Not So Titanic Over Time – Andy Burns revisits the original Clash Of The Titans

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The Queen and I talked about seeing the new Clash Of The Titans remake this past weekend, but with Easter and our housecleaning duties we didn’t make it. Some family members did, mind you, and the reviews have not been kind. The poor reception seems to be a common refrain amongst the geek community. Normally I avoid reviews and spoilers but for some reason with the Clash Of The Titans I’ve been keen to find out what people think of the film and how it stacks up with the original.

Speaking of which, I did manage to talk the Queen into watching the original film from back in 1981 on a newly reissued DVD a few nights ok. As one who is certainly big on trying out new technology, I jumped on the Blu-Ray bandwagon and have purchased most of my releases in that format. Sometimes I grab my stuff used if I can find a film for cheap, but I’m always willing to spend between $20 and $25 a new Blu-Ray. My original plan was to pick up Clash Of The Titans on Blu-Ray, but the price discrepancy between the DVD and Blu-Ray reissues was ridiculous – a $21 discrepancy in fact, and this is for a disc that hasn’t been cleaned up and that features the same extras as the original DVD release from a few years back. I know more and more people are purchasing Blu-Ray players and discs, but we’re still aways away before it becomes standard. For people to want to embrace the new technology, pricing has got to be better.

Ok, I’m done. But I think you know where I’m coming from on this. I liked Clash Of The Titans back when I was a kid and I’d been interesting in owning it for some time – I just wasn’t going to pay a premium for it. And to be honest, once we finished watching the original I’m glad that I didn’t.

As it stands, the original film hold up in some ways. The Greek mythos haven’t been done to death on the big screen or on television so there’s still a cool novelty in seeing the 1981 depictions of Medusa, Pegasus, and Gods like Zeus and Poseiden. Harry Hamlin’s performance as Perseus, the human son of Zeus, also hold up very nicely. It’s a wonder that he never became a bigger star than he was, though a prime spot on LA Law for a years is nothing to scoff at. There are a few great action scenes that still hold up (the battle with Medusa is pretty tense) and while destruction of Argos wasn’t as massive as I remember it, it’s still fairly grim. In a lot of ways, the original Clash Of The Titans is like the original Conan The Barberian, with better acting.

However one of the things that the film is best remembered for, the stopmotion animation courtesy of legend Ray Harryhausen, really has not stood the test of time at all. There are some moments that do work (once again, Medusa springs to mind) but the scenes of the winged horse Pegasus flying or the Kraken itself just don’t carry the same owe with them that they did when I was a kid. How could they? But I’m also pleased that I didn’t get the Blu-Ray version of Clash Of The Titans, because the films dated special effects would no doubt stand out that much more. 

This was really one of those times where I’m glad I saved my dough. There’s a great nostalgia factor in watching the original Clash Of The Titans, but as a technical wonder it just doesn’t hold up the way you’d want it to. Though judging by the reviews I’m hearing, maybe the new version of the old not so classic won’t hold up over time either.

One Reply to “Not So Titanic Over Time – Andy Burns revisits the original Clash Of The Titans”

  1. Hilarious. I watched in on TV the other night and was howling at the stop motion animation that had me so scared as a child.
    Great for nostalgia's sake, but even Ten Commandments had longer standing FX and composites.

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