make it unbearably schlocky, but not quite high enough for real fun. Like 300 (an obvious inspiration), Titans has a highly inflated sense of self, especially for what is basically an excuse to show a bunch of beefy dudes run around in leather broom skirts hacking the heads off CGI monsters. It's like watching a He-Man cartoon whose creators were convinced they were making Shakespeare. Really, it's a shame to waste so much big-budget dumb, especially with such a promising cast.

Castin

Now I will have LEVERAGE over the humans!

g Liam Neeson as Zeus was a stroke of genius—pairing him with Ralph Fiennes as Hades doubly so. Neglecting to use either of them throughout most of the film was not. Despite the fact that both actors look totally ridiculous—Neeson in a suit of glowing armor that simply makes you feel as if you're squinting uncontrollably, Fiennes in a feathery black suit and unkempt locks that make him look like a reject from Battlefield: Earth—the two are easily the best things in the movie. So when Zeus, declaring war on mortals, proclaims that the humans need to "be reminded of the order of things," it's hard not to wish someone had done the same for the filmmakers, who ignore these two majestic acting gods in favor of Hollywood's hottest lunkhead-of-moment, Sam Worthington.

And, well, what is there to say about Sam Worthington, except that he has stubble, and a chin, and…and…Sam Worthington! Here, he plays a demigod—half human, half god, no personality. He's only starred in a handful of movies, but he's already on the verge of overexposure. My recommendation is for him to take some time off and spend it learning from those who know the craft of acting better than he, like, for example, the cast of the WWE.

Worthington's god/man split gives the picture an opportunity to engage in frequent bits of ra-ra (or maybe blah, blah) humanism—man can best the gods, be his own master, determine his own destiny. Naturally, I sympathize. But pitting Worthington against Neeson and Fiennes makes it tough to side with the mortals; if this is the best humanity can do, we may be in trouble.

NEXT: Mandate Madness

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    1. We watched the original one in my 7th grade English class (don’t ask). Andromeda’s bare ass popping up on the screen towards the end will be seared forever into my memory.

      1. I always thought the Kraken was some sort of monster.

    2. “Together we can end cephalopod captivity in our lifetime!”

      1. Release the Kraken!

  1. I fully expected that this thing was going to be a CGI crapfest, but can’t believe they changed the plot to that degree. In the original movie (and the Greek legend!) Zeus and Athena were on Perseus’ side. It wasn’t gods vs. man, it was gods vs. gods via human proxies.

    1. Love that Joe Bob Briggs. I have a couple of his old movie review books somewhere.

      1. Oops, I inadvertently threaded and nested that comment. I wish Zeus would release the Kraken on Hit & Run’s newfangled servers.

      2. Joe Bob was (is?) one of us.

        1. Joe Bob is indeed still with us. His site’s gotten a little cluttered but you can still read all of his old “Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-in” movie reviews, which include his insightful commentaries on everything.

          http://mottaindustries.ipower.com/joebobbriggs/

          1. Spam in a cabin!

            I bet JB’s review of this site would include the phrase “reason-fu”.

  2. Shouldn’t Poseidon be the one to release the kraken anyway, assuming he can borrow it from the Norse gods?

    1. I heard that Oden was really peeved when he found out the Kraken was missing.

      1. I hope Odin doesn’t smite me for misspelling his name.

        1. W?den forgives you.

        2. Oden is a perfectly acceptable spelling. See?

        3. Wotan understands.

      2. Man, I love oden, especially on a cold night. (Chikuwa is my favorite)

  3. I got your kraken right here, baby.

  4. “Time to split!”

    The best one ever was in Total Recall when he’s drilling that guy in the mining machine and screams, “Screw you!”.

    1. “Here is Sub Zero…now, plain zero!”

      And Suderman, you clod, Arnold doesn’t say “time to split”, he says, when asked what happened to Buzzsaw (his opponent), “oh, he had to split”.

      Get you ridiculous Arnold lines correct.

