CLASH OF THE TITANS (KEEPCASE) (1981)
Clash of the Titans (Keepcase) (1981)
Actors: Laurence Olivier, Harry Hamlin, Claire Bloom, Maggie Smith,
Director: Desmond Davis
Writers: Beverley Cross
Producers: Charles H. Schneer, John Palmer, Ray Harryhausen
Format: Color, DVD, Widescreen, Subtitled, NTSC
Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), French (Dolby
Digital 2.0 Surround)
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Region: 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Number of discs: 1
Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Warner Home Video
DVD Release Date: March 2, 2010
Run Time: 118 minutes
A Conversation with Ray Harryhausen
Myths and Monsters gallery
if you make a special effects movie, but the special effects aren’t really
special at all?
What if they were downright terrible? No, I’m not referring to the 1997
movie version of Spawn here, but rather 1981’s
Clash of the Titans, which mixed Greek mythology
with other elements (some Shakespeare and Norwegian mythology is to be
found, not to forget about a dash of R2D2 in an out-of-place robotic owl).
In brief: the movie deals with Perseus battling demonic creatures such as
Margaret Thatcher, er sorry, that would have been too scary for the kids, I
meant Medusa, oversized scorpion monsters, the Kraken, etc. Harry Hamlin
plays Perseus. (Yes, him of L.A. Law fame!) Zeus is played by
Lawrence Olivier who were probably thinking retirement fund at this stage of
Did you catch the reference about the creatures in Monsters, Inc.
going to a restaurant named Harryhausen’s? Well, then Clash of the Titans
is for you. It was the last movie on which one Ray Harryhausen (1920 - ) has
ever worked as effects supervisor. Harryhausen is one of the greatest
special effects men ever to have worked in Hollywood and revolutionized
so-called “stop motion,” a painstakingly slow process in which models of
creatures are brought to live by moving them one film frame at time. Modern
examples of the process include the clay models of Chicken Run and
Tim Burton’s The Nightmare before Christmas.
Today we have computers. Director Burton wanted to use stop motion to
animate his Martian invaders in Mars Attacks! but
finally settled on CGI instead because stop motion was considered too
expensive and slow. If you’re in your mid- to late 30s or older, then the
chances are good that some of your childhood fond memories would include
those of a threatening golden minotaur in Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger
(1977) and other fantastical creatures. Harryhausen’s credits include
amongst others The Beast from 20 000 Fathoms (1953),
Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1955),
Jason and the Argonauts (1963) and One
Million Years B.C. (1967).
Younger age groups may also have fond memories of
Clash of the Titans since the
movie has been shown often on Ted Turner’s TNT channel throughout the years
and probably have become Harryhausen’s best-known movie in the process.
Nostalgia is however a thing of a past as I often say. Today the effects in
Clash of the Titans look really really bad. To be honest, I remember
thinking the same when I saw the movie as a kid back in the early 1980s – in
the meantime Harryhausen’s special effects have been overtaken the visual
wizardry of flicks like Star Wars and
Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Now don’t get me wrong: I am not the type to harp on bad special effects or
old movies. Au contraire. The problem with Clash of the Titans is
that the movie lacks the energy, wit or flaming camp to make it truly
enjoyable. Instead, some bits are rather dull and plodding and the acting
lacks the over-the-topness that would have made it a more of a
Mystery Science Theater 3000 type of affair.
However, small boys would probably be terrified by it and Harryhausen fans
would want it for completeness’ sake.
RECOMMENDATION: If you want to give your little boy nightmares, then
this is the disc to buy him! Er, just kidding, but I think small kids will
enjoy the movie and so will Harryhausen fanatics. My problem is just that if
the movie were something like ten years older, then its aged special effects
would have been easier to forgive. If you are intent on your 1980s movie
nostalgia trip however, then this is the way to go about it . . .