Leonard Cohen: Bird on a Wire
Palmer's film is that rare concert doc that isn't for established fans only.
There are too many Greek gods for me to keep straight, since as a child I didn't have action figures as a learning tool. I was prepared to take notes during "Clash of the Titans" but only wrote down a single one: "Release the Kraken!" — Conan O'Brien. I know I was intended to be terrified by the release of the Kraken, but all I could think of was O'Brien shouting "Release the bear!" and then some guy in a bear suit runs out and sits on the lap of a guest. In this case, the Kraken is the nuclear option for Zeus, who has been persuaded by Hades to put down a revolt by the upstart mortals of Argos.
The mortals are fed up with the whims of the gods. It would be one thing if they stayed on Olympus and killed time leaning on pillars and addressing one another in thundering ultimatums. Now they meddle in the affairs of men. King Acrisius of Argos declares war, and enlists the aid of a demi-god who has been found at sea. This is Perseus (Sam Worthington), son of Zeus (Liam Neeson) and a human mother. He didn't ask to be a savior but would be happier as a simple fisherman. You know the type.
Zeus, it should be explained, disguised himself as the husband of Perseus' mother and stole into her bedchamber to father the boy. So he is a rapist. Just sayin'. Perseus so loved his mother and adoptive father that he will never forgive Poseidon for drowning them and wants nothing to do with gods. Yet such is his destiny.
The outcome is told in "Clash of the Titans" with impressive technical mastery and somewhat lesser dramatic command. For its intended audience, I suspect this will play as a great entertainment. I enjoyed myself, particularly after they released the Kraken. There's no particular dramatic conflict in the movie; Perseus has to wrestle with his demi-god ambiguity; Hades (Ralph Fiennes) nurses a resentment against Zeus; he demands the sacrifice of King Acrisius' daughter Andromeda (Alexa Davalos) to spare the city, and the citizens seem prepared to get along very nicely without her. That's about it.