Clash of the Titans - Review

Even more haphazardly plotted than the original, "Clash of the Titans" boasts 3D imagery and kinetic action that can't obscure a movie that is, finally, pretty flat. Influenced almost as much by "The Lord of the Rings" as a 1981 namesake most notable for Ray Harryhausen's stop-motion effects, the technical upgrade doesn't improve the clunky mythological underpinnings, while the script ratchets up the man-vs.-the-gods quotient. Result feels mostly like a (very expensive) kids' pic, and international prospects appear more promising than domestic box office, which, after a muscular opening -- with apologies to the gods -- should be somewhat less than titanic.

There's always the risk of a camp factor when dealing with the denizens of Mt. Olympus, sword-and-sandal derring-do and earnest utterances like "Release the Kraken!" -- which in some respects is part of the film's charm. It's just that, as directed by Louis Letterier ("The Incredible Hulk") from an adaptation credited to a trio of writers, "Titans" is both dark and busy visually, and nearly devoid of humor. Indeed, the one memorable laugh, a fleeting reference to the first movie's idiotic mechanical owl, will likely fly over much of the target audience's heads.

An introductory sequence finds Perseus (played as an adult by Sam Worthington, looking buff but not blue fresh off "Avatar"), the bastard child of Zeus, being rescued and raised by a kindly fisherman (Pete Postlethwaite). Alas, their happy existence is disrupted by the angry lord of the underworld, Hades (Ralph Fiennes), who convinces his brother Zeus (Liam Neeson) that they must punish the city of Argos for daring to disrespect the gods.

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