23 April 2010

Crash of the Titans

Although not a complete train wreck, there is no denying that the 2010 remake of the Classics classic 'Clash of the Titans' is certainly a multiple car pile up.


Louis Letterier has spoiled it.

I have a very fond recollection of Desmond Davis original, from Ray Harryhausens beautiful stop motion animation, to Vida Taylors beautiful bare arse as she and the young Perseus are washed up on a island at the start of the film.

Harry Hamlin may have been a bit wooden, but his constant look of bewilderment helps endear us to a mortal coming to terms with the fact that he might actually be a God.

Sam Worthington is just shit. In theory he has this 'everyman quality' which is why we have seen him come from nowhere to staring in Avatar, Terminator, and now this. He's cut from the same cloth as countryman Russell Crowe, but unfortunately it's the off cuts at the end of the roll.

From the outset the film veered strongly away from the original, in a plot that just made no sense at times.

In a summary of the 80's classic...

Beautiful Andromeda is engaged to demi-god and son of Godess Thetis, Calibos.
Calibos pisses of Zeus by hunting and killing all but one of his herd of flying horses, so he turns him into a hideous monster. With the wedding off, Thetis puts a curse on Andromeda that no man may marry her without solving a riddle - the answer to which is a ring on her disfigured sons hand.
Cue Harry Hamlin. He fancies a bit of Andromeda action, so connives to solve the riddle, and cuts off Calibos' hand.
Calibos now even more pissed off begs his mum to take revenge on Harry/Perseus. She can't because he's Zeus's son, so vows to destroy Andromedas home town instead, by unleashing the Kraken in 30 days unless Andromeda is sacrificed.
Stygian witches and a Medusa later, and the Kraken is dead, and Perseus and Andromeda live happily ever after.

Back to 2010 and it's all a bit different...

Perseus is now pissed off with Zeus's brother Hades for killing his family in a fishing accident.
Hades is pissed off with his brother because Zeus gets to wear ethereal shiny armour, and he has male pattern baldness and has to live in the dingy underworld.
Hades vows to destroy Andromedas home because she has a gobby mother, but we don't really care about her, and neither does Perseus, as he's spotted the much fitter Io, who bears more than a passing resemblance to the also fitter than Andromeda, Gemma Arterton.
Grumpy Perseus and a not so merry band of soldiers head off in search of a way to stop Hades pet sea monster.

Why he doesn't just tell them to go fuck themselves and shack up with Io, I'll never know.

But off they jolly well go, until their path is hampered by Calibos.

Only this time Calibos isn't the son of a Godess, he's King Acrisius - husband of Perseus's mother but not his Dad! Sneaky Zeus had got the Queen up the duff, and Acrisus in a fit of rage chucked his wife and son into the sea in a wooden box at the start of the film...

Via the same route of Stygian witches, Medusa, and a (black) Pegasus we still get to see Perseus defeat the Kraken, and save Andromeda but he doesn't care about her, and neither do we.

Instead we see him reunited with a (killed by Calibos in Act III), Io. Resurrected by Zeus as a 'thanks for bitch slapping my brother - I couldn't be arsed to do it myself', despite the fact that she was apparently immortal anyway....


I want Burgess Merideth, Booboo the mechanical owl, and a Medusa that looks 10 times scarier as a stop motion plasticine monster than as an expensive CGI monstrosity.

I want a Mount Olympus populated by Knights and Dames of the acting world wearing their best togas, not an armoured Irish Zeus with his wrinkles inexplicably airbrushed out.

I don't want post production 3D that just doesn't work. It was no more 3D than a pop up children's book. A layer in the foreground, a layer in the middle distance, and then a back drop. 3D objects are exactly that, 3 dimensionnal. They are not just a couple of 2D objects placed a little distance away from each other.

In some parts it became overly distracting, particularly in close ups where people appeared to be stood in front of a second version of themselves. Peering over the top of the 3D glasses confirmed just that. All the acting (if you can call it that) is strictly 2D, with the CGI effects mashed in to try and give some depth.

Normally when I see a film like this I can take some solace in the fact that it's all just a bit of silly nonsense. Escapist tosh that it really doesn't matter if the plot leaks like the back four at Blundell Park, or the effects are a bit clunky - provided it's fun.

But sadly this is not. It takes itself far too fucking seriously and has all the charm of Piers Morgan, tanked up on WKD Blue, out on the pull in a Cleethorpes nightclub, with Richard Littlejohn as his wingman.

If you've not seen it yet, don't waste your money at the cinema - wait until it's on Sky and watch it as it was shot, in 2D - then yearn for the original, and just be glad they haven't done it to any your other favourites such as The Birds, Death Wish, Gremlins, Robocop, Westworld, Escape From New York, Flash Gordon, The Black Hole.....

