Sunday, November 28, 2010

Clash of the Titans (1981)

Director: Desmond Davis

Starring: Laurence Olivier, Claire Bloom, Maggie Smith, Ursula Andress, Jack Gwillim, Harry Hamlin, Burgess Meredith

More info: IMDb

Tagline: An Epic Entertainment Spectacular!

Plot: By answering a seemingly impossible riddle, Perseus, the son of Zeus, wins the hand of the Princess Andromeda in marriage. Trouble appears in the shape of Calibos, the princess's former love, and his mother, the Goddess Thetis. In order that the dreaded Kraken not be released, Andromeda has to be sacrificed and Perseus searches for the Medusa; her head is the only thing that can stop the Kraken.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? Sure as shit!


I remember seeing this in the theater nearly thirty years ago. I loved it then and I love it still. It's a great adventure story in the mold of the Sinbad pictures and sword & sandals of the 60s. The special effects (except for when the city is attacked in the beginning) are outstanding. Ray Harryhausen's stop motion work is nothing short of fantastic. Medusa is downright frightening.

The makeup for Calibos is astonishingly good and nothing compares to it in the ridiculously bland remake that came out this year.

I'm OK with Hamlin in the role of Perseus but I cannot tolerate the comic relief that is that fucking mechanical owl. It looks cool as hell and I'd love to have one sitting on my desk but not in this movie. That's the one thing they got right in the remake and it made for a good laugh but for a different reason.

The original had life and I think the practical effects did much to exemplify that. The remake just sat there. This is an excellent case for how CGI does not equal better. Oh, and here's something the remake missed completely, an image that stayed with that 12 year old boy who saw this in the theater way back in 1981...

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