Saturday 17 December 2011
First, this was a terrifically bold, big story and the visuals were beyond spectacular. From the f/x to the costumes to the wicked awesome fight scenes, I was in awe. The costumes were stylish, outrageous and fit each character to a tee. You would know them by their costumes alone. Then we have the overly dark cinematography. Ugh! It was wearing on me. Maybe it was just my bifocals, but I had really hard time at some points discerning what was going on, especially in the night scenes and in the cave temple thing. I was squinting and craning forward, which is never a good thing when you're sitting in front of a giant theater screen.
This was a huge story to tackle and the writing by Charley and Vlas Parlapanides succeeds for about half of the time. The other half, yeesh! Huge points because they breathed life into the gods, giving us a glimpse into their Olympian personalities, which many films fail to do. You know the films that leave the gods prancing about in pretty costumes and posing, Clash of the Titans redux, I'm talking to you. But Charley and Vlas quickly lose those points as there were plot elements that felt like they were not part of the story or should have been much smaller. I need a paragraph or two for these.
One of these red paint blobs on a white linen tablecloth was the "romance" between Theseus and Phaedra. Made no sense at all. First, there was zero chemistry between Henry and Freida. Then, there were really no scenes to set up any kind of romantic interest. She finds him at the pool, they escape, they go to Theseus' village, he buries his mom, he gets into a fight and gets poisoned. She saves him and they bang. Really? It was like groovin' along to a rock n roll tune, then a big scratch and switch to a country ballad. WTF! It was completely out of character for both.
Then we have the driving force of the film, Hyperion's quest to unleash the Titans. His motivation, tearing grief, is part of why the king is such a great villain. Mickey Rourke's performance reminded me strongly of Gary Oldman's Vlad. Your god don't answer, tear that temple down, baby. But they never explain why he has to lay waste to rest of Greece. Why he has to be so evil. His quest to destroy the gods was more than enough. All these other little confrontations were unnecessary, more like savage side dishes that had nothing to with the main course. Maybe it was to show how evil he was becoming, I don't know. I still didn't like it. They also never really explain why Theseus is the antidote to Hyperion's rage. It's all about this random prophecy.
For all the awesome treatment the gods receive, the Titans get nothing. They are bound together in a rather simplistic cage and all look exactly alike. Come on, these were the equals of the gods, they ruled before the Olympians got lucky and were able to lock them away. Here they are reduced to one group think personality and one look. What the hell? Where was Atlas, Prometheus, Oceanus, Rhea and the rest of their awesome brethren? Budget constraints I'm sure, but still they could have CGI'd something to differentiate the personalities. It was like the gods were fighting a hive of giant killer bees.
Mickey Rourke rocked it as Hyperion. He's mad, wily, vile and yet, maintains a shred of this twisted code of honor. Henry Cavill was pretty impressive as Theseus. I loved how he was the good son and a man determined to see to those less fortunate around him. Freida Pinto was flat as Phaedra. There were sparks, but nothing that made her stand out. To be fair, the character was written more as a pretty piece of eye candy rather than any kind of embodiment of intelligence and strength. It's a male dominated movie though, so most of the women are usually mothers, girlfriends or ugly ass bitches with 'tudes.
All in all Singh delivers a pretty good yarn that I would see again. But if you're going to go for testosterone fueled sword and sandals epics, go for 300. It's a far superior film. You not only get Michael Fassbender and Gerard Butler, but you get Lena Heady as Queen Gorgo, one of the strongest female characters ever created in a male dominated film.