Clash of the Titans (2010)

(In theatres, April 2010) Sword-and-sandal epics are worthless without an overwrought sense of melodrama, and that’s the single best reason to recommend Clash of the Titans despite a weak script, inconsistent directing and lacklustre performances by actors who should know better.  Three words from Liam Neeson to convince you:  “RELEASE THE KRAKEN!” (Thesis: All movies are improved by a character shouting “RELEASE THE KRAKEN!”) I don’t recall the 1981 original in enough detail to make useful comparisons, so let us consider this remake on its own terms: a mishmash of Greek mythology, action-movie sequences, and blockbuster fantasy trappings.  Among several better actors playing the pantheon, Sam Worthington doesn’t have much to do drama-wise as Perseus (he gets a team and loses it almost as quickly), but after Avatar and Terminator: Salvation the film should do fine in polishing his niche as the guy to play non-entirely-human action heroes.  He gets to run around in a tunic, fight scorpions, cut the head of Medusa, and all the other things a demigod is expected to do.  Direction-wise, Louis Leterrier’s action scenes are uneven: The scorpion fight takes place in clear sunlight with decently long cuts, but the Medusa and Kraken sequence are a bit of an overcut mess even though the CGI feels a bit better than average.  Still, the fun of the picture lies in the arch leaden quality of the dialogue and the fact that everyone seems to be playing the material as straight as possible.  It’s not great art, it may not even be great entertainment, but it does what it has to do, and that should be enough.

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