Remember Bubo, the crap clockwork owl from the otherwise fondly remembered 1981 gods’n’monster-mash Clash Of The Titans? Louis Leterrier does, and is quick to distance his remake with a (literal) put-down of the golden bird. Admirable statement of intent – or would be, if this was halfway decent.
The fundamental problem is that this should be so easy. The story is already the stuff of legend: all that’s needed is the bells and whistles of FX and the appropriate dose of derring-do. Instead, Leterrier strips away all but the barest of mythical context to leave the thing lurching from world to underworld like a Grecian platform game.
What’s particularly galling is that Letterier – whose Transporter movies had the cheek this needs – has checked in his exuberance at the foot of Mount Olympus. As a wooden Worthington glowers and grunts through sub-300 swordfights, the scant entertainment comes from seeing preening Goth Ralph Fiennes and bearded Lothario Liam Neeson camp it up as rivals Hades and Zeus.
And, of course, there’s no Ray Harryhausen. In cinemas, the FX’s shortcomings were sheltered by the Stygian gloom of the slapdash 3D. Two dimensions are less forgiving. The Medusa’s whiplash movement lacks the stealthy menace of Harryhausen’s iconic version, while the Kraken is a generic, boring beastie with none of the plasticine personality. Biggest shame: no hydra-headed dogs, leaving a blockbuster remake that offers less action than its source. Titans will clash? If only.