Clash of the Titans: An obsession with 3D

The only depth to Clash of the Titans is its third dimension, and the only similarity between this new version and the original fantasy cult film is the title.

Clash of the Titans is the latest 3D feature to be screened in Egyptian cinemas and–as expected–it is making big bucks around the world. The question remains, however: Is the film worthy of its hype?

The new film is neither faithful to the Greek myth it’s based upon, nor to the Desmond Davis, 1980s original. The plot follows Perseus (Sam Worthington), a demigod and son of Zeus (Liam Neeson), mighty king of the Greek gods, who goes on a revenge mission against Hades (Ralph Fiennes), god of the Underworld. Perseus must bring the head of Medusa in order to kill a sea monster called the Kraken. Doing so will not only save the city of Argos from the feared monster, but will weaken Hades enough for Perseus to send him back to where he belongs: the Underworld.

Aside from the money-magnet spectaculars of its 3D footage, Clash of the Titans becomes tangled up in its action scenes which dominate the plot, failing to deliver the basics of filmmaking: a story line. For the most part, the acting is dull, characters are one-sided–the loving father, the great warrior, the beautiful woman–and the actors do not manage to engage with their audience.

Sam Worthington became an A-lister after his role in Avatar and a trademark of 3D films, but does that make him a good actor? Neither do the Oscar-nominees Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes measure up to their reputation. The only redeeming feature of the film is its action sequences, which are well-planned and nicely shot thanks to action director Louis Leterrier (Transporter 2, The Incredible Hulk).

Fans of the original Titans will find very little to reminisce about, and will miss most of their favorite characters who were either cut or reduced to secondary roles. Greek mythology buffs won’t be happy about the film either, due to the extensive re-writing of the myth of Perseus, which includes adding the Kraken, a fearsome Norwegian beast, to the cocktail (also featured in the 1980s original).

Although 3D film technology has been used in cinemas for some years, a newly-found obsession with 3D features has been gripping cinema theaters worldwide of late. The technique has undergone development in recent years to create a more realistic 3D effect enabling more realistic characterization in previous efforts. This, however, was not the case with Clash of the Titans, which was shot as a regular 2D feature and then converted to 3D after shooting finished.

The worldwide success of James Cameron’s 3D sci-fi extravaganza Avatar  caused a frenzy in the cinema industry: All the upcoming sequels for popular series including Harry Potter, Men in Black and Toy Story are to be released in 3D. New films too, such as the Green Hornet and Legend of The Guardians, are receiving the 3D treatment, and finally, like Clash of the Titan’s, some projects that were already shot using regular cameras are now having a third dimension added to them.

Even Egyptian cinema producers are rumored to be planning a 3D film starring Egyptian actress Ghada Adel, although it remains to be seen how well such an idea will work out in an industry that doesn’t produce 3D-appropriate genres such as sci-fi or fantasy.

Clash of the Titans opened in Egyptian cinemas earlier this month, and is currently showing at Ramses Hilton, Golden Stars, Galaxy, Stars Cinema, el-Salam Concorde Cinema, el-Haram, and Odeon.

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