Six weeks ago, Clash of the Titans was on its way to being a merely bad movie, an ill-conceived take on an original film that was already pretty dicey, stuffed with bad special effects and actors with seemingly no clue what they were doing onscreen. Then Warner Bros. made the callow, money-grubbing and ridiculous decision to convert the whole thing into 3D, and thinking they were making themselves a box office hit, they created a camp classic instead.

Regardless of whether it makes any money-- and lets face it, it probably will-- Clash of the Titans is the first bona fide hilarious disaster of the modern 3D era. Obliterating every argument that stereoscopic 3D "enhances the story" or "immerses the viewer in the world," Clash embraces 3D for what it is, a gimmick in the grand tradition of Smell-o-Vision and The Tingler and different endings for Clue. It is to Avatar what Cat-Women of the Moon was to Dial M for Murder in the 50s, a disastrous attempt at the same technology that points out every flaw. And because Clash is already an unabashed B-movie, it kind of seems to own its awfulness. Probably by accident, Warner Bros. slapped a silly technology on a campy movie and created something of a work of art.

If you're prone to motion sickness, careful with your money or attached to actually seeing the action of the film, stay away from 3D at all costs. But camp seekers-- and you know who you are, you guys who rent Plan 9 From Outer Space and secretly love Rocky Horror-- will be delighted with what the 3D has to offer. For, like any bad movie, Clash gets boring sometimes-- you can only have Ralph Fiennes and Liam Neeson bellow at each other for so long, and at some point Sam Worthington does change out of that short-short tunic. But every time the movie tries to put on its serious face and gets dull, there's some awesome disaster of 3D to enjoy. One person looks like two thanks to bad attempts at extra dimensions, or scenes are lit so dark (thanks to the glasses on your face) that you can't even tell who's who. Every time the film picks itself up toward decency, the 3D throws it back down again. It's remarkable.



And the movie is made with some of this silliness in mind, which means it's a little less cruel to laugh openly at it. The giant scorpions ridden across the desert, the witches who hold their one eyeball at arm's length, Hades popping in and out in a whirl of smoke-- it's all deliberately hokey effects hearkening back to the Ray Harryhausen animation of the original film. The idea, of course, is to pay homage to the old days while still creating a movie that's ass-kicking in its own modern way. The result is to make it even easier to think of Clash as a modern-day Creature from the Black Lagoon. It's not that hard to believe that, in a way, that's what the filmmakers were going for all along.

The problem is that it's hard to giggle and make snide remarks with your friends when a movie theater is packed, and no matter how much I think Clash of the Titans deserves it, please, please don't be that guy. But after this weekend you probably won't have much of a problem. Once word gets out that the movie is a mess and that the 3D makes it even worse, those theaters will probably empty out of regular moviegoers, leaving space for the camp fans, the one true audience for this film that will help it be remembered for decades to come.

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