Posts Tagged ‘remake’


April 16, 2010

An Active3D Movie Review: Clash of the Titans (the 2010 remake)

Rating (out of 5 stars): Zero

Having recently received the reissue DVD of the 1981 version of ‘Clash of the Titans’, I asked myself (before viewing this new version) why there was even a need to remake that splendid original epic, with its imaginative array of Ray Harryhausen creatures and its entertaining performances from a heavyweight cast which included Laurence Olivier, Claire Bloom, Maggie Smith, Ursula Andress, Harry Hamlin, Burgess Meredith and Flora Robson.

Now that I have seen the 2010 version, I ask myself the same question. But with tears in my eyes.

If you have even the slightest interest in Greek mythology, you will be offended by the liberties taken here. No one has decreed that the filmmakers be bound by those classical storylines, but then, if they didn’t like them, why didn’t they just make their own movie without any claims on Greek mythology? This travesty is akin to making a film purporting to be based upon Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ – just that, this time, the lovers survive and eventually retire to a villa in Spain…

My next target: the script, such as it is. A dry, witless and unimaginative piece of work that seems to have been written by a computer. On autopilot. To this unexciting document, the studio has attached a couple of fine actors (Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes) who clearly did it just for the money. Their presence alone does nothing to elevate the project. How could it? If the film crops up in their obituaries in years to come, it will only be as proof that they weren’t always as  selective with scripts as they should’ve been.

Then comes the rest of the cast; a raft of B actors that wouldn’t look out of place in an am-dram production in hell. This motley crew is headed up by Sam Worthington, who recently starred in ‘Avatar’. If Worthington has a facial expression other than “clenched jaw”, then I’ve yet to see it on the big screen. And his Ozzie accent grates. Yes, if the Greek Gods had existed, I’m sure that they wouldn’t have spoken English either, but the Ozzie accent seems entirely out of place – especially in light of the fact that no one else in the film speaks that way. “If oi do thes, oi do thes es a mehn…”

Hey, if Charlize Theron could do something about her tacky little Boksburg accent, then surely Mr Worthington could do something about his irritating bray…

And finally… the topic to which this blog is dedicated: 3-D. The film was shot in 2-D, and, only after it was made, Warner Brothers decided to capitalise upon the current 3-D craze. So, what did they do? They converted it to 3-D in post-production. Now, post-production 3-D is capable of being quite impressive, but it takes time to do properly. Ask George Lucas, who has spent years  converting ‘Star Wars’ to 3-D, for future release. With this production, the conversion process was rapidly executed over a few weeks – and it shows!

The 3-D effect is unbearably bad for at least three quarters of the film. Every now and then, a shot works in 3-D. The rest of the time I spent worrying whether the projector had been set up properly – or my eyes needed checking. I’m happy to report, however, that my eyes are quite functional, and the projector was working as it ought to have. I am less happy to report that this particular conversion to 3-D is a disgrace. After seeing the film, many may be turned off 3-D cinema, and conclude that there’s something wrong with the process, rather than the film itself.

I was bored and irritated by this carelessly flung together piece of filmmaking, but am even more disturbed by the damage this could do to the reputation of stereoscopic cinema. Tat Wolfen


Ashes to Ashes, Mud to Mud

October 8, 2009
Swamp Thing TV series

Sadly, the man who made the role of The Swamp Thing his own, won't be around to grace the 3-D remake with his presence.

While Warner Brothers busies itself putting together a 3-D remake of Wes Craven’s 1982 The Swamp Thing (based upon the DC Comics character), fans of the original film have been dealing with the death, on September 17th 2009, of the actor who played the creature in two films and a television series.

Dick Durock, a 6ft5 former Marine, passed away aged 72, at his home in Oak Park, California, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. His stoical struggle against the disease reflected, in a tragically ironic way, the tough-guy persona that he had so frequently assumed on the big screen.

The towering actor donned the latex bodysuit to play the monster in the 1982 original as well as its 1989 sequel, which was (quite logically) named The Return of Swamp Thing. He also starred in a subsequent Swamp Thing TV series that ran for 71 episodes, from 1990 to 1993. Although he’ll undoubtedly go down in movie history as “the Swamp dude”, the actor also appeared in loads of TV series, including Star Trek, Knight Rider, The A-Team, Quincy M.E., Magnum P.I., Married With Children, Dynasty, Battlestar Galactica and The Incredible Hulk.

Not one to limit himself to either boggy marshes or TV series, Durock also appeared in theatrical features such as Stand By Me and Silverado – invariably in brief roles, and playing brutes (what else would a 6ft5 ex-Marine play?). He was a pro stuntman, and performed daring physical feats for exciting big-screen attractions such as Die Hard: With a Vengeance and Runaway Train.

After Sandra Locke, Big D has probably appeared in more Clint Eastwood movies than any other actor. He was a terro in The Enforcer, fought fist-to-fist with Eastwood in an early scene of Any Which Way You Can and performed stunts for Bronco Billy. While Locke may have had better legs, few would dare suggest that she was better thespian…

Durock participates in a 'Q & A' at Fangoria's 'Weekend of Horrors' at the Renaissance Austin Hotel, in January, 2008. [Thanks to Flickr's Infidelpoptart for the photie.]

Durock participates in a 'Q & A' session at Fangoria's 'Weekend of Horrors' at the Renaissance Austin Hotel in January 2008. (Thanks to Flickr's Infidelpoptart for the photie.)

Durock’s fans had hoped that he’d have a cameo role in the 3-D remake of The Swamp Thing, or at least be a part of the excitement around its release, but sadly, the beloved old giant was called to that Great Big Swamp In The Sky before he was able to participate in any of the new film’s activities.

There is still a hope that some kind of on-screen homage will be paid to the cult hero in the new film. Dick Durock will be missed by his legions of fans.

‘Yellow Submarine’ to Resurface in 3-D

September 5, 2009

Yellow SubmarineRobert “Back to the Future”  Zemeckis is currently engaging with the folks at Disney regarding a 3-D remake of The Beatles’ animated psychedelic fantasy, Yellow Submarine .

It doesn’t sound like the worst of ideas, given that the story’s trippy nature is ideally suited to the medium of 3-D. One can only hope, however, that the original’s Swingin’ Sixties graphic style is preserved. If they go for a completely different look-and-feel, then why not go for a different story and band altogether? (Were Tim Burton, for example, to make an animated musical featuring a British band’s music, it wouldn’t surprise us if he chose The Smiths…)

Zemeckis is one of the prominent poster-boys of the current 3-D revival, and this feature will be his fourth crack at 3-D; his first having been 2004’s The Polar Express, which we didn’t see locally in 3-D as the 3-D version was only released in a handful of IMAX 3-D venues around the world.

The popular director’s second 3-D movie was the dreadful Beowulf, which we had the dubious honour of catching at local 3-D theatres. Zemeckis’s third 3-D effort is the Jim Carrey vehicle, A Christmas Carol, which opens in 3-D (and 2-D, for those who care) on November 6th 2009 – in the US, UK and SA simultaneously.

The producers are hoping that their Yellow Submarine remake will be ready to open in time for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Don’t get me started on the projects (a rapid rail system in particular) that the South African government promised to have ready and in place in time for the 2010 World Soccer cup in South Africa. A Hollywood studio, however, I’m more likely to believe than a bunch of bloated politicos…