Are you looking for an awesome, balls-out adventure movie that has no pretensions and just serves up the monstery goodness? Then you need Clash of the Titans - it's a refresher course in what makes B-movies better than blockbusters.
Unlike a Michael Bay production, Clash isn't trying to be THE BIGGEST FUCKING THING EVER. And unlike monster flick District 9, it isn't try to be socially relevant. It's just an honest, funny good time. Set in the "Greek myth era" familiar to people who watched Xena, it's a simple story of a guy named Perseus (Sam Worthington in a teeny skirt - yay) who thinks he's a fisherman but finds out he's a demigod. And he lives near a city whose leaders have decided to make war on the Gods, including Perseus' absentee dad Zeus.
I love that there are literally no politics whatsoever in this film. There are no nations fighting nations, indeed no hint that there even are nations. It's just people fighting mythological creatures for your most basic reason, which is "The Gods haven't done anything for us lately." Sure there's some interpersonal conflict - Hades (played with goth campiness by Ralph Feinnes) is mad at brother Zeus (played by Liam Neeson with what can only be called "beardliness"). Plus, Perseus is mad because the Gods killed his adoptive family. And those are the only engines you really need to power up this crazy, fire-spitting, kickass jalopy of a flick.
When I say "jalopy" I don't mean that Clash is crappy. I mean that it runs great, and all the more awesomely because it was built with affection, rather than rolled off the assembly line of some fancy manufacturer. Clash of the Titans is based on an early-1980s B-movie with claymation effects from Ray Harryhausen, whose monsters revolutionized special effects in the mid-twentieth century. The original Clash was all about fighting monsters, and so is the new one. (And for fans of the original: There is a hilarious Bubo moment just for you.)
After the humans challenge the Gods, Hades gives them an ultimatum: Sacrifice the princess, or the ultra-super-mega-monster known as the Kraken will eat everybody. (One of the best ultimatums ever - nice and simple.) So while a bunch of Burning Man-esque priests go nuts trying to appease the Gods with princess meat, Perseus and the army set off to the underworld. They're on a quest to get Medusa's head, the only weapon that can destroy the Kraken. On the way, they meet Djinn, giant scorpions, a deformed superpowered Hades minion called Calibos, and more. This is a movie where characters say things like, "We're good at killing!" and describe shields as "high quality items." Did I mention that it reminded me of Xena? Yeah.
Also, I would like to point out that hell is the most awesome place ever in Greek myth world. So the plot is perfect. Once Perseus and his crew hop on the death ferry, you're going to feel like you're in an Iron Maiden video - in a good way. There's something refreshing about watching an action movie that doesn't take itself seriously on any level other than just sheer swordiness. It's sort of like 300, but deliberately funny instead of unintentionally.
No surprise that this tentacley confection was directed by by Louis Leterrier, whose version of The Hulk had some great action sequences but got bogged down whenever we had A Social Message. There are no social messages here to interrupt Perseus chasing harpies on the winged horse Pegasus - no anti-war messages to douse our devil-fingered enthusiasm when the Kraken rises on a boiling sea of tentacles and foam.
One warning, however: Do NOT see this movie in 3D. It was remastered in 3D after filming, and you can tell. The 3D just makes everything look kind of weird and fake, and actually undermines the cool effects (which are perfectly good without any extra dimensions). So when you go on your quest for silly but awesome adventure this weekend, buy tickets to the 2D showing if you can.
In case you hadn't figured it out yet, Clash of the Titans is a perfect weekend flick. On a scale of one to super great, I give it a HELL YEAH RELEASE THAT KRAKEN.