For his third blockbuster in less than 12 months, 'Avatar' and 'Terminator Salvation' star Sam Worthington has travelled back in time for a remake of a 1981 swords and sandals adventure that's most famous for a mechanical owl called Bubo who, happily or sadly depending on your point of view, didn't get the call for this version. Some acting heavyweights and rising stars did, however, and from the cast list 'Clash of the Titans' looks like a movie with a lot to offer. So does it? Well...
The story follows Perseus (Worthington), the adopted, demigod son of a fisherman whose earth family are killed by Hades (Fiennes), the God of the Underworld, during a demonic strop. Rescued from the sea and brought to Argos (the city, not the retailer), Perseus is plunged into a turf war between the gods and the mortals and becomes the leader of a group of battle-hardened veterans on a mission to save civilisation.
For a story with such epic elements, 'Clash of the Titans' feels strangely short at 118 minutes and 'Rush of the Titans' would have made a better title. While the special effects (giant scorpions, flying horses, Medusa) are strong, director Leterrier is in too much of a hurry to get from one set piece to another and as a result the wow factor is diminished - the post-production 3D also feels tacked-on and unnecessary.
The other big letdown is the script, which fails to create the right bond between the characters and the audience. Worthington's Perseus is quite dull; Neeson and Fiennes' Zeus and Hades feel too hammy and the most interesting people on screen are Mikkelsen and Irish actor Cunningham as two of Perseus' men.
Kids will enjoy this, but older viewers whose Christmases always involve making a date with 'Jason and the Argonauts', 'The Golden Voyage of Sinbad' or 'Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger' on TV will feel that 'Clash of the Titans' had the potential to be so much more - and is not worth getting up at 7am on New Year's Eve for.