Adding an entire dimension to an artistic project should be a miraculous feat that can turn even the worst of creations into a visionary masterpiece –at least that’s what worked for "Avatar," but director Louis Leterrier’s "Clash of the Titans" is proof that disappointment in two dimensions is only magnified by the addition of a third dimension.
The recreation of the 1981 film of the same name has Sam Worthington ("Avatar") as Perseus, a demigod destined to save the city of Argos from a legendary creature, and Liam Neeson ("Schindler’s List") as Zeus, the supreme Greek mythological god.
Worthington fits the role of the action hero with the mysterious past, but his character shows no sign of baggage from survived trauma and his portrayed understanding of emotions ranges somewhere between "those exist?" and "what is this feeling?" He doesn’t even seem capable of realizing his romantic tension with the guiding and ageless nymph Io, played by Gemma Arterton ("Quantum of Solace").
The rest of the film’s acting, especially Neeson, is dull and forgettable, but award-winning performances were never really an expectation for this film.
Instead, "Clash of the Titans" was portrayed as a fun film with adrenaline-pumped action scenes, impressive CGI monsters and, the kicker, it was going to be presented in 3D.
However, the few action sequences were lackluster and the CGI creations were ruined by the awful transition from 2D camera to 3D viewing experience. Even the terrifying Kraken, the mythological beast sent to destroy Argos, felt like a disappointing recreation of the "Cloverfield" monster.
The Greek gods were indecipherable from mortals in appearance outside of Zeus’s occasionally glowing armor and Hades’ comical ability to conjure himself through black smoke. And as characters, they were nothing more than brief distractions from the story, which easily unfolded without their assistance.
But the biggest blunder of all was the botched transition on the scene in Medusa’s lair. The original "Clash of the Titans" used shadows, dim lighting and dramatic music to transform a boring catacomb inhabited by a clay figure into a tense scene that was as eerie as it was dramatic. It was the atmosphere created by these and other elements that created such a memorable standoff between the beast and Perseus.
Leterrier’s vision includes a lava pit, narrow walkways and a chase that made full use of Medusa’s serpent body. This reboot was fantastic with the visuals, but the reliance on the physical dangers of the location and the quick action rob the audience of the original’s unnerving beauty.
"Clash of the Titans" is a fun film that sparks interest in Greek mythology, but its shortcomings are plentiful and far too distracting to take this movie seriously. The 3D effects create blurry action sequences and add nothing to the film except for an increased ticket price and a silly pair of glasses. Skip the sensational presentation and instead take this one in with the classic, 2D presentation. Or, better yet, just rent the original and save some money.