There was competition in the theatre for me this holiday weekend – in the one corner was a toothless (sometimes) dragon and in the other was a Kraken. While one rolled over and purred at a scratch under the chin, the other did not. On was in 3D, the other could have been but I downgraded him down a D and I think it was a wise decision. Reports of Clash of the Titans in 3D have not been complimentary and so I heeded the advice. As a result, I didn’t think it was too bad – not anywhere near approaching the original but then I wasn’t expecting it to. The men’s tunics were short. Possibly too short for full-on battles with giant speedy scorpions. They were distracting. As was Sam Worthington’s acting. I think I prefer him blue, with pointy ears and a wriggly tail.
The outfits in How to Train your Dragon were hardly any more suitable for a climate where it snows for 9 months of the year and hails for the remining three. Neverthless, this was a film without an original with which to compare it and I thoroughly enjoyed every animated pixel of it. My only complaint with this film is that there could have been more. Certain scenes were breathtaking – especially inside the dragons’ nest – but tantalising glimpses afforded by brief bursts of flame were not enough. The dragon flights and the final battle were spectacular and I was literally on the edge of my seat, just like the little children around me. Fortunately, I had a beer to relax with, they had fizz with loads of sugar in it.
I saw How to Train Your Dragon on the Thursday and Clash of the Titans on Friday and, therefore, it struck me that there were some similar themes, not least of which was the Bad Father. Admittedly, Zeus generally chose rape as his seduction method and so Perseus’ suspicion of his father was well-based. This feeling would be exacerbated by his mother having died as a consequence, his adopted mother and father being murdered by his uncle Hades and his mother’s husband trying to bite his arm off while crushing his comrades’ heads. Hiccup likewise has no mother and a father whose preferred method of communication is a belch and a hearty thump to the back. The big difference between Perseus and Hiccup is that I liked Hiccup and enjoyed my time in his company. Perseus did try to crack an occasional joke but you could tell it hurt. Hiccup, like his dragon, charmed and was genuinely very funny.
The imagination behind How to Train Your Dragon was a real joy to behold – the array of colourful dragons (each with a deadly weapon to destroy Vikings in one fell swoop) was ingenious and much more breathtaking than Clash of the Titans’ pantheon of gods. Most of whom did very little. Apollo spoke once, the goddesses were just decoration. It was impossible not to compare Liam Neeson’s Zeus with Sean Bean’s in Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief – and I did prefer Liam Neeson – but the magnificent Poseidon of Percy Jackson had no competition from Clash’s Titans.
If you have a couple of hours in which to escape the spring rain, you could do far worse than spending your time with Hiccup and Toothless and some stupid sheep and you could do infinitely better than watching Perseus’ humourless trudge towards Clash’s inevitable conclusion. The most unforgivable moment of Clash for me was the horrible homage to the original in the shape of Bubo the Owl, stuffed (in a manner of speaking) in a chest and discarded by brutes. Gemma Arterton’s appearance troubled me but I think this was because there was not a drop of chemistry with Sam Worthington – also, she didn’t have much to work with. Nice sandals, though.
As for the battle of the giants – the monster dragon escaping the hive was a far more fearsome foe, and the battle much more thrilling, than anything the Kraken and Perseus could offer me.