Pros: decent effects and entertaining action
Cons: confusing editing; non-existent character development and story
Not having seen the 1981 original, I wasn't particularly excited for the 2010 remake of Clash of the Titans, but I also had no preconceptions or expectations. After seeing it, I realize the movie was more suited for use as background noise than as a major 3-D spectacle on the big screen.
Set in ancient times, the film tells the story of Perseus (Sam Worthington), the half-god/half-human bastard son of Zeus (Liam Neeson), king of the gods. When Perseus was just a baby, a kindly fisherman (whose name was, I believe, never given in the film) discovered him encased in a chest alongside his dead mother. Perseus went on to live a wonderful life with his human family, two parents who loved him as their own, and a younger sister. Unfortunately, their happy little family shows up in the wrong place at the wrong time; in this case, in Argos, where the king and queen have declared war on the gods of Mount Olympus. Punishment is swift, with the god of the underworld, Hades (Ralph Fiennes, very Harry Potter's Lord Voldemort-esque), swooping in to the palace in a cloud of mist, draining the life from the queen, and demanding that the princess be sacrificed to the gods in order to stop the release of the kraken, the sea monster of Scandinavian myth. Of course, on his way to the palace, he just happens to burst through the fishing boat containing Perseus' family, leading to the death of everyone Perseus ever loved and Perseus' vow to get revenge on Hades.
Character development is non-existent. I wasn't really sure who was who among Perseus' band of similarly scruffy men, with the exception of the djinn, a supernatural creature of the Islam faith. With the vast body of Greek myths and characters to choose from, it's odd that the filmmakers couldn't even get that aspect right. Aside from the inclusion of creatures like the djinn and the kraken, there are errors even I, no student of Greek mythology, found jarring. Poseidon, being the god of the sea and all, should be controlling the kraken, but somehow Hades is. Even worse, Poseidon is only briefly mentioned as being the rapist of Medusa, a character whose back story has been changed to make her a tragic victim.
The story and the characters are secondary to the action. Indeed, the film is little more than a series of epic battles, as Perseus goes toe-to-toe with giant scorpions, the CGI snake Medusa, and the kraken, all in an attempt to get to Hades and finally fight a creature that doesn't have a long tail. The special effects are good, and the action scenes are the most entertaining parts of the film, but they're confusingly edited, making it difficult to tell what is going on. Having read vaughnf's review prior to seeing the film (I should have heeded the warning), I paid careful attention to the scorpion battle, but was still unsure how many scorpions there were, which scorpion was attacking which characters, and where the characters were in relation to each other on the battlefield. Not good.
Clash of the Titans doesn't even qualify as camp. Sure, Zeus' oddly glowing, radioactive-looking white costume and Neeson's bellowing of the line "Release the kraken!" are good cheesy fun, but I found myself fidgeting throughout the rest of the film's 106 minute runtime. Clash of the Titans is an only fleetingly entertaining action flick with decent effects, sloppy editing, cardboard characters, and weak dialogue.