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I ignored this film when it first came out in 1981. There were just too
cool films to see that year. Friends who saw it told me it was a laughable
hoot. Despite it's august cast and attempt to cash in on the mythic quest
themes of Star Wars, it rapidly sunk from sight.
In 1995, looking for a film appropriate for my 7 year old daughter, I
this film out of the 'family' section of my local library.
The critics are right. The F/X are clunky, even by 1981 standards.Harry
Hamlin is wooden. Judy Bowker is forgettable, and Laurence Olivier hams it
up shamelessly...and yet...IT ALL WORKS! The sets and lighting perfectly
capture our deepest feellings of mythic Greece. There isn't a drop of
contemporary forays into irony & cynicism. It is unalloyed GOOD vs EVIL
lovingly given to us by the effects wizard Harryhausen. His monsters have
childlike beauty that makes them 'scary' without trying to gross you out.
It's the myth, the quest, and finally the theme that love does conquer
No need for smart-alecky, eye-winking protaganists. Just a good old
fashioned story told straight and true.
My now 14yr. old daughter, wife and I just saw it again last
See it with the child in your life, or the child in you.
Thank you Mr. Harryhausen, for this and all your wonderful films.
I am not here to comment on the admittedly laughable acting. I am not here to ridicule the uninteresting and thoroughly unoriginal storyline. But if anyone, anywhere in the world, endeavours to say a bad word about Ray Harryhausen's special effects, that's where my moral sense of outrage kicks in and I jump into action. Harryhausen's efforts may not closely resemble the flashy, ultrareal CGI-effects we're used to seeing right now. Heck, they may even be primitive for the time they were made in. But darnit, they're vintage! What Harryhausen and his two (that's right, just two!) assistants bring us is unfiltered movie magic, and one of the last true testaments to a dying artform. I know at least a few people who agree with me, which is always a comfort.
This movie has been a favorite of mine since i was a kid--i was very into
Greek mythology during grade school, so i loved this film, even though
seen it about two dozen times (it continues to be a Sunday-afternoon
on TV). There are a number of mythological inaccuracies in this film (the
Kraken wasn't a mythological monster; Perseus didn't have Pegasus, but
actually borrowed Hermes' winged sandals, etc.), but it's still a good
introduction to ancient mythology. While the actors playing the "mortals"
are definitely inferior to those playing the Gods, i suppose it works in
sense of their being the Olympians' puppets and, well, a little limpness
the thespian department is somewhat de rigeur (as is the wise/comic
of Burgess Meredith and the 'little and cute' factor of the mechanical
for the kind of classic matinee swashbuckler that "Clash of the Titans"
But all these complaints that the Harryhausen effects are crap and it would be so much better done with CGI... well, that's pure craziness. Sure, the monsters don't look convincing, but they look a hell of a lot more convincing then they would as cheap computer animation--can you honestly imagine the Medusa sequence being done any better with some cartoon computer program? (Why? So it could look like the crap in "Phantom Menace"?) I've always felt that Harryhausen's stop-motion technique and the resultant odd way in which the monsters moved added to the sense of their mythic status, their unreality, the sense that these are creatures from another world, another plane. (The recent Asian fantasy/action film "Onmyoji" paid tribute to the master by having a CGI demon army move in Harryhausen stop-motion style and damn me if they didn't look scarier, more unearthly for it.) In my opinion, CGI looks even less "real," more like a painted-on cartoon. There's a depth and detail to creatures that have actually been created in the three-dimensional real world that those who have only existed on a computer screen don't have. Also, no matter how good an actor is, there's a difference between someone who's in the same room with the monster he's fighting, or who at least knows what it looks like, and someone who's just trying to "act scared" in the general direction where something will be inserted later. (Imagine the "Alien" movies made with a hyped-up animated creature: you know that even motionless and plastic squeezed between light stands, that giant H.R. Geiger monster gave everyone on set the creeps.) Maybe people like CGI because they feel safer with obviously fake monsters, things that never even existed as a three-foot high model next to the ham sandwich in someone's shop.
It's always difficult to review something in 1999 which was made 18
years earlier. The first thing that people do is to criticize the
special effects. Does this mean that every movie made before computer
graphics should be rejected out of hand. Should we start by throwing
out The Wizard of Oz because the flying monkeys used piano wires? It
ultimately gets down to whether there is a story worth telling and how
well that story is told. Clash of the Titans is not a masterpiece. It
does, however, tell a pretty good story. The characters are interesting
and the thread of mythology is interesting enough to carry it to its
conclusion. The special effects are the stop action kind that were the
only thing available at this time. Believe me, they were a lot of fun
when the movie first came out.
