Remember the titans. Not the high-school football movie, but those top-shelf British thespians — Sir Laurence Olivier, Dame Maggie Smith, Claire Bloom — who starred in Ray Harryhausen's campy Clash of the Titans in 1981.
The special-effects wizard, who made the stop-motion animation fantasies Jason and the Argonauts and The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, prevailed upon the English stars to roar and preen in a mythic tale about the Greek gods fighting among themselves and making life miserable for mankind, particularly Perseus, the half-human son of Zeus.
The remake of Clash of the Titans ($28.98/ Blu-ray $35.99) has its own top-flight British actors, notably Ralph Fiennes as the envious dark lord Hades, causing trouble for heavenly brother Zeus (Liam Neeson), who like the other gods is petulant in his own ways. Thus the clash.
In the original, pretty-boy Harry Hamlin was Perseus. The new movie has Aussie actor Sam Worthington, who brings the scowl and ruggedness he displayed in Avatar and Terminator: Salvation. There is eye candy, too, in Gemma Arterton as Io and Alexa Davalos as Andromeda.
There are a lot of clashes, some decent action scenes, monsters (Medusa and the Kraken) and a few interesting moments (the Djinn, some kind of desert people).
There always has been a lot of affection for the original Clash of the Titans, which with its use of stop-motion special effects was already out of step in the post-Star Wars era. The new one, directed by Louis Leterrier (The Incredible Hulk), was turned into a 3-D film for the big screen — but the DVD is 2-D.
That's just as well; the 3-D didn't add much and only made it darker. It's unlikely, though, that in 30 years this Clash will be remembered fondly. As for now, it's a serviceable — if scattered and overwrought — action film.