'Clash of the Titans'
It's possible that this remake is the first film made worse by being in 3-DIt'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 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.
For one thing, as directed by action junkie Louis Leterrier ("Transporter 2," "Unleashed") and written by Travis Beachamand, Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, this "Clash" has dialogue so plodding a halfway decent line such as "You have insulted powers beyond your comprehension" sounds like something out of Noel Coward.
Obviously, no one comes to a movie like this for repartee, but even the action scenes, with ancient Greek hero Perseus ("Avatar's" Sam Worthington) facing off against a menagerie of mythical monsters, come off as lethargic.
Possibly because this film was converted to 3-D late in the game, the third dimension, especially in those action scenes, is more of a distraction than an enhancement. While some creatures, especially Pegasus the flying horse, flourish, 3-D clutters up the film's innumerable battles.
"Clash of the Titans" is also burdened by a numbskull plot notion. The idea is that though those ancient Greeks lived in a world where the gods were quite real and unimaginably powerful, these idiots decide to declare war on them.
Though it's not clear why they agreed to participate, having top actors play the gods -- Liam Neeson is Zeus! Ralph Fiennes is Hades! -- doesn't help things. Neeson looks lost in the costumes, and Fiennes, perhaps hoping no one will notice it's him, speaks largely in sinister whispers.
While the gods are going through their paces and bemoaning the absence of human worship, Perseus, a demi-god like his namesake Percy Jackson in the equally pedestrian "The Lightning Thief," is making his way in the world and discovering that he is the son of Zeus.
Perseus spends years with the adoptive fisherfolk parents Spyros and Marmara (the odd couple pairing of Pete Postlethwaite and Elizabeth Mc- Govern) who found him floating in the sea. Spyros is one of those fed-up-with-the-gods folks who is fond of ominously saying, "One day, someone is going to have to take a stand." Guess who?
Back in the Greek city of Athos, the anti-god movement is moving full steam ahead. Hades comes to town and puts a good scare into the populace, telling them that unless they sacrifice their beloved princess, Andromeda (Alexa Davalos), he will unleash the dreaded Kraken, and Athos will be destroyed.
Because he is the only demi-god in town and because he is irked beyond measure at the Olympians for their part in his parents' death, Perseus agrees to look for a way to kill the Kraken. He takes a crack team of warriors with him, including the canny veteran soldier Draco, nicely played by Mads Mikkelsen.
Guided by the ageless but attractive Io (Gemma Arterton) and dogged by the horrific Calibos (Jason Flemyng), Perseus and his pals take on an entire Noah's ark of inhuman adversaries, including enormous scorpions on steroids called scorpiochs and the deadly Medusa.
As played by Worthington, Perseus insists he wants to defeat Kraken as a man, not a god, which is a bit of wishful thinking that we all know can't be sustained forever. Neither, as it turns out, can our interest in this middling effort.
MPAA rating: PG-13 (for fantasy action violence, some frightening images and brief sensuality)
Cast: Sam Worthington (Perseus), Liam Neeson (Zeus), Ralph Fiennes (Hades), Alexa Davalos (Andromeda), Mads Mikkelsen (Draco)
Credits: Directed by Louis Leterrier; Laurence Olivier; written by Travis Beacham, Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi; produced by Basil Iwanyk, Kevin De La Noy.
A Warner Bros. Pictures release.
Running time: 1:58