    2. I’m also a big fan of the moment early in “Predator” in which Arnie pins a guy to the wall using a hunting knife and then says, “Stick around.”

      1. “Let off some steam, Bennett.”

        1. “Remember when I said I’d kill you last?”

          “That’s right, you said that!”

          “I lied.”

      2. I just sit around waiting for the day another Predator alumnus will become governor of a U.S. state. Probably Carl Weathers, but there are other possibilities. Sonny Landham is a dark horse contender, certainly.

        1. I’m still not clear how Jesse Ventura got a gov’s seat before Carl Weathers.

          1. Action Jackson!!

            One of my favorite movies – Death Hunt – has Weathers in it. Great flick.

          2. Wow, wylie, that was original like, ten years ago.

      3. Damn, I forgot about “Predator.” That was a great flick. Great concept. Who woulda thunk it was gubernatorial foreshadowing! It would be fantastic to see Matt Damon and Sean Penn as heads of state. Somewhere in South America, preferably.

        1. no , thanks. We already have Chavez

  5. Zeus is cool, but I don’t understand why no one believes in him anymore. After all, no one ever provided any proof that he DOESN’T exists, so we should all still be worshiping him, right?

    1. We do still worship him, we just gave him an image/persona makeover (a la Prince) to keep him fresh and hip with the youngsters who were leaving traditional religion for the refreshing counter-cultural appeal of Jewish fringe cults.

      Whatever he calls himself now, he’s still sitting in the clouds and smiting uppity humans with bolts of lightning in our hearts.

  6. Hollywood puts out utter shit nowadays. Like Washington. Surely it isn’t worse than that piece of shit Avatar. I was ready to flee when Worthington (who sucks) rolled off the transport and one of the extra tards said, “meals on wheels.” James Cameron ought to be ashamed. Conan could pull off the retarded dialogue, well, because he is retarded.

    1. For the record, Conan was a good movie. Not campy good, either. Just good.

      1. Indeed. Classic. James Earl Jones was killer. The Destroyer, not so much – only on the coatails of The Barbarian. Conan was certainly Arnie’s best work. True Lies was his last hurrah, but that was delivered by Chet – another classic character.

        1. There was going to be a sequel with the older Conan (probably as a king), but we got the Governator instead. That pisses me off to no end.

          1. He wont be governor forever.

      2. Talk about classic dialogue:

        Mongol General: Wrong! Conan! What is best in life?
        Conan: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.

        1. Just finished watching the ultimate achievement in one-liners, “Army of Darkness”.

          Low production value, snappy one-liners, in your face misogyny, and generally crass attitude. What’s not to love?

        2. Yeah, I knew I had a scored a ‘keeper’ with my significant other, when one day, in just a stream of consciousness moment with no filter between brain and mouth, I asked her, “Honey, what is best in life?”

          She gave me the Conan reply. She mangled it a little. Didn’t get it quite right. But that just made it charming.

          Yep, I’m a lucky guy.

          1. Ms. BenP: “…and to hear the lamentation of their menfolk.”

            BenP: “close enough. i love you.”

    2. That pissed me off so much. They have interstellar travel and can breed human/alien hybrids but they can’t cheaply cure his paralysis?

      WTF? I guess Obamacare never does get repealed.

      1. He’s on the waiting list man, chill out. Should have his new legs in time for Avatar 2.

        1. He has them already. As well as a tail and a USB port.

      2. That pisses me off so much. The can send a man to the moon, genetically engineer crops and stock animals, and they can’t provide cheap, effective health-care for all of their citizens? What an awful world to live in.

        1. Man, when was the last time anybody got sent to the moon?

  7. Titans has nothing resembling actual human conversations.

    If you want good banter, Sherlock Holmes with Downey Jr is out on DVD. But I’m not really sure if he’s actually playing Sherlock, or Julian

    1. My understanding (as someone who’s regretably has never read the books) is that he’s more Sherlockian than Basil Rathbone or Jeremy Brett ever were.

      I was never interested in Sherlock Holmes stories because I always saw Homes as a bit of a dandy and a fop, all prim and manners.

