Clash of the Titans (1981)

There aren’t too many people I talked to that didn’t remember watching the original Clash of the Titans from 1981.  Most didn’t remember a whole lot about it, but they at least remembered seeing it.  It’s a