I hope everyone has had a fantastic long weekend.  Mine’s been pretty good – plenty of golf and plenty of movies.  Plenty of sleep too.


Clash Of The Titans – Good Movie Or Good Marketing?


Clash Of The Titans was the number 1 movie at the box-office in the United States with an estimated take in the States is around $61m.  I believe it’s also top in Australia but am just trying to confirm.


So does this mean it was good film?  Absolutely not!  I saw it last Thursday night and couldn’t believe the laughter coming from the audience during some parts of the movie.  The “ease your storm” line will go down in movie folklore as one of the worst.


I don’t think I’m in the minority with my assessment of Clash Of The Titans but the film is hanging in there with a 6.8 out of 10 average grading on the Internet Movie Database.  31% of critics have also given it the thumbs up on Rotten Tomatoes (which may sound low but it’s still surprising given my own thoughts).  I’m just trying to point out that there are some people who have liked it.


I sound like a broken record but there are times when I just can’t understand what goes through the minds of the public.  There are plenty of other good movies in release at the moment.  Why is it that a film like Clash Of The Titans can do so well?  Is it because of all the TV advertisements, movie trailers and posters?  Is it because people are still going ga-ga over 3D?  Is it because it’s being sold as a huge action blockbuster and that’s what people want to see on the big screen these days?  Maybe it’s a combination of all of these reasons.  Maybe there are other factors I’m not thinking of.


Good 3D v Bad 3D


When I walked up to ticket counter at the Event Cinemas in the Myer Centre on Thursday night, I asked for one ticket to Clash Of The Titans.  I was then told the cost was $20.  That my friends is what’s called a “rip off”.  My normal discount card gets me in for $8.50 at the Myer Centre but no such discounts are on offer for any 3D movies.


Many months ago, I wrote about why cinemas need to charge more for 3D.  The projectors are extremely expensive and they have to recover their costs somehow.  It’s the movie studios themselves who end up with the majority of the takings.


My main beef is not with big cinema chains (at least not this time).  I’d gladly pay $20 to see a 3D movie… provided that it gives you a 3D experience!  The two best examples I have this year are Avatar and How To Train Your Dragon.  These two movies were always meant to be in 3D and were filmed as such.  They take full advantage of the format.


In contrast, there are movies like Alice In Wonderland and Clash Of The Titans.  These movies were originally shot in 2D and had the 3D added later on using special effects.  You can tell the difference.  With Clash Of The Titans, the 3D adds next-to-nothing.  There were no scenes where I sat back in my seat saying “wow”.  Warner Brothers is just cashing in on the gimmick.


The only thing that irked me about the cinema I went to is that the 2D version was not offered.  If you do have a desire to see Clash Of The Titans let me strongly suggest you save your cash and find a cinema which is showing it in 2D.


With more and more studios trying to ride the 3D bandwagon, I hope this doesn’t become commonplace.  My plea to studios is that if you want to make a 3D movie then plan it that way!  Don’t use it as a “bolt on” during post-production.  The public will wise up eventually… or so I’d like to hope.


You can read more on this in a better written summary from the great film columnist Anne Thompson right here.


Leading critic Roger Ebert has been much more critical of the 3D format.  He recently said that “3-D is a distracting, annoying, anti-realistic, juvenile abomination to use as an excuse for higher prices.”  I disagree in that some films are better in 3D (e.g. Avatar) but I respect his opinion a great deal.


An April Fool’s Joke


My weekly review spot on 612ABC Brisbane happened to fall on 1 April this year.  Spencer Howson came up with the idea of reviewing a fake film to see if we could “fool” anyone.  You can listen to it by clicking right here.


If you don’t have audio, here’s a quick summary of the review that Spencer and I put together before the show…



I've reviewed some pretty strange movies in my time but I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite like this.


Tunnel Vision is a locally made Brisbane film and I’m always happy to support to the local film industry.  But don’t go expecting a cast filled with household names.  In fact, there’s no actual cast.  There aren’t even any locations!


Dutch filmmaker Sloop Lirpa was granted permission to attach a camera to the front of Florence, the boring machine that dug the north-south side of the Clem-7 tunnel.  Filming commenced in December 2007 and went through until April last year.


I love a good film score but sadly, Tunnel Vision doesn’t deliver in that department.  The soundtrack is pretty much the constant grinding of the machine.  It’ll really test your patience.  You may want to take own music player to help drown out the noise. 


I hate to give away the finale but I think we all know how this is going to end.  Florence broke through at Shafston Avenue on 16 April 2009.  There are bright lights and you can make out the sea of photographers waiting on the other side.  And that’s pretty much it.


But what makes this film is its experimental nature.  How long will you be sitting in the movie theatre waiting for the tunnel to bore through?  It is 10 minutes? 30 minutes? 90 minutes? 3 hours?  That’s a secret I won’t reveal.  Like The Crying Game and The Sixth Sense, do see it before someone spoils it for you.


I have to admit I almost walked out.  I’m glad I didn’t though.  I had the stamina to make it through and I now feel like I passed a test or joined a club.


So yes, this film will appeal to a very niche audience.  See it with friends.  Egg each other on.  Take bets on when the boring machine will break through.  Trust me, that scene is worth the wait.


It’s very hard to grade a film like this since we all have different tastes.  Some will give it an A.  Others will give it an F.  So I’ll just have to go with both and give it an A F.



A few were taken in by the joke.  The weekend presenter on 612ABC, Warren Boland, was keen to get the film’s director in for his own show.  I’m not much of a practical joker but it was fun to do.


Oh, and whilst I did also see Clash Of The Titans on April 1, my savage criticisms were NOT a joke.