Clash of the Titans (1981)

Article 3608 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-16-2011
Posting Date: 7-1-2011
Directed by Desmond Davis
Featuring Laurence Olivier, Claire Bloom, Maggie Smith
Country: USA
What it is: Harryhausen mythological epic

In order to fulfill his destiny by marrying the princess Andromeda, Perseus must face a number of dangers, including the deformed Calibos, the gorgon Medusa, and the Kraken.

Given that this was the last film of special effects giant Ray Harryhausen, it’s hard to watch this film and not feel a little sad at how the growth of special effects technology had reached the point where Harryhausen’s talents were no longer needed. And, despite the fact that the movie has its flaws (an occasionally clumsy script, some dull stretches, most of the big names in the cast are wasted), it’s also hard not to enjoy it; whatever problems it had, it was still an improvement over SINBAD AND THE EYE OF THE TIGER. The movie’s high point is Perseus’s battle with Medusa; it’s easily the scariest scene in any Harryhausen movie, and it’s a bit of a shame that it isn’t the climax of the whole movie. There are times when it tips its hat to STAR WARS; the ending sequence involving constellations seems designed to get the movie to end in outer space, and Bubo the Owl seems like it’s supposed to be this movie’s R2D2; I am grateful that Bubo is no more annoying and tiresome than he is. I’m a little disappointed in some of the gratuitous nudity in a movie that’s otherwise a good family film, but I do like that Calibos is not a totally unsympathetic villain. All in all, there’s good points and bad points, but the fact that it marks the end of an era makes it rather special.


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