      But a bare knuckle boxing, hard drinking ne’er-do-well who performs medical experiments on Gladstone the dog and annoys Watson with his errant, manic and slovenly behavior? Now that’s a character with whom I can identify.

      1. Definitely a more interesting take on Holmes, that’s for sure. Though Peter Cushing’s portrayal in Hound of the Baskervilles (from Hammer, directed, of course, by Terence Fisher) was quite good.

        1. Just saw that a couple of months ago. Cushing did a great job. Holmes is supposed to be lethargic when not intellectually engaged, but he’s also portrayed as an able fighter and extraordinarily strong. There is some room in the character to make him an action hero of sorts.

          The drug addiction and his sloppiness around the home are also a matter of record. Watson also got annoyed with Holmes ego, which was of godlike proportions.

          1. Cushing always did a great job, whether it was as Holmes, Van Helsing, Dr. Frankenstein, you name it.

          2. I read most of the books when I was a lot younger. I thought the movie did the character justice.

            I vaguely remember in a book Holmes demonstrates his strength by straightening a poker that someone else has demonstrated their strength by bending it.

            1. This is all utter nonesense.

              Everyone knows that Data was the best Sherlock Holmes.

            2. “Adventure of the Speckled Band”.
              http://www.mysterynet.com/holmes/08speckledband/
              “He stepped swiftly forward, seized the poker, and bent it into a curve with his huge brown hands. …. “I am not quite so bulky, but if he had remained I might have shown him that my grip was not much more feeble than his own.” As he spoke he picked up the steel poker and, with a sudden effort, straightened it out again.”

              Cheers

      2. It’s like “The Seven-Per-Cent Solution” on steroids.

      3. My understanding (as someone who’s regretably has never read the books)

        as is about to become unbearably clear

        is that he’s more Sherlockian than Basil Rathbone

        true…

        or Jeremy Brett ever were.

        BOO. Speaking as someone who has read all the books, Jeremy Brett is as Sherlockian as anyone will ever get. I like RDJr, but his Holmes looks f—ing retarded.

        1. No, that’s a load of crap that the movie’s publicists wanted to sell. All it comes down to is that there were a few things in the stories the censors wouldn’t let you do in the 40s (but he even asks for his fix at the end of Hound of the Baskervilles in 1939). But Downey as a bohemian, smart-assy, gay quip-exchanging action hero is much further from Conan Doyle than almost any previous Holmes. At least when Billy Wilder did much of the same, it was in the guise of “now we’ll show you what Conan Doyle wouldn’t.” This is just “now we’ll turn this into the same crap you always want to see.”

        2. The only Holmes movie I’ve ever been able to stand was Zero Effect.

      4. But a bare knuckle boxing, hard drinking ne’er-do-well who performs medical experiments on Gladstone the dog and annoys Watson with his errant, manic and slovenly behavior? Now that’s a character with whom I can identify.

        Fuck. That. That was the most retarded thing about this Holmes.

        “Here, let me use my powers of logical deduction to BOX. I’m going to predict what this boxer will do 10 moves in advance and logically deduce the correct punch to beat him. Now let me show you my amazing Kung Fu!”

        Yeah. That’s Sherlock Holmes. Right.

        Does Hollywood have to dumb everything down to fight scenes and explosions? Does it?

        Sherlock Holmes as an action movie with Holmes doing karete kicks is about the epitomy of Hollywoods ability to take any concept and turn it into mass market stupidity.

        This movie should be burned and all references to it should be punishable by death.

        1. Hazel,

          I agree whole heartedly. I have come to the conclusion that if you want snappy lines and quirky plots, you will have to watch indie films

          My favorite dumbdown story is that when I was stationed at NAS Memphis KnightRider would always be showing in the barracks TV as we were secured. It was a half hour of stupidity.

          Once by accident we saw the regular showing of Knightrider during primetime and it was an hour long.

          Turns out that the local station had simply bought the syndicated version of the show with all car chases removed and instead of an hour it was a half hour. As far as I can tell there was never a problem with the plot in any of these shows being compromised by the deletion of 30 minutes of film.

