3D Clashes With 'Titan's' Remake

Sam Worthington battles monsters in the new movie Clash of the Titans. It's a remake of the 1981 flick. Film critic Kenneth Turan says the new version might be the first film to actually be made worse by being in 3D.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

It's time for a review from Ken Turan and this week he's not very pleased. That's because he's just seen a remake of the 1981 cult classic "Clash of the Titans." That film was filled with the marvelous and terrifying creatures. As Ken sees it, the remake, not so much.

KENNETH TURAN: The new version of "Clash of the Titans" might be the first film to actually be made worse by being in 3D. The extra dimension is more of a distraction making the battles between demigod Perseus and an entire menagerie of mythical beasts harder to follow rather than more exciting.

(Soundbite of fight in movie, "Clash of the Titans")

TURAN: No one comes to a movie like this for this for the repartee, but the film is isn't helped by dialogue so plodding, a halfway decent line like, you have insulted powers beyond your comprehension, sounds like something out of Noel Coward.

(Soundbite of movie, "Clash of the Titans")

Unidentified Man #1 (Actor): (As character) Someday, someone was going to have say enough. This could be that day.

TURAN: "Clash of the Titans" is also burdened by a numskull plot notion. Though those ancient Greeks lived in a world where the gods were quite real and unimaginably powerful, these idiots decide to declare war on the Olympians. That's the short-sighted equivalent of teasing your younger brother, even if he had the power to turn you to stone with just a look.

(Soundbite of movie, "Clash of the Titans")

Unidentified Man #2 (Actor): (As character) We are the Gods now.

TURAN: The big mystery here is why did some top actors agree to play the Gods? Liam Neeson is Zeus. Ray Fiennes is Hades. Neeson looks lost and Fiennes, perhaps no one will notice it's him, speaks largely in sinister whispers.

Perseus is played by "Avatar's" Sam Worthington, who's making a career of sullen heroes. Perseus insists he wants to defeat a dread monster called the kraken, as a man, not a god, which like the rest of this movie is a bit of wishful thinking. Perseus and his pals take on an entire Noah's Arc of inhuman adversaries, including enormous scorpions on steroids called Scorpiox, and the deadly Medusa, which turns out to be more or less a snake in a bikini top.

(Soundbite of movie music, "Clash of the Titans")

TURAN: Even the beloved mechanical owl from the 1981 version makes a cameo appearance, but like the rest of the film, it's a disappointment when the most thrilling thing about a movie turns out to be its title, even unleashing the kraken won't be payoff enough.

MONTAGNE: And the film is the remake of "Clash of the Titans." Kenneth Turan reviews movies for MORNING EDITION and the Lost Angeles Times.

(Soundbite of music)

MONTAGNE: This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News.

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