‘Clash of the Titans’ of Kraken-sized mess

By Kieran Layton

“Clash of the Titans”

Starring: Sam Worthington, Gemma Arterton, Ralph… “Clash of the Titans”

Starring: Sam Worthington, Gemma Arterton, Ralph Fiennes

Director: Louis Leterrier

Warner Bros. Pictures

Grade: D+

The original “Clash of the Titans” (1981) was a cheese-tastically bad combination of bad writing, ridiculous performances and supposedly giant stop-motion beats that looked more like the action figures I played with when I was 10.

Now, over 20 years later, producers decided it was time to try the Greek mythology-laden adventure tale over again. With CGI technology and an exponentially increased budget, how could it not work? Did I mention that it’s in 3-D?

Well, that hubris serves as this pointless remake’s fatal flaw. Even if the film weren’t such a blockbuster-sized mess, the fact remains that this is a completely pointless remake of a terrible film. Even more unfortunate for the filmmakers and audiences alike, the film is just bad — really, really bad.

One positive thing to say about this bombastic remake is that it stays fairly faithful to the original. Focusing on ancient Greek hero Perseus, the film details his journey to defy the gods by finding a way to defeat the evil Kraken, a sea monster that Hades warns will be unleashed upon the city of Argos to punish the Greeks who have stopped respecting the Olympian deities.

This involves fighting giant scorpions, seeking out a trio of wrinkly witches, cutting off Medusa’s head and finally saving the princess of Argos from becoming Kraken lunch. Also, there’s the whole notion that Perseus is p*ssed because he is Zeus’ son, but the top god acts like a total Zeus-bag — daddy issues ensue. Oh, and Hades wants to overthrow Zeus by way of the Kraken.

So yes, the film does follow somewhat in the story footsteps of the original, but that just makes glaring the fact that the storyline strays so far from the real Greek myths surrounding the characters to the point that it grows maddening to anyone even remotely interested in the subject.

Glaring inaccuracies aside, the film is essentially a swords-and-sandals action flick that owes more to the “Transformers” movies than it does to something like “Troy.” The dialogue is stilted and can usually be placed into either the glaringly obvious or the murkily obscure categories.

Sam Worthington, giving essentially the same performance that he gave in “Avatar,” is very talented at looking serious and scrunching his eyebrows together for extra dramatic emphasis. For him to not burst out laughing at lines such as “Everyone I loved was killed by gods!” is an acting feat itself.

Gemma Arterton (“Quantum of Solace”) shows up as Io, Perseus’ mentor/guardian angel/romantic interest (don’t question it), and she is similarly talented at looking either bemused or all-knowing, but never both at the same time.

Ralph Fiennes plays Hades in what is almost an exact copy of his Voldemort — with all of the harsh whispering and shifty glances, you’ll almost believe that Harry Potter is about to show up and stupefy his a** back to a better film.

Liam Neeson is Zeus, but it’s hard to take him seriously in a Mt. Olympus setting that looks like a Bowie fever dream and a shiny coat that would inspire envy in Lady Gaga.

Because, you know, the only way to convey to audiences the importance of the Greek gods is to make them shiny.

When the film stops with the blithe dialogue and incessant exposition — it’s pointless, really — and gets to the action, things certainly pick up a little. Despite the shaky camera and quick cuts, the CGI and tightly choreographed set pieces succeed in getting the adrenaline going, even if it’s only for the most fleeting of moments.

The nasty Kraken, which has been played up in promotional material for the film, is as scary as a gigantic CGI monster can be. Still, even the poor sea monster feels anticlimactic.

“Clash of the Titans” really doesn’t have a lot going for it. It’s a dumb popcorn movie, but even entering the film with that set of expectations doesn’t do you any favors. I found myself having to eat so much popcorn to keep myself from growing bored that by the time the film reached its open-ended and nonsensical conclusion, I had indigestion.

Hey Zeus, can I get some Tums?

Check out the “Clash of the Titans” trailer here.