This Film is NOT a Future Release.
The Following Preview has been Archived.
January 4th, 2010:
A remake of the 1981 film version of the myth of Perseus and his quest to battle both Medusa and the Kraken monster in order to save the Princess Andromeda.What to Expect:
Okay, sports fans. At this point, I think the question we all have to be asking ourselves is, who is Sam Worthington sleeping with? Or maybe more accurately, who is his AGENT sleeping with? I mean, the guy's career was nowhere. Seriously, nowhere. He was doing B-grade horror and bit parts in movies like "Hart's War." No movie on his filmography even sounds familiar. Oh, and did I mention he did a guest spot on "JAG?" Article continues below
Then suddenly...stratospheric rise. He's cast as one of the leads in "Terminator: Salvation." And then "Avatar." (By the way, about that and my Epic Fail Predictions, I told you that you could throw my preview analysis back in my face if it was hugely popular, so here's my face, go ahead and throw it.) Meanwhile he's got two pretty high-profile films in post-production, "Tell Me" co-starring Keira Knightley, and John Madden's "The Debt" with Helen Mirren and Tom Wilkinson. So he's covering the big-blockbuster and the British-highbrow ends of the spectrum. And now he's the lead in this high-profile remake of one of the great camp classics of all time. There are also rumors flying around that he's up for the lead in the new Flash Gordon movie. He's up against Ryan Reynolds for that one, supposedly, but Reynolds already has Deadpool AND Green Lantern...how many superheroes can one guy play? I give Worthington the edge on that one for that reason alone. Regardless, the guy is busy with a capital B.
Who can he be sleeping with? One can only speculate. It's so tantalizing. His agent is really working overtime.
But seriously. Is the guy that great? I can't really offer a judgment. I haven't seen "Avatar" yet but from what I'm hearing Worthington isn't the reason people are raving about it. No one really praised him excessively in "Terminator." I suspect it's a garden variety example of It Boy Syndrome, in which the person in question gets one high-profile role with a respected director and then everyone else says "Well, so-and-so cast him, so he must be awesome" and he suddenly starts getting parts right and left. Sometimes this is deserved. The advance buzz off Edward Norton's star-making debut turn in "Primal Fear" was so strong that he started getting parts just off that before the film had even opened. But he's, you know, talented and stuff. The same thing happened to Hayden Christensen after Lucas cast him in Episode II, and that...didn't work out so well, actually. I don't think Worthington's walked the walk quite yet.
The original 1981 "Clash of the Titans" is what you might call a dubious classic, enjoying cult status and a loyal following from those of us who saw it at a young age, but no one would claim it's a great masterpiece of cinema. I always get confused and think that Arnold Schwarzenegger is in it (he's not). It was a pretty big hit at the time; it was the eleventh highest grossing film of the year. But most cinephiles remember the film most fondly for its effects, which were done by film legend Ray Harryhausen in his trademark stop-motion animation style. It was Harryhausen's final feature film; he retired shortly thereafter. That film stars no less a cinema legend than Laurence Olivier as Zeus. Future "L.A. Law" heartthrob Harry Hamlin played Perseus and his then-girlfriend, Bond girl Ursula Andress, played Aphrodite.
The inevitable remake started development in 2002 with producer Adam Schroeder, a filmmaker with a pretty solid resume of films including "Zoolander," "In & Out," "Sleepy Hollow" and "The Truman Show." That version died in development hell, but the project got revived in 2006 by "We Are Marshall" producer Basil Iwanyk and was picked up by Warner Bros. with a screenplay by newcomer and Titans fan Travis Beacham. Heavyweight producer Lawrence Kasdan got involved, then they signed director Stephen Norrington. Norrington soon left the project over creative differences. Good riddance. After all, he's the man who gave us such travesties as "Ghost Rider" and "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen," which I'm still bitter about, by the way. They've since gone on to hand him the reboot of "The Crow." Good luck with that, fellas.
Enter Louis Leterrier. Also known as the man who gave the world "The Transporter," for which I personally thank him. He also directed the most recent "Incredible Hulk" film which yeah, I admit to liking...but I liked Ang Lee's version too, so grains of salt might legitimately be taken. Leterrier said that the climax of the original "Titans" inspired the climactic scenes in his Hulk film, so it's safe to say he's a fan, which Norrington wasn't.
