A fun “Clash” needs a viewing advisory
The original “Clash of the Titans” from 1981 was noteworthy for being the last of legendary stop-motion pioneer Ray Harryhausen’s films (he also did “The 7th Voyage of Sinbad” and “Jason and the Argonauts”), but this latest digital version super-sizes everything and makes for a fun, dazzling thrill ride. Despite its 3-D technology, some fascinating CGI-created monsters and impressive set designs, this update’s Achilles heel is its pervasive and dizzying, shot-too-tight camera technique.
This is a shame because “Clash of the Titans” is a perfect father/teenage son slice of sword and sorcery epic. Constant battle scenes without gore, masculine heroes, and some beautiful women worth fighting for abound. (If you choose to see the film-forego the 3-D and sit in the back of the theater for maximum enjoyment.)
This “Clash” does a good job of laying out all the important Greek characters while focusing on Perseus (Sam Worthington), a demi-god by way of natural father Zeus (Liam Neeson). Raised by humans after being found afloat in a coffin, Perseus shuns his celestial inheritance but is called upon to save the people of Argos, and more specifically Princess Andromeda (Alexa Davalos).
Perseus and his small band fight against oversized desert scorpions, and contend with creepy eyeless witches. Ultimately they team up with zombie nomads and cross the River Styx to defeat the Medusa who holds the key to killing the Kraken-a gigantic sea creature controlled by Hades. (A barely recognizable Ralph Fiennes, who’s given away by his typically somnambulant delivery.) In a murky plot point, Zeus helps his son succeed but still acquiesces to Hades and releases the monstrous beast-though reconciliation between Father and Son comes as no surprise.
Worthington continues his career path as the new Russell Crowe, with a solid if not dominating performance. He’s not helped by a short, marine style haircut (leftover from “Avatar” perhaps?) and an even shorter skirt. There are plenty of one-liners, many delivered by fine Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen (“Casino Royale”), which allows some much needed breathing room between the dazzling action sequences.
If you don’t mind the feeling that through much of “Clash of the Titans” you are watching from the front row, this adaptation is a modestly entertaining diversion with plenty of highlights and no 3-D required.
Rated PG-13 for fantasy action violence, some frightening images and brief sensuality.