If I had to sum up Clash of the Titans in one word, that word would simply be "wow." Because while it may not be the perfect movie, its the perfect blend of action, adventure and yes, even romance. It's destined to be a mega-blockbuster, and it deserves every dollar it earns. Warner Brothers has done exactly what should be done with a reimagining -- take everything that was good about the so-so original, and make it bigger and better.
The movie shoots along at a quick pace, but it's still manages to be smart enough to make you think about it. Its PG-13 rating is just about right -- it's a little too intense for the kiddies, but parents will love it, and the older teen crowds will be clapping their hands with delight (I was tempted to do so myself). The short version, for those who haven't figured out the plot, is that there's conflict between the ancient Greeks and the petty Gods that they worship. The people are mad because the Gods take and take and give nothing back, and the Gods are mad at their upstart ways. One man, Perseus (Sam Worthington), stands against them, and teams up with a team of renegades to fight back, as well as save the life of his beloved Andromeda (Alexa Davalos).
It's rollicking good fun. Worthington continues his trend of being an A+ action star -- building on his deep, impressive performance in Avatar, he's everything a hero should be -- noble, tough, and handsome as all get-out. Similarly, Davalos is beautiful and suitably sexy as Andromeda, and provides some extra eye candy to accompany all the action. Of course, the action is, unsurprisingly, the best part. Full of eye-popping special effects, Clash of the Titans makes for a far more enjoyable viewing experience than the 1981 original. Sure, it was fun Saturday viewing when we were kids, but the original has aged pretty terribly, and the claymation effects are sort of silly when you look back at it -- not believable at all. Plus, great as Lawrence Olivier was way back when, Liam Neeson, looking resplendant and appropriately god-like, really blows him away.
The special effects, mixed with hard-hitting action, make for an enjoyable spectacle. The gods, also featuring Ralph Fiennes, are amazingly portrayed, and Perseus and his gritty band of comrades are excellent. Like I said, it just took everything from the original and made it better -- including the very-smart decision to omit the silly mechanical bird from the 1981 version, a dorky addition that would have been even more out of place here. Clash of the Titans is smarter than that -- it's a thinking man's action movie, with little room for silliness. But its also just plain fun -- from beginning to end. And the end! By now, you've seen the trailers, so you know about the new, redesigned Kraken monster. This one is no clunky, rubbery-looking Godzilla wannabe, like the original one. It's a great big scary force of nature, and that final battle is breathtaking!
It's surprising that Warner Brothers didn't use it as a summer tentpole flick, but if anything else, that makes us wonder what other greats they have in the hopper to amaze us with this year. While not a perfect flick, this one is still good enough for four out of five !'s.