By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood April 3, 2010 at 7:23AM
I've already weighed in on why Clash of the Titans is a must-to-avoid in 3-D, and why I detest retrofitted 3-D in general.
But Clash of the Titans is a lousy movie no matter what the medium, and I think Legendary and Warner Bros. knew it when they made their let's-salvage-the-opening-weekend-gross-with-3D decision. This $125-million movie is so shoddily written and executed that it makes me question the directorial ability of Louis Leterrier (The Incredible Hulk). Clash of the Titans recalls the eye-rolling excesses of the fake Hollywood sword-and-sandal era. Think Tony Curtis in The Vikings.
Aussie Sam Worthington, who was strong in both the mediocre Terminator Salvation and wondrous Avatar, looks stiff and miserable and utterly lost here, marooned against green-screen, popping unbelievably out of a giant scorpion monster that looked more credible in Ray Harryhausen stop-motion. But I disagree with Lane Brown's claim that Worthington is a "no-risk franchise star." Audiences want to like Worthington after Avatar, but even a young hunk-on-the-rise can be hurt by failure. He should choose his roles more carefully. While I agree with Cinematical that Worthington is not cut out to be an action star, it's not because he's a bad actor. Good writing and directing go a long way toward making a leading man look good; in this movie, Worthington had no help on either front.
Written by Travis Beacham (Seconds) and Phil Hay & Matt Manfredi (Aeon Flux), Clash of the Titans despoils Greek Mythology. Why tap into the power and glory of the Greek Pantheon--these gods have survived the centuries for a reason--if you're going to throw them away? (Disney paid more respect to the Greek Myths in the animated Hercules.) Yes, Perseus rode the winged horse Pegasus and carried a special sword and reflective shield (they don't take advantage of his helmet of invisibility) and defeated the Gorgon Medusa (who looks like a Euro-trash runway model) with the help of three witches who share one eye--but he also rescued and married the chained sacrificial Princess Andromeda. (He killed a giant serpent, not a Kraken.) Why tack on a strange and slightly disturbing romance with the hovering, mysterious and maternal goddess Io (Gemma Arterton)? Great Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen somehow manages to be convincing as warrior Draco.
The movie's war between man and gods makes no sense, nor does the inconsistent sparring between Perseus and his father, the mighty Zeus (Liam Neeson, glowing with white light) whose issues with his brother Hades (Ralph Fiennes, in long dreadlocks, resembles Lost's Smoke monster) are also unclear. Technical credits, as they say in Variety, are not good: neither cinematographer Peter Menzies, Jr. (The Incredible Hulk) nor Terminator Salvation production designer Martin Laing advance their careers here.