Friday, 9 July 2010

Lessons learned from.....

Clash of the Titans (1981)

The Good:

A strong, powerful trigger to kick things off - Perseus and his mother are left for dead at sea (locked in a coffin). What makes this trigger work so well is that we see the immediate, vital effects (Argos is destroyed by the Kraken).

A very high-concept idea - Man vs all manner of mythological creatures. Also has the string-pulling element from the gods that make it even more compelling.

Good use of poetic licence - mythology is changed to suit the story: the origin of Pegasus, adaptation of Cerberus into a two headed dog (Dioskilos) et al.

Active protagonist - despite being controlled by the gods, Perseus takes an active role in the film, making the decision to seek out Andromeda and save her from Calibos et al.

The Bad:

Terrible exposition - the opening 10 minutes, which features a scene in Olympus are fairly horrible. Zeus systematically goes through each god present and tells us what their role is. We are then told straight away that Perseus is Zeus' son and his entire story.

Later on, a guard tells Perseus "we live in fear of [Calibos]". This not only breaks the sacred 'show, don't tell' rule, but also comes in the middle of a conversation that tells us (the audience) stuff we were shown not half an hour before. Boring.

The Ugly:

The acting - sorry, but I refuse to accept that Laurence Olivier was ever a good actor. Yes, I accept that I'm going to get lynched for this, but I've seen his Lear, his Othello, his Hamlet, and I don't like them. His Zeus is no better. There, I said it. The rest of the cast ain't great either. Except for Maggie Smith (always pretty decent). I haven't seen the remake, but I refuse to accept that Liam Neeson is even capable of bad acting. Ever.


Adaddinsane said...

I'm going to come out as well - I agree about Larry.

Scriptwrecked said...

A fun write-up, thanks. But come-on, Olivier a bad actor?

Anyone who can play an evil nazi in one role and a famed nazi hunter in another, with equal gravitas and believability, is a master of the craft in my book.

Neil said...

Good to know I'm not the only one out there who isn't a Olivier fan. I think we should certainly start a club. It would be massively exclusive (though not be choice methinks....)