Clash of the Titans

3 out of 5 stars
Clash of the Titans

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Release the Neeson! Let 3-D-addled kids salivate over a kraken; there’s a huger, hammier monster ruling Mount Olympus, smashing down his scepter and making the whole camera shake (“They reward my love—with defiance!”). Such Zod-like moments render this updated Clash of the Titans deliciously dumb and, let’s face it, no worse than the original 1981 shlockfest. Zeus (Neeson) is unhappy with mankind’s uppitiness; he enlists estranged brother Hades (Fiennes, never to be outdone for drama) to swirl up an ash storm, making the haughty queen (Polly Walker) wrinkle with age while he mutters the equally awesome, “You have insulted powers beyond your comprehension.” (Bosses and parents should see this film just for the magnificent put-downs.)

Alas, it all comes off as hit and myth, mainly due to our leaden, buzz-cut hero, Perseus (Avatar’s Worthington, no Harry Hamlin), and zero sparks of heavenly-body chemistry or humor. Audiences will flock to the movie for its colossal effects, and even if this Medusa slinks around better than Ray Harryhausen’s stop-motion stunner from the first go-round, she’s still trapped in a video game. The action is cleanly cut, however, and some giant scorpions steal the show. For a Hollywood tent pole, this is remarkably anti-theist—we’re definitely supposed to be on the side of bitter Perseus, out for dead-daddy revenge. But you’ll be yearning for the next lordly tantrum.—Joshua Rothkopf

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