          1. The only thing good about Knight Rider was K.I.T.T. Such a lovely auto.

    2. Downey Jr. should have gotten an Oscar (for what that’s worth) for Tropic Thunder.

      1. Agreed…he was superb.

    3. He’s playing Syd Barret, actually.

  8. Instead, it’s jammed with speeches and proclamations, fist-shaking threats, and wannabe high-toned announcements of what is Right and Just and Necessary.

    So it’s a modern political drama about Universal Healthcare.

    1. Tom Cruise for best supporting.

  9. One question – Is Boobo (the little mechanical owl) in the movie? B/c if no – it’s just wrong. That owl rocked!!!!!!!

  10. A cameo, I have heard, nothing more.

  11. Well, this is a waste of space.
    You could tell it was goping to be a bad movie by the fact that it’s being released in April.

    1. …it was goping to be a bad movie…

      I know it’s a typo, but “goping” totally fits. This week’s best neologism.

      1. Esp with the recently discovered fondness for seeing young saphic ladies chained up.

  12. Well, if its any consolation, it seems the 80s South Jersey Glam-Rock bands are making a comeback. Either that, or just a bunch of sentimental old fools like me trying to relive their “glory days”.

    Tonight, we have the singer and drummer from this band.

  13. and tomorrow, the singer from this band, (before and after they were discovered). And of course, Cinderella is planning a reunion tour.

  14. And here’s a picture of the old Galaxy Night Club, where they all used to perform. see for yourself.

  15. So you’re saying Sam Worthington is no Harry Hamlin? I don’t know whether that’s being too harsh or too kind.

    1. It’s worse. He’s no Burgess Meredith, either.

  16. Zeus? I fucking killed Zeus today. On Chaos difficulty. Zeus is my bitch.

    …for what is basically an excuse to show a bunch of beefy dudes run around in leather broom skirts hacking the heads off CGI monsters.

    Suderman, I am going to see this movie ASAP.

    1. Because it sounds so well done?

      1. Because I love to MST3K movies in the theater with my friends.

        1. So you’re the asshole who’s always talking during the movie!

  17. I don’t get what you and Megan have against this movie. Did someone throw popcorn at you guys?

    I mean, come on. It’s Clash of the Titans, not The Fountainhead.

    It’s worth seeing just for the Kraken.

    1. It’s worth seeing just for the Kraken.

      Good grief! You Obama supporters! Is there anything you won’t do just to look at your hero?

      😉

  18. I saw this today at an early matinee. It’s fun. Suderman has much of it spot on but I enjoyed this far more than the overly preachy Avatar. Worthington, currently the most over rated person in Hollywood, got out-acted by a CGI scorpion. And Neeson and Fines were under utilized but really their characters weren’t the focus of the movie. The plots’ been extra-butchered and now strays even further from the original Greek sources, but given Hollywood’s total inability to refrain from screwing up a good story that’s expected. A different love interest has been added, Io, who is alas not a cow. I didn’t see it in 3-D but I didn’t feel that the CGI overshadowed the acting (except for as stated with Worthington where he was out acted by his breastplate). Overall, I would give it a 3 out of 5 stars. Much better than Avatar, 2012 and Transformers 2 and about on par with the first Transformers. Unfortunately, the ever rising movie prices are making this fun but dumb flicks a bit to expensive to see on a whim. As for the trailers…the new A-Team looked pretty good.

    And yes, Boobo has a very brief cameo but he’s given no respect.

    1. Yeah, I heard it was mocking of the whole stop-motion animation.

      Because, you know, it’s not enough that these remakes rip the soul out of the classics of my wayward youth — they must piss on the soulless corpse while delivering (as mentioned above) the Arnold-style quips.

      Dammit.

    2. Holy shit! You saw 2012!? At the theatre? I don’t think I could watch that obvious pos when it’s the next “world premier” on TNT. It was all I could do to make it through Avatar; I at least hoped to see a Na’vi nipple. To no avail. I was stuck in Tallahassee – it was fitting that’s where I saw the wretched pos.

