Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Clash of the Titans (1981)


Dir: Desmond Davis (Ordeal by Innocence)
Cast: Harry Hamlin, Judy Bowker, Burgess Meredith, Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith, Claire Bloom, Ursula Andress, Neil McCarthy, Jack Gwillim, Susan Fleetwood
USA, 1981

Seen: Originally back in the 80's, Revisited January 4, 2010

Reason to Watch & Review: For the Sword & Sandal Marathon*

I've always had fond memories of the 1981 version of Clash of the Titans, even though I'd openly admit it's not a great film. But it certainly is a fun film, one that I considered including in last Octobers It Used to Scare Me Tuesdays because it did used to scare me - there is a fair share of not only frightening scenes and imagery but more so in the ideas and situations the characters are involved in. Considering we are dealing with powerful Greek Gods & Goddesses, Titans, Gorgons and creatures there is no shortage of fantastical and epic events!

It's interesting as when I look back at the film from memory, I really remember specific key moments but not the overall story. Seeing it again, it's clear that it's a hero story following the character Perseus played by Harry Hamlin. I do enjoy the story of the film, but more so how the story is told especially when it's from the perspective of the Gods and in the transitions from the Gods to the mortal world. I also love that there are lots of Goddesses in the film as well. I was surprized at the vengefulness behind so much of the action, but that allows for ample opportunity for drama and conflict although they rarely go into the whole good vs evil discussion.

The acting at times almost feels like it's a kids movie, as it can be very clear and obvious especially Harry Hamlin as Perseus but upon this viewing I could see he's going for a naiveté angle which fits his characters story but is quite a usual choice for a hero. Other notable performances include not surprizingly Laurence Olivier, who looks like he is having a hell of a lot of fun playing the all & powerful Zeus - it's subtle, but it's there. Also wonderful to watch is Maggie Smith as the cautiously vengeful Goddess Thetis.

After the characters, the big real treat of the film is the mythical creatures of the world and the visual effects overall. It's wild to see how many of the pivotal characters are in fact creatures of some sort. With the exception of the blue screen effects (which can be truly laughable), the remaining effects really hold strong given how much time has passed since the films release. The animation effects in particular are fun and feel very nostalgic. My favourite of the effects, and one of the reasons the film still holds strong, is when it is the creative use of effects tells the story or to show different ways of seeing things. That creativity in storytelling intertwines all aspects of the film into one vision, which is the true highlight of the film as it brings the mythic tale to life.

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it
Ill watch it again
I'd recommend it as a fun fantasy/adventure film

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© Shannon Ridler, 2010

* The Sword & Sandal Marathon is a 13 week marathon exploring sword & sandal films in anticipation of the 2010 release of Clash of the Titans (2010)



Suzie Ridler said...

Greek mythology is so filled with stories of vengeance, it's crazy! I hardly remember this movie but just you mentioning all the Goddesses has got me super curious, I wonder if they will reshow this movie with the new version coming out so soon.

Funny, I totally remember us all watching it together, but remember little about the actual movie!

Jay Clarke said...

I loved COTT as a kid. Bubo FTW! :D

Just wanted to let you know I nominated you for a Kreativ Blogger. Check it out here.

See ya soon!

The Film Connoisseur said...

Defenetly one my favorites, and Im anxiously awaiting that remake! They are currently doing some reshoots, adding more gods and effects to the film! I guess producers got a whiff of how much people are looking forward to it.

Also, I hear it might be in 3d!

I love the stop motion animation, but some of it isnt all that great anymore. Most of it works, except for the flight with Pegasus, the stop motion animation just didnt work for me.

But those scenes with Medusa..and the Kraken! Still awesome in my book!

Cant wait to see Liam Neeson as Zeus! That should rock!

Also, I nominated you for the Kreative Blogger Award, go over here and check it out:

Heidy Mo. - Hye! said...

Thanks for the review... I watched the original just recently and it brought me back... The stop motion animation by Harryhousen is still cool to me. Looking forward to the remake and see what they added.

wigst said...

I love this movie. I really hope I can find a local indie theatre to show it when the remake comes out.
It would be great to see Harryhausen's work on the big screen. I'm too young to have enjoyed it in that manner when the film was originally released in theatres.

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