I saw the new remake of Clash of the Titans with my buddy Dr Mike last week. After watching it I got jazzed to watch the original 1981 version, so I queued it up on Netflix streaming and watched it this past weekend. Here is a review and comparison of the two movies.
Clash of the Titans (1981) – I loved this movie when I was a kid. I also hadn’t watched it since I was a kid, so, as happens very often, it’s entirely possible that my 7 year old self didn’t know what the hell he was talking about so I decided to watch this classic again. How does it stand up? Not bad. I was surprised how much of the movie I actually remembered. Like in the new remake, the Gods are played by awesome and well respected actors; Sir Lawrence Olivier, Ursula Andress and Maggie Smith. There’s also an awesome role played by Burgess Meredith, and Julie Bowker, who plays Andromeda, is gorgeous. So the casting, so far was great. Except for Harry Hamlin. I’ve never been a huge fan of him, and this movie did nothing to change that perception, but the movie worked despite me not really even liking the actor (I didn’t mind Perseus as a character). And I love the Harryhausen stop motion effects. Medusa, Calibos and the Kraken just rule in this movie. I don’t know what it is, but the stop motion just works for me in a throwback/vintage way. And the whole “hero’s journey” that is setup for Perseus to save Andromeda really works as a story. There were some slow parts yes, but on the whole the movie rocks. Calibos, the giant scorpions, the battle with Medusa, Bubo, the Stygian Witches. It all just worked. I really enjoyed it. This is one movie that really could have aged and been terrible on a modern viewing, but it is fun, the effects are great and the story is interesting.
Clash of the Titans (2010) – Okay, now let’s talk about the remake. On paper, this looks to be very similar experience for me. Lots of mythology and the Gods are played by awesome and well-respected actors. Alexa Davalos as Andromeda is gorgeous and, again, I’m not a big fan of the actor playing Perseus. However, I didn’t like Hamlin in the original either, and it worked, so it shouldn’t be a big deal. First, the good things in the movie. EVERYTHING with the Gods. Liam Neeson as Zeus and Ralph Fiennes as Hades work on every conceivable level. They came with their game faces on and everything with them and the entire design of Olympus just works…period. I’m a little confused that they cast the great Danny Huston as Poseidon and he only gets one line. ONE LINE!? Anyway, all of the action scenes and effects are exciting and visually spectacular. The Kraken looks awesome as do the Stygian Witches, giant scorpions, Medusa and Calibos. Actually, Jason Flemyng as Calibos is FANTASTIC. He’s not used enough and is dispatched way too easily. But when he’s there, he’s bad ass. The set design for this movie is ridiculous. They really went nuts with the environments.