August 03, 1981 12:00 PM

If you quiver at the prospect of two hours of elaborately staged, often hilarious Greek mythological kitsch, then Clash is for you. But if your taste also runs to gripping plot, fast-paced action and characters perceptibly less mechanical than special-effects monsters, try Homer. As Zeus, Laurence Olivier is the sleepiest deity ever. As the young Perseus, handsome Harry Hamlin confronts savage foes with a sword and a shield that render him invincible, a helmet that renders him invisible and a script that renders him inarticulate. The film does get help from beautiful Judi Bowker as Perseus’ slinky heartthrob, Andromeda, but there isn’t enough of her, not even when she emerges, nude and glistening, from a Greek hot tub. Hamlin’s offscreen lady, Ursula Andress, is overdraped and underused as Aphrodite. And only incurable nostalgia freaks will go for director Ray Harryhausen’s ’50ish gimmicks: a Godzilla-like sea monster capable of unleashing a tidal wave by clearing its throat; a Pegasus that minces around backward and forward like those kitties in the TV cat food ads; and a mechanical owl cloned, it seems, from Star Wars’ C-3PO. The movie’s visual high points are a couple of well-designed effects involving three blind hags and a gruesome Medusa. “What more,” Zeus wonders of young Perseus’ strong build and dark good looks, “could any mortal desire or deserve?” Well, check local listings. This myth conception is easily avoided. (PG)

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