This tells the story of Perseus who is not as well known in mythology as say Hercules, Theseus, or Jason, but his story is a fun one. The quest for the evil Medusa, the need to figure out a way to defeat her without being turned to stone, the evil Calibos (a complete creation), and, of course, the beautiful Andromenda (Judi Bowker, who is absolutely stunning) is the prize. It is paced nicely and the scenery is pretty breathtaking. The music is also very nice. I enjoyed the creatures. I liked the boatman and the river of death. I liked Pegasus, I liked the sound effects. But I don't mind suspending my disbelief.
The downsides are numerous but I think they have more to do with what the director chose to do. The gods and goddesses are stiff and uninteresting, including Laurence (anything for a buck) Olivier. Some pretty important actors to throw away at these Olympian debriefings. They could have lost the owl. He is a mini version of R2-D2 with his silly metallic bleeps and erratic actions. I'm sure they did this for the kids but it really diminished the integrity of the story. Still, if you allow yourself, you can have a lot of fun with this film.
This film opens with a woman and her child being shunned by her kingly father and the city he represents, and banished to the depths of the sea. We soon find out that this child is the son of Zeus, king of Mt. Olympus and king of the gods. Zeus then releases this terrible beast called the Kracken to destroy the city. The child is saved and grows to manhood. His name is Perseus. The film is then a chronicle of Perseus's adventures as he battles the deadly, deformed Calibos, giant scorpions, a two-headed giant dog, and the evil Medusa herself, as well as the mightiest of all titans, the Kracken itself. We also see him befriend the magical Pegasus, and meet Cheron on the river Styx. This movie is great fun and makes all these mythological names come alive. The credit for this goes to the wonderful stop-animation work of Ray Harryhausen, in his (unfortunately) last film. Credit also goes to the wonderful supporting cast of British stage nobility playing the gods and such, Laurence Olivier plays Zeus, Maggie Smith is Thetis, and Claire Bloom, Ursala Andress, Flora Robson, and Burgess Meredith play memorable roles as well. Harry Hamlin as Perseus and Judi Bowker as his love-interest Andromeda are lackluster(although Ms. Bowker is VERY easy on the eyes). But their lack of acting savvy is one of the few detriments of the film. This film is fast-paced adventure that is magical, mystical, and memorable!
I love this movie. I remember when it made it's debut in 1981. Sure the
stop motion special effects used in the movie were just about at their
end by that time, but that does not detract one iota from the story.
Special effects DO NOT make a movie. Good acting and story do, period.
The movie of course is based on the Greek myth of Perseus. It follows the original myth rather well but of course there was some artistic license taken. A few of my favorite scenes were the encounter with the three blind witches, the crossing of the River Styx and of course the showdown with Medusa.
I fully recommend you see the movie and remember, don't pay the ferryman until he gets you to the other side.
Seriously, this one should be considered one of the most important and
influential movies of all time. It's also one of the best and most
entertaining fantasy/sci-fi movies ever.
If you like Mythology this is the movie you are looking for. Don't look elsewhere. You got your favorite characters, situations, heroes, villains, etc. Scenes filled with intense action, SPECTACULAR f/x (haven't aged, and are ahead of it's time), and a great score. You will never get bored, in fact, each scene is better than the previous.
In my opinion, the highlight of the movie is the battle with Medusa. The scene is dark, creepy, and intense. The Medusa character is scary and I recall having nightmares as a kid after watching her. Her demise is memorable, stuff for legend. The other "strong" and most famous scene is the final confrontation. A scene filled with fantasy and a feeling of victory I can't describe.
"Clash Of The Titans" is a must see for everyone. For example, if you are a Horror fan you should watch "The Exorcist", and if you're a die hard fan of Sci-Fi or Fantasy, you NEED to watch "Clash". It delivers for everyone in all aspects: entertainment, visuals, sound, and acting.