  19. UNLEASH the Kraken. no one ever just “releases” one.

    FAIL.

  20. Also, am i the only person left on the planet under 65 who has never seen a movie in 3D?

    1. Other than those blind in one or both eyes?

      Probably.

      But next month your Social Security checks start to arrive and you can afford to go to one.

    2. It’s ok, I haven’t either.

      1. I haven’t seen anything in 3-D yet, either.

  21. My mother is 71, and she’s seen several movies in HD.

    1. Are you counting Creature From The Black Lagoon shown on UHF in the 80’s?

  22. Erm, I mean 3-D.

  23. HD too, though.

  24. It is self-evident that Clash of the Titans sucked balls. Mechanical f—ing owl. Hey, let’s include a sea monster from Scandinavian lore, it’ll be like taking a dump on the audience.

    It is a corollary that the remake sucks balls.

    Greek mythology is sweet. Why it has to be ‘tarded up for the silver screen, I will never understand. Troy was the closest they’ve come to doing it justice, and even that sucked multiple balls.

  25. I predict that Obama will say, “Release the Kraken” as a joke against the GOP this weekend.

  26. As a huge Ray Harryhausen fan I refuse on principle to watch the remake at the theater.

    But if it happens to come on HBO, well, what can I say.

    … Hobbit

  27. Sam Worthington, the Josh Hartnett of our time. (Well, with a few years’ actual practice, Hartnett was pretty good in 30 Days of Night. So check back with Worthington in 2019.)

    Everything I see of this reinforces the notion that charm matters more than strict photorealism. As if Peter Jackson’s King Kong hadn’t already proven that point; but on some level, what is appealing about stop motion is that it doesn’t look like the real thing, it looks like toys come to life, a fantasy buried deep in all of our psyches, awaiting reactivation.

    1. Amen to that. CGI’s been in full operation for 20 years now, and still nobody’s figured out that it can not, by itself, bring any charm to a movie.

      I’m OK leaving Boobo out of it though. That was an obvious sellout in the original — a crass attempt to provide an R2D2-type character when all you wanted to see was more of Andromeda’s ass.

      1. Actually Tim, IIRC the little mechanical owl character was added to the film late in the production, to make the film more “family friendly”, i.e. a character specifically designed to appeal to children.

        Since the movie got on the Lucas(tm) model of merchandising a line with the movie, the Bubo was supposed to lead the way. I don’t think they released a scale model toy of the owl though.

        However I remember the Kraken toy being pretty cool, but I never got one.

  28. I recall my older brother taking my younger brother and me to see our first movie with him, and he gave us the option to see Clash of the Titans or Raiders of the Lost Ark. Against his advice, we chose Clash. My life would have turned out much better if not for that early misstep.

    1. Would it, though? Would it have?

  29. Megan’s takedown of the movie was way better, but thanks for trying.

    1. And for 74% of the price!

  30. I was dusted really bad one night and I saw one of the scorpions from the old school Clash of the Titans parading down the center of the street. It was when it attacked the clown juggling the glowing orbs (aka street lights) that I thought maybe I shouldn’t have smoked that shit.

  31. Why is this post blathering on about an awful movie?

    1. Because it is a movie review.

  32. The cast of the WWE?
    The cast of the WWE?
    The cast of the WWE?

    &%#*!!!

    1. Is “stable” better?

    2. It can’t be a cast. It’s REAL!!!

  33. c’mon bitch,
    “where’s sully?
    I had to let him go.”

    best AS dialogue ever
    AND Alyssa Milano!

  34. I hear the working title for
    these people’s next film is
    ‘Clover Field of Dreams’ 🙂

  35. This review is far too positive. Clash of the Titans is not an action movie. It’s a huge bore with lots and lots of terrible dialogue with, like, two fight scenes. There is nothing–NOTHING–good about this movie. At all. In fact, it’s so boring I slept through the climax of the movie in the theater.

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