The team went all out for the casting. Aside from that head-scratching inclusion of the still-unproven Worthington, we've got Liam Neeson as Zeus and Ralph Fiennes as Hades. So it's shaping up to be an Aslan vs. Voldemort celebrity deathmatch. Can I just repeat that once? ASLAN VS. VOLDEMORT. Oh, I am filled with geeky fangirlish glee at the very idea. Or, if you prefer, a rematch from "Schindler's List." Or...oh, this is even better...Qui-Gon Jinn vs. Voldemort. I kind of think Liam Neeson actually IS Zeus, he's just visiting Earth for awhile in the body of an Irish actor. I don't think they could have done better there. They've populated their Mt. Olympus with various other luminaries including Danny Huston as Poseidon (love). But I think this is pretty much going to be the story of Worthington, Neeson and Fiennes. Hmm. Which of these things is not like the other? Who knows, maybe this'll be the movie where Worthington really breaks out and tears it up. I mean, he was working somewhat at a disadvantage in "Avatar"...he spends most of the movie in the body of a blue guy with a tail. That'd harsh anyone's groove.
The plot is something about Perseus, who's a kind of man-god, having to do a bunch of mythical tasks to prevent Hades from taking over the world because Perseus' family got killed or something and he has to rescue the princess and save the Kingdom of Who Gives a Crap Show Me the Kraken. Basically it's a bunch of mythological nonsense strung together into a series of action set pieces starring a lot of pixels and our human actors acting against green screens in what are probably hideously uncomfortable costumes and prosthetics. Does that sound awful? It shouldn't. I could very well have just been describing "Lord of the Rings," and that was 100% pure awesome. I have a feeling that they're going for that same feeling of reinvention for this property, of showing it in a way that it could not have been shown in 1981 despite Ray Harryhausen's genius. Incidentally, Harryhausen was asked to consult on this film but would not be lured out of retirement. Isn't he like a million years old, anyway? (quick Wik check: he's 89)
Principal photography has wrapped, but Worthington let it slip (and it's not really a secret) that they've gone back for quite a few reshoots. He described certain sections of the film as "creaky" but that everyone knew they were creaky going in. So, uh, I'll ask the obvious question...why not make them less creaky before shooting? Just asking. Anyway he said that Warners was letting them add more gods and more scenes and was thinking about adding 3D. Worthington indicated that the reshoots would go on until January, right up to the sticking point...the film is set to premiere in March, so that's really cutting it close. Warners reportedly upped the budget for the film after the response to the first trailer...they must be pretty confident in what Leterrier is putting out, or else they're panicked and trying to save it. Word is that there will be more Liam Neeson in the reshoots; he was unavailable for some of principal filming while he was off shooting "The A-Team." It's a blessing they have him at all. There was some question about his availability after the sudden death of his wife, Natasha Richardson, but those worries seem unfounded. The man has been working nonstop since then and his schedule shows no signs of lightening up.
News of reshoots is never encouraging, especially when people attached to the film come out and admit that they're doing it to fix some parts of the film that weren't working. But I suppose it's better to fix them than to let them lie, or try to gloss over them with simply more-louder-bigger. The addition of 3D feels like a grab of desperation for a part of the newfound "Avatar"-induced craze for it as more and more people get introduced to how far the 3D tech has come since the days of paper glasses and cheesy shots of things jumping out at you. Warners has invested a great deal in this film and they probably want as many things drawing people into the theater as humanly possible.In Conclusion:
I dunno. I'm on the fence. This could be another "300." Or it could be another "Apocalypto." A good old-fashioned high-tech B-movie could be just what the doctor ordered, or it could just seem like more of the same old, same old. The challenge will be for them to make this fresh and exciting, something new that'll capture our imaginations like the original did. The cynic in me thinks that Hollywood is too attached to groupthink and market studies to be that fresh and exciting anymore with their big-budget blockbusters. I hope I'm wrong. Because if it's the kind of movie I hope it is, I want to see it. Bad.Similar Titles: Clash of the Titans
, The Incredible Hulk