In the Mount Olympus, Zeus (Laurence Olivier) destroyed the city Argus
with the Titan Kraken to punish King Acrisius (Donald Houston) that
sentenced his daughter Danae (Vida Taylor) and her son with Zeus
Perseus to death in the sea. Zeus orders Poseidon to save them and
Perseus grows up in a paradisiacal island with his mother. Years later,
Zeus punishes Calibos (Neil McCarthy), the evil son of the goddess
Thetis (Maggie Smith) and fiancé of Princess Andromeda (Judi Bowker),
turning him into a monster doomed to live in the swamps. The vindictive
Thetis curses Andromeda with a spell and every suitor should solve a
riddle; otherwise he would be sentenced to the bonfire. Further, she
brings Perseus (Harry Hamlin) while sleeping half-naked to the City of
Jopa but Zeus gives magical helmet, shield and sword to his son for
self-protection. When Perseus sees Andromeda, he falls in love with her
and uses the magic outfits and Pegasus to discover the answer of the
riddle with Calibos. But Thetis dooms Andromeda to be sacrificed to the
Kraken otherwise the City of Jopa and the inhabitants will be destroyed
by the Titan. Perseus now has to defeat Medusa and the Kraken to save
his beloved princess.
The saga of Perseus, the mortal son of Zeus, and the intrigue among the Gods of Olympus, is brilliant presented in this magnificent film. The delightful story is supported by an outstanding international cast, with names such as Laurence Olivier, Burgess Meredith, Maggie Smith and Ursula Andress, and by fantastic special effects, considering this is a 1981 movie. The golden mechanical owl Buba is hilarious and responsible for some of the best moments in this film. This epic is a wonderful and highly recommended entertainment for the whole family. I do not recall how many times I have had the pleasure of watching this film. Yesterday I saw on DVD for the first time, and there is a pleasant interview with the producer in the extras. For me, this movie is a classic in the genre. My vote is ten.
Title (Brazil): "Fúria de Titãs" ("Fury of Titans").
Note: On 01 August 2010 I saw this movie again.
It's nice to know that with all the different Herculeses running around that no one forgot Perseus (the great grandfather of Hercules as a matter of fact). While the creators took obvious liberties with the story, the special effects are stunning, some of Ray Harryhausen's best. Medusa is right dead on although the concept of her as a naga (snake-goddess) hit me out of left field. The visualization of Olympus and the gods on it was a boring and stagnant without any major grandeur. They're attired in white togas with no creative costuming what so ever and no glimpses of the other myriad gods of Olympus. Ursula Andress would not have been my choice for Aphrodite, but Susan Fleetwood resembles Isabella Rosselini of "The Odyssey" enough to pull off Athena, but kudos have to go to whoever got Sir Laurence Oliver to play Zeus. Even next to Roy Dotrice, John Rhys-Davies or perhaps Sean Connery, he is the only man who could give the role the command it deserves. More liberties were taken with Thetis as the wife of Poseidon,though, her presence forced into the story is only merely there to inflict the fateful curse. Harry Hamlin may not be an action star, but he does well in the role. Beautiful Judi Bowker makes for an entrancing Andromeda despite the trial she went through chained to a cliff at high tide. Burgess Meredith is whimsical and wise as the playwright who Perseus befriends, and Neil McCarthy emotes as best as he can as the new character Calibos inserted into the legend. The few things I can find fault with at all is the obvious overuse of previous footage whenever Perseus flies over Joppa. The tiny robotic owl Bubo is as charming as a big, stupid, purple dinosaur on PBS, but the images of Pegasus are as spectacular as you would expect. The images flying through the air again are foiled by the obvious overuse of stock footages and the telling scenes with stop-motion. Despite these few faults, this is a very enchanting fantasy and a very under-appreciated movie.
I remember seeing this film when it came out in the theaters in 1981. This
kind of movie just does not get made anymore. Come to think of it they did
not get made back in 1981 either. This film has the feel of Hollywood's
golden age when epics were getting made about the past instead of the
present or future. You kept expecting Elizabeth Taylor or Kirk Douglas to
walk on screen.
The film is about Perseus and his attempt to save Andromada from condemnation by the gods. To do this he must get the head of Medusa. Only the three blind witches know where she is though, and he must cross the river Styx to get to Medusa's lair. Needless to say the film is very story heavy as it follows our hero on his quest. But remember back in Hollywood's Golden Age, action depended on story line, not vice versa like today. That's why this plot heavy movie is a timeless epic.
The film has very good special effects and set designs, even by today's standards. There is something about effects when they are not generated by a computer. They have a more 3-D look and seem to come to life. When you watch The Matrix you feel like you are watching a cartoon. When you see the execution procession at the end of Clash of the Titans, you feel like it is real. After all it is, isn't it?
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