...sorry...what's that?...They're ALL IN PRODUCTION AS WE SPEAK?

God in heaven help us.

Because the ones on Mount Olympus are all shit.

13 April 2010

Facebook fatigue 2

I've been a bit quiet lately. Mostly because I've been generally happy with the World, and also because I've been a little bit busy, and a little bit lazy, but today someone annoyed me off and pushed me into a grump that I have to get off my chest.

Not for the first time, I'm pissed off with Facebook, or more's the point, some Facebook users.

Nothing is guaranteed to annoy me more in the morning than logging in to find one of my 'friends' has posted something like

"Why do we send so much money to overseas charities when we have children in the UK going to bed hungry??? Charity should begin at home!!! I bet 90% of people aren't brave enough to copy this post onto their status!!!"

Just like 90% of us aren't brave racist enough to goosestep our way down to the local BNP office wearing our best pointy white hood.

Not only is it pretty rare to see an underfed British child, there really is no reason for children in the UK to go to bed hungry. We have a welfare system that although not perfect, means that children should not starve. If they've got no dinner money, it's probably because they spent it on a shitty polyphonic N Dubz ringtone. If there's no food in the cupboard at home, check how much money Mum has spent on scratch cards and fags, or how much Dad has pissed up the wall.

And isn't it nearly always the same whiny wastes of space that write this shit. The same ones that moan that the council have messed up their benefits, or that they had to wait hours to see a GP., or that their council house isn't good enough.

Easy for me to say I suppose, I'm lucky enough to have a reasonably well paid job and my own home.

I was lucky enough to not bunk off school, and get a few A levels, to train as a nurse where I got a bursary, not a salary or a grant. £1,000 every three months for food and accommodation. Not a university student with a few hours of lectures a week. Full time study, mixed with full time work. Weekends were to either study and write assignments, or work Bank shifts to subsidise my income.

I was lucky enough to qualify saddled with debts, which after several years I managed to get under control enough to buy a house with Mrsslippy.

Our own home? No. It's the belongs to the bank, and will do for another 20 years until we pay off the enormous debt we are now in - it's called a mortgage.

Yeah - lucky.

And yet still I give my money to feed underprivileged children, house the homeless, treat the sick, and rightly so.

It's called taxation. Those of us who work for a living pay it. A chunk of my salary goes into National Insurance, a bit more into Income Tax, and another chunk to the council.

I've never had to claim unemployment benefit, child benefit, need complex hospital care. A few trips to the GP now and again, but I know full well that the prescription charges I pay would have covered the cost of the antibiotics 100 times over - that's what enables those on expensive drugs to pay the same charges.

And I'm happy to pay my tax. It means that those less fortunate than me through no fault of their own can receive food, shelter and medical treatment.

I believe that if a child is going hungry, then it's most likely down to neglectful parenting. These fuckers that demand more for kids at home are demanding more funding, which means more taxes - but then they would - they don't put into the national kitty in the first place, just take, take take from the bottomless money jar that the rest of us fill up.

If I donate to overseas charities, it can save lives.


That same money was taken as tax, it wouldn't stop children going hungry - even if it did go directly into child benefit. Parents who don't want to care for their children won't. The only way to resolve that is tighter monitoring. More social workers. More interfering Nanny State that the whiners don't want. There have been tragic failings, but these have been down to mismanagement, not penny pinching.

So when they say that we should look after our own first are they really saying we should pay more taxes, and interfere more in family affairs, or that the rest of the world can fuck off as far as they are concerned?

I honestly think it's the latter. The 'acceptable face' of racism.

Well guess what? It's not acceptable.

A child dies of malaria every 30 seconds. That's probably 4 or 5 since you've been reading this. A mosquito net costs £5.

They can't buy them for themselves because they have no money. They haven't blown it on ringtones and scratchcards. They can't go to their Government and ask for one, because they have no money either. Not because they are lazy, but because the countries natural resources have been stripped away from them. They've been fleeced with ridiculous loans from the World Bank. Natural disasters and famines have decimated what quality they ever had. They rely on the kindness of strangers to get them back on their feet. Not to provide them with luxuries - just the basic needs to sustain life.

Is that really too much to ask?

If the government asks me to pay more tax, I will pay more. If there are people dying in the World I will help. I won't donate all my worldly goods, but I'll give what I can comfortably spare.

I know the people who post this sort of bigotry won't give anything - but don't you dare try to suggest that the rest of us shouldn't either.

I've started binning off people that post this bollocks. I used to keep them on out of morbid curiosity as to what Daily Fail sponsored shite they'll come out with next, but it's giving me bad ju-ju, so it's time to cut them loose.

If I've offended you, then so be it.

You offended me first. Take your casual racism, your farmville, your fish world, your pokes, gifts, bejewelled high score, and fuck off.

And another 3 children have died of malaria...