— by JASON EAKEN —
Since the conclusion of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, Hollywood has been looking for an epic landscape to take its place. Inevitably based on well-established source material, the successor needs to move into new ground in terms of its battle sequences and visual dynamism, while remaining true to the classic universal themes of honor, love, and good vs. evil, all played out on a grand scale.
I want to believe in “Clash of the Titans” can succeed where others have failed. 2004’s “Troy” was an epic bore. “The Chronicles of Narnia” was a decent, but decidedly watered-down experience (as was its sequel). “Eragon” was unforgettably forgettable. “The Pirates of the Caribbean” series derailed itself and, anyway, qualifies as a “swashbuckler” more than the “sword-and-sandal” type.
And so here is the trailer for “Clash of the Titans.” What can we tell from this minute-long teaser? It’s got swords and sandals; so far so good. The action footage looks fantastic. Giants battles, one-on-one sword fights, huge scorpions; all of it rendered very nicely. It’s also got creature-villains that look like a cross between the orcs of “LOTR” and the peculiar creations of Guillermo Del Toro. As well, the epic dialogue seems to have the right tone and rhythm to it.
Look at the cast, starting with Liam Neeson as “Zeus” and Ralph Fiennes as “Hades” (with those two back together for the first time since “Schindler’s List”). Character actors Danny Huston and Pete Postlethwaite are here as well. And most of all, Sam Worthington (of “Terminator: Salvation” and “Avatar”), who is quickly becoming a mega-star.
In every way, this movie looks like a blockbuster. The trailer for Disney’s “Prince of Persia” was released recently as well. I didn’t much like that one. It’s big and loud, but has no real texture and seems in every way phony. “Clash of the Titans” comes out two months earlier and looks 10 times as good. And that’s just the teaser.
Follow Jason Eaken on Twitter at http://twitter.com/EAKEN.