Nostalgia shouldn’t blind us to the weaknesses in the original Clash Of The Titans. The effects were old-hat even by ’80s standards, Harry Hamlin’s hairdo was a disaster and the all-star cast of Olympian deities looked mortified to be pratting about in togas on a set apparently modelled after Caesar’s Palace.
Not surprisingly, the CG wizardry in Louis Leterrier’s reprise is light years ahead of Ray Harryhausen’s primitive model work. That apart, alas, this rebooted Clash is inferior in almost every department. From Sam Worthington’s dull hero Perseus to the stilted script to the rush-job 3D, Titans is hardly titanic.
It even feels wanting next to Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief, the teen spin on classical mythology that so shamelessly stole its thunder earlier this year.
The problems set in early with a confusing opening that fails to establish the relationship between men and gods and why (let alone how) the former has declared war on the latter.
As a consequence, it’s hard to get too concerned when Hades (Ralph Fiennes) appears in Argos, threatening its destruction if its king does not sacrifice his daughter to the Kraken in a week’s time. (What, did they screw up his catalogue order?)
This arbitrary deadline does at least give the midsection some momentum, a buzz-cutted Worthington having joined up with Mads Mikkelsen’s band of war-weary Argonauts to foil the lord of the underworld’s scheme.
For all the set-pieces that follow, however – a scrap with monster scorpions, a pow-wow with sightless witches, a confrontation with a snake-tressed Medusa – it’s hard to shake the feeling this is just one big video game, the successful completion of one challenge leading immediately to another with little pause for humour, reflection or character interaction.
Throw in dialogue cheesier than Gorgon-zola and you’re left asking why so much cash was splashed making a Clash so unremittingly average.
Big sets, wall-to-wall mayhem and hi-tech pixelry only go so far in a movie sure to leave anyone with fond memories of the original feeling shortchanged. It’s proof, too, that 3D can’t simply be tacked on as an afterthought.