Clash of the Titans

May 25, 2010 | 9:37 p.m.

Effects wizard Ray Harryhausen celebrated by academy exhibit in L.A.

Susan King, our Hero Complex specialist on classic Hollywood, caught up with effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen by phone recently. Here’s her report on their animated conversation: Retired special-effects wizard Ray Harryhausen — who celebrates his 90th birthday on June 29 — was something close to a one-man operation when it came to creating movie magic. And what magic he created with the rhedosaurus from “The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms,“ the cyclops from “The 7th Voyage of Sinbad,” the skeleton army from “Jason and the Argonauts” and Medusa from the original “Clash of the Titans.” Harryhausen was the one drawing, storyboarding, creating the models and then moving his creatures one frame at a time in order to achieve the memorable on-screen motion. Harryhausen’s innovation was “Dynamation,” a technique that allowed his models to be integrated into live-action footage. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and […]
April 13, 2010 | 12:37 a.m.

Richard D. Zanuck, a Hollywood legend too busy for nostalgia

This is a longer version of my Los Angeles Times Sunday Calendar cover on Hollywood producer Dick Zanuck, who is having quite the year with “Alice in Wonderland,” “Clash of the Titans” and “Book of Eli.” I interviewed Zanuck last year on the set of “Alice,” a few months later on the set of “Clash” and on several occasions here in Los Angeles.   Growing up with the last name Zanuck in Old Hollywood was just like real life — only different. As a youngster, Richard D. Zanuck had to sell copies of the Saturday Evening Post to learn the value of hard work. “Of course,” Zanuck said with a wink, “my dad did have a chauffeur take me to pick up the papers.” And even though Zanuck says he never played “catch on the beach” with his dad, he knew his […]
April 05, 2010 | 9:10 p.m.

‘Clash of the Titans’ make an epic return

As decisions go, it was the same kind that faced the 1970s souls who had to pick just the right warlock-and-serpent mural for their customized van. Should the Pegasus be white or black? Maybe glowing red eyes too? And what if — instead of noble feathers — the mighty steed of myth came with a killer pair of bat wings? That was one of the choices French filmmaker Louis Leterrier wrestled with last summer on the set of “Clash of the Titans,” the Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures adventure that just pulled in $105.6 million worldwide in its opening weekend. On a crisp, blue-sky afternoon in a soundstage outside London, the tall, slender director watched with intense focus as his star, Sam Worthington, bulled his wall through the panicked streets of Argos on his way to meet destiny while carrying […]
April 02, 2010 | 4:11 a.m.

Turan review: ‘Clash of the Titans’ has ‘distracting’ 3-D and ‘clunky’ action

As early crowds settle in to see the movie, Los Angeles Times movie critic Kenneth Turan weighs in on “Clash of the Titans” with little enthusiasm about the remake of the “creaky” 1981 stop-motion animated classic. It’s doubtful that records are kept about this sort of thing, but consider the possibility that “Clash of the Titans” is the first film to actually be made worse by being in 3-D. Not that this remake of the creaky 1981 original, best remembered for a slumming Laurence Olivier and Ray Harryhausen’s stop-motion animation monsters, was ever going to be something to write home about. At least not for anyone older than 10. For one thing, as directed by action junkie Louis Leterrier (“Transporter 2,” “Unleashed”) and written by Travis Beacham and Phil Hay & Matt Manfredi, this “Clash” has dialogue so plodding that a […]
April 01, 2010 | 12:16 a.m.

‘Clash of the Titans’ is next up to make the 2-D to 3-D jump, and there are doubters

In his Word of Mouth column, Times Hollywood reporter John Horn discusses the continuing trend of 3-D films. As “Clash of the Titans” prepares to debut, the glut of films and scarcity of screens, along with the quality of films converted from 2-D to 3-D, may soon come into question among filmgoers. Here’s an excerpt:  It worked for classic children’s literature. The signs look equally promising for Greek mythology. Hollywood’s stereoscopic crusade has led several studios to rush to retrofit two-dimensional movies into 3-D releases. While some smaller companies dabbled in the conversion strategy before with mixed results — such as 2007’s “Battle for Terra” — so far only two studios have finished rebooting movies originally conceived and shot as 2-D titles. The first, Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland,” is a massive hit, with a domestic gross approaching $300 million. A whopping third or […]
March 30, 2010 | 1:42 p.m.

‘Clash of the Titans’ director and Hero Complex in Santa Monica on Thursday

“Clash of the Titans” hits theaters Friday with an epic scale and spirit of adventure that jumps off the screen, and not just because of the 3-D effects. The film and its director, Louis Leterrier, make a strong visual statement — and you can hear Leterrier talk about that and more Thursday night at the Apple Store on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. I’ll be interviewing Leterrier on stage for about an hour starting at 6:30 p.m., and I’ll save some of that time to take questions from the audience. “Clash” could be a major career turning point for the 36-year-old Paris native who also directed “The Incredible Hulk,” “The Transporter” and “Transporter 2.” I’ll also talk to him about the surging Hollywood interest in 3-D, his “Clash” cast (led by Sam Worthington, Ralph Fiennes and Liam Neeson)  and the future […]
March 29, 2010 | 12:52 p.m.

‘Clash of the Titans,’ ‘Red Dawn’ and ‘A-Team’ lead 1980s encore at theaters

Rachel Abramowitz goes back to the future to look at Hollywood’s big-time interest in the 1980s. Actor-writer-director Jorma Taccone remembers with loving fondness the gear montage from almost every ’80s action flick of his youth — Rambo movies and “Die Hard” and the “entire canon” of Arnold Schwarzenegger. “It’s people putting the big Bowie knife into the sheath, the shell belts over the chest, click-clacking the gun. It was a quintessential awesome moment. It has permeated the minds of people who grew up in that era. There are entire websites dedicated to the gear-up montage.” Of course, Taccone has included several choice gear-up moments in his new film “MacGruber,” based on the “Saturday Night Live” skits and starring Will Forte and Kristen Wiig. Opening May 21, “MacGruber” pays homage to the action films of the Reagan years. But Taccone is […]
March 26, 2010 | 7:33 p.m.

‘Clash of the Titans’ says it loud: A Pegasus that is black and proud

Screenwriters Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi had a Herculean task with “Clash of the Titans” — how do you hold on to the heroic touchstones from the beloved (but now wildly dated) 1981 original film and still make a 21st century special-effects spectacular for this modern ironic age? It turns out one way was making Pegasus black.  I sat down with them for sandwiches at Little Dom’s to separate myth from fact as far as the new epic, which is due in theaters April 2. — Geoff Boucher   GB: Going into this project, what did you know you wanted to avoid? What were the things you didn’t want to see in your revival of “Clash of the Titans“? MM: We knew that tonally it should not be grim. It shouldn’t be ponderous. It had to have a sense of fun and a sense that […]
Dec. 19, 2009 | 4:41 p.m.

‘Clash of the Titans’ done shooting? That’s a myth

“Clash of the Titans” is getting more epic — and perhaps 3-D. I talked to Sam Worthington backstage last night at The Envelope’s special screening of “Avatar” and the subject turned to “Clash of the Titans,” the fantasy adventure due in March from director Louis Leterrier, Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. The 33-year-old actor said that Warners, pleased with what they saw of Leterrier’s work, had increased the budget for the film. “We’re going to be going back and shooting more scenes for it, they cut loose with some money so we can add to it,” Worthington told me as we sat in the green room. He was obviously very enthused about the studio’s decision. Sigourney Weaver, Worthington’s costar in “Avatar” and a friend of Leterrier’s, was sitting next to us and listening in as well.   Worthington went on: “We’re going to […]
Dec. 11, 2009 | 6:04 p.m.

‘Percy Jackson’ and ‘Clash of the Titans’ draw on same Greek myths but with epic differences

This is a longer version of my cover story in this upcoming Sunday Calendar section of the Los Angeles Times. — G.B. There were inscriptions written above the entrance of the Temple of Apollo at the Oracle of Delphi, and the two most famous ones were cautionary words of wisdom: “Know thyself” and “Nothing too much.” Those bits of ancient advice are worth considering as two Hollywood studios hope to launch film franchises that use Greek mythology as the unlikely premise for popcorn entertainment. “These are the stories that began storytelling in many ways,” director Louis Leterrier said a few months ago on the London set of his “Clash of the Titans,” the Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures epic that arrives in theaters in March with Sam Worthington as Perseus, Liam Neeson as Zeus and Ralph Fiennes as Hades. “These are […]
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