Put. The Kraken. Back!

Geek Culture

Photo: Warner Brothers

My kids, my wife and I have been saying “Release the Kraken” for months now, ever since we saw the commercial for the new Clash of the Titans movie. At baseball games when the boys are batting, we yell “Release the Kraken!” We were very excited to hear Bruno Tonioli say it on Dancing with the Stars.

As a family, we enjoyed the original movie from 1981, which definitely had geek appeal. The special effects were, well, not up to today’s standards, but overall the movie followed the original mythology (more or less) and was effective storytelling.

Last night we Redboxed the new version and made it into a family movie night. We weren’t willing to go see this in the movie theater, partly because I can’t go to a 3D movie without feeling like I’m getting ripped off to rent a pair of glasses that don’t add much to my experience. For a family of six, the ticket prices add up fast.

If the first movie was all about Ray Harryhausen‘s animation, Harry Hamlin’s big curls, and the original mythology, the new version is all about Sam Worthington and a big pile of computer animation. The story is almost entirely new and does not correspond to what my mythology geek wife knows about Perseus. The writers started with the same set of characters and pulled a different story out of somewhere. Sure, it’s got giant scorpions, but what about the romance between Perseus and Andromeda? What about Perseus’s origin story?

Sam Worthington shows the same dramatic range as Russell Crowe in Gladiator, which is to say he scowls and looks dirty and sweaty through most of the movie. You would think it would be a better movie, with Liam Neeson as Zeus and Ralph Fiennes as Hades, but even their talents aren’t enough to push this film past mediocre.

Something about the cast jogged my memory, and late at night I realized that the last time I saw Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes together was in Schindler’s List, which makes Clash of the Titans look positively puny. C’mon, Ralph, I’m sure you’re glad to get your nose back, but you should really have a different voice for Hades and Voldemort.

Was it worth the $1.08 we spent on it? Maybe. In the end, we might have been better off watching the curls and claymation of the original.

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