GENRE: Old school sword, sandal & SFX epic
THE PITCH: While humans challenge the Greek pantheon and conniving Hades (Ralph Fiennes) plots to overthrow Zeus (Liam Neeson), reluctant demigod Perseus (Avatar's Sam Worthington) must retrieve the head of Medusa to stop the gigantic Kraken before it eats Princess Andromeda and/or destroys the city. A remake of the 1981 Ray Harryhausen stop-motion monsterfest.
MONEY SHOTS: The giant neat-o scorpions that attack Perseus and his men. The way Medusa's decapitated body menacingly lurches around. The shots of the Cloverfield-esque Kraken dwarfing the Greek city of Argos.
I-WANT-MY-MONEY-BACK SHOTS: The corporate logo-like early shot of an eagle flying into the bland, shiny palace of Mount Olympus. Hades breathing fire into the mouth of misshapen Calibos (Jason Flemyng), like they're about to go to first base. Perseus rolling comically downhill while Calibos chases him. Medusa's weightless phoniness. Ridiculous lightning bolts from the heavens.
WORST LINE: "Perseus, you're not just part man, part god - you're the best of both," says Perseus' immortal adviser Io (Gemma Arterton, whose glamour emerges unscathed).
BODY COUNT: Various gods and monsters smite scores of anonymous extras. Young Perseus' loved ones drown in a Hades-induced shipwreck. Hades causes an impious human to die of instant old age. There are also plenty of stabbings, burnings, petrifactions, and at least one beheading.
FASHION STATEMENT: Didn't anyone notice how much Hades, with his long dark hair and leathery black armor, looks like John Travolta in Battlefield Earth? The other gods wear shiny armor that could be disco glam-wear made from automotive chrome. Worthington shows off his thighs for most of the film thanks to his tunic/miniskirt.
RELIGIOUS SUBTEXT: The film's unifying theme involves the tension between humans and their deities, with Perseus denying his semi-divine parentage as he seeks revenge against immortal, all-powerful Hades. A John-the-Baptist-type nutjob leads the call to sacrifice Princess Andromeda, revealing the evils of religious zealotry, but the wishy-washy ending suggests that Zeus and company aren't so bad if they take a hands-off approach to ruling the universe.
BETTER THAN THE ORIGINAL? No. The first Clash of the Titans has great set pieces (especially the battle with Medusa) alongside campy performances from cinematic royalty like Olivier, Maggie Smith and Burgess Meredith (not to mention more nudity than you'd expect from a PG film). The new one replicates all of the cheese but none of the charm of the original. Its passing put-down of Bubo, the first film's clockwork owl, feels mean-spirited.
MAKE THE UPGRADE? Definitely not. Clash was not filmed to be in 3-D, and the transfer looks terrible, with actors and objects protruding awkwardly from the action. In one shot, Fiennes' brow sticks out way further from his hairline. If you must see the movie, see it the old-fashioned way.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Unintentionally laughable, with plot points that collapse under the slightest scrutiny, Clash of the Titans botches what should at least be a no-brainer guilty pleasure. Maybe Mount Olympus cursed the project, which makes this winter's teenage Greek romp The Lightning Thief look better - or at least, less bad - by comparison.