Millennia ago, the Titans were overthrown by their three offspring, Zeus (Liam Neeson), who became King of the Gods, Poseidon (Danny Huston), who ruled the seas, and Hades (Ralph Fiennes), who became God of the Underworld where the dead existed. But after a long time of mankind's deference to these mighty beings, they began to question why they should be under their thumb and forever praying and sacrificing to them when they could get along without them very well. And so the Gods started to make their wrath known to the humans, giving rise to the need for a leader to bring about a true challenge...
And that leader was... well, it wasn't Richard Dawkins, no, according to this it was Perseus, played by Sam Worthington in what was ostensibly a remake of the Ray Harryhausen favourite from 1981. Although the Harryhausen effort was not his best, it did at least feature his trademark stop motion creatures, which, this being the twenty-first century, did not go over too well with the producers of what amounted to a reimagining. So here it was computer graphics all the way, and while they were slick and worked up a sense of huge scale, what they failed to have was much personality, certainly not in the way that the earlier movie's special effects had. What it did bring over was a sense of self-importance.
That replaced anything resembling a sense of humour, which meant that we were supposed to take this very seriously, or at least not laugh too much as there was not even a note of camp to be struck, this in spite of all those togas and all that shouting. Worthington was a serviceable replacement for Harry Hamlin in that he could glower meaningfully in the right places, and didn't look too silly wielding a sword or riding a winged stallion, but there was no spark of inspiration there, and the sole reason anyone followed him here was because the script had marked him out as the hero; otherwise, he could have been any one of those characters who set out with him to find a way of saving Argos.
That's Argos the city under threat from Hades, and not Argos the catalogue-heavy department store. Hades has got it into his head that the more people who die, the better business is for him, and with Fiennes adorned in some very strange makeup and costuming he does look like he could do with some cheering up. The implication is that Zeus has allowed his brother to run away with things, as all the while he stands around on Mount Olympus and feels his immense power slipping away, not to mention the chafing from that Excalibur-style armour Neeson sports. Zeus, we find out, is the father of Perseus, which amounts to a lot of soul searching from the demigod as to where his allegiances should lie.
Perseus feels he should stay closer to his human roots, but every so often he is tempted by some kind of fantastical power that a person of his lineage really ought to have in his arsenal. This aspect pretty much goes nowhere: he's the hero, he's not going to get killed at the end, and we can safely assume he will save the day, all through the advantages at his disposal. Better to look at the array of talent backing up Worthington, and wish they could let their hair down a bit more: Gemma Arterton plays Io, who joins the excursion but essentially serves as the tour guide with a story for every occasion, Jason Flemyng is heavily made up as Calibos, sort of the Gollum role but with more muscles, and the likes of Polly Walker (channelling her character from TV's Rome) and Pete Postlethwaite, as Perseus's adoptive father, get little more than glorified cameos with which to make their mark. Princess Andromeda (Alexa Davalos) must be a bit miffed at the way things turn out too, after all the peril she suffers for that ending. This Clash was slick but empty, looking for all the world like a feature length gaming trailer. Music by Ramin Djawadi.