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Aliens vs Monsters

hollywood Updated: Sep 18, 2010 00:17 IST

Hindustan Times
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The Clash of the Titans
Big Home Video/Warner Brothers, Rs 599

For old-timers, this epic story may be the myth of Perseus, half-human half-product of yet another of Zeus’ trans-species picadilloes, and how he waged war against the gods of Mount Olympus. But for those holding on to the bucket of popcorn in front of their telly, this 2010 remake of the 1981 classic by Desmond Davis is a clash between CGI technology and flesh and blood mortals dressed up as ancient Greeks and even more ancient gods. And what a rollicking clash it is!

Despite the revolutionary stop motion animation in the original by Oscar-winning special effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen, the original film starring Laurence Olivier as Zeus and Harry Hamlin as Perseus looks a bit dated. The new ‘COTT’, with a more grungy Perseus (Sam Worthington) and a downright menacing Hades (Ralph Fiennes) is really hot, by which we mean cool. French director Louis Letterier, maker of the two Transporter movies — you know, the ones in which Brit man Jason Statham plays a driver-cum-delivery man for hire — knows the power of fab SFX. So his giant scorpions in the desert, winged horse Pegasus, snake-haired slithery Gorgon Medusa and, above all, the gargantuan worm-from-Frank Herbert’s Dune-like Kraken are believable because of their fantastic possibilities.

The story, packed with an Oedipal surge, finds Perseus on a mission in which the gods seem like a resurgent al-Qaeda (although Liam Neeson in a shiny armour-jacket thing as Zeus looks more like a cryogenically frozen disco-hippie than a man who chucks around thunderbolts). The emotional quotient of the movie is nearly nil and highpoints towards the beginning when Perseus’ foster family of fisherfolks gets wiped out in collateral damage between a skirmish between the army of a Greek king and the gods. But honestly, this is cinema old-style: what matters is what you see, not what you follow in the story line.