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The Star-Studded Action Flop Getting A Second Chance On HBO Max

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The sword-and-sandal epic Clash of the Titans was released in 1981 and is today considered a cult classic because of its ambitious narrative and iconic stop-motion special effects. There's a lot of heart in that version, but the herky-jerky movements of the ancient Greek gods and monsters aren't beloved because they still hold up today. Now that we are in the heyday of computer graphics, why not use modern techniques to breathe new life into the story the original film was trying to tell?

That seems to be the idea behind 2010's Clash of the Titans. The film is a big-budget reimagining of the original, boasting awe-inspiring visual effects and an all-star cast that includes Liam Neeson, Avatar's Sam Worthington, Ralph Fiennes, Bond girl and Murder Mystery star Gemma Arterton, and everyone's favorite Dane, Mads Mikkelsen. For better and worse, it also made "Release the Kraken!" a meme for the ages.

The concept sounds like a slam dunk on paper. Sadly, though, while the film did well enough at the box office, it was a huge flop with critics and the general public alike, spawning one sequel but becoming one of several planned film trilogies that were never completed. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a 27% score from critics and a lackluster 40% from audiences. 

The movie is currently streaming on HBO Max, and despite the frosty reception it got upon its original release, fans of big-budget action spectacles set in the ancient world should give it a chance. For everything the movie does wrong, it does get a few things right.

There's a lot of silly fun to be had in Clash of the Titans

For the most part, critics had no love for Clash of the Titans. However, there were a few that weren't afraid to give credit where credit was due. Even some who wrote overall negative reviews of the film had to concede that for as silly of a movie as it is, it's still pretty entertaining.

In a mixed review for Shock Ya, Perri Nemiroff criticized the movie's poor attempt at 3D effects and wooden acting but praised the pacing, which she called "the film's most vital asset." Ultimately, she concluded, "It's flawed through and through, but nevertheless, thoroughly entertaining ... It maintains such a steady beat that you're never given the opportunity to detach from the events unfolding."

Similarly, Peter Howell of The Toronto Star wrote that the movie was "definitely in the so-bad-it's-good category of blockbusters." He called it "one supremely silly movie," but couldn't help feeling that "it's also a Razzies-ready hoot..."

And should you need definitive proof that there's enjoyment to be had in Clash of the Titans, legendary film critic Roger Ebert gave the film three out of four stars. Even though he recognized that "there's no particular dramatic conflict in the movie," he still found himself having a good time. He admitted, "I like this kind of stuff. I don't say it's good cinema, although I recognize the craftsmanship that went into it."

If you can look past the flaws, then you might just find yourself having a hammy good time with Clash of the Titans, which is now streaming on HBO Max.