I figured wrong.
"Clash of the Titans" is never going to be considered a great film, either version. Film enthusiasts remember the 1981 version as a late example of the great Ray Harryhausen's work. Harryhausen was a stop motion animator who created creatures and effects for a number of films like "Jason and the Argonauts" and "The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad". The story is too inherently campy, historically inaccurate and the films are filled with too many actors of varying skill trying to play against one another. But this new film would have been a perfectly serviceable popcorn film, fun for a night out, fun to share with friends and then go and have a dinner where you laugh and discuss the antics of the characters and the story.
But because it was retrofitted for 3-D, and in a time frame that was apparently rushed, the film looks awful. I read one reviewer who commented that you will feel like you want to take your glasses off throughout the film. This was the problem with the old 3-D process. It wasn't very good and it bothered people with glasses or imperfect eyesight. The new process is a vast improvement, making almost everything look realistic and believable, like we are actually watching real life unfold before us. So why on Earth would we want to take a step backwards? Especially after we have had the opportunity to witness what gifted filmmakers can do in the medium. Films like "Avatar" and PIXAR's "Up" both demonstrate what this medium has the potential to achieve.
"Clash of the Titans" is likely to make a lot of people think twice before plunking down the extra money for 3-D again. Throughout the film, it looks like they took two copies of the same characters and placed a slightly enlarged version in back of the actual image. Liam Neeson plays Zeus and he sports a wild mane of black hair cascading over his head and down his back. Frequently, when he turns slightly, it looks like his back is enlarging and he resembles Hagrid, played by Robbie Coltrane in the "Harry Potter" films. The 3-D process does nothing but make the film look more fake and unbelievable, drawing attention to the fact much of the film is created with computer animation. Because of this, we start paying a lot of scrutiny to everything and very little holds up. Everything begins to appear unrealistic and that is completely the opposite of what 3-D should do.
In a later scene, Worthington's Perseus is riding Pegasus to a battle with the Kraken. Clearly, the actor is not riding an actual flying horse, but you have to go into these films willing to suspend a certain amount of belief. So, Worthington is riding a CGI creation and the 3-D process draws our eyes to the way his head is moving in direct opposition to his torso and his legs. He looks like an action figure who is being posed for stop motion animation. Only instead of capturing a change every frame, to make it appear more fluid, it looks like they make a change every five, ten or fifteen frames, making it appear jerky.
Acting is never the strong point in films like this; the subject matter seems too inherently silly. We aren't there to see great acting, we are there to see what we hope might be a fairly believable adventure story, an adventure story enhanced by the 3-D and computer generated graphics. As discussed, the 3-D and the computer-generated graphics are out, so our eyes and our attention turn to other areas and begin to scrutinize. That other area is the acting. Liam Neeson headlines as Zeus, the God who is disappointed with the human race and enters into a deal with Hades, played by Ralph Fiennes. Hades and Zeus are brothers but Hades has a chip on his shoulder and a grudge to bear because Zeus tricked him. Each is acceptable, but when you also remember both actors were in "Schindler's List", you have to wonder why they would be interested in this film. Clearly, they had some bills to pay. They look suitably solemn and grave, and otherworldly throughout. In fact, after Hades gives the people an ultimatum, he hovers on a black cloud, moving back towards the door. Why does Hades need to use a door? Honestly, all I could think of was Ursula, the octopus sea witch from the animated classic "The Little Mermaid".
Sam Worthington has been cast in a number of films based on his anointment by James Cameron. He made "Terminator Salvation" and "Clash" after "Avatar". Honestly, he has been kind of dull and forgettable in all of the films.
The rest of the gods aren't even identified and only one has a line or two. This "Clash" is all about Perseus, Zeus and Hades. But Perseus flies into battle because he is protecting Andromeda (Alexa Davalos, "The Mist", TV's "Reunion", "The Chronicles of Riddick"). Davalos never changes her expression throughout the film and looks like she is in pain. Why does he even care about her? She's pretty but he seems to meet her when we do and they never have a conversation let alone an intimate moment, they never seem to bond.
Mads Mikkleson ("Casino Royale"), Pete Postlethwhaite, Elizabeth McGovern, Polly Walker (HBO's "Rome", TV's "Caprica") and many others pop up for a few moments and then disappear.
A completely forgettable mess made all the more forgettable by bad 3-D. This "Clash" seems a gift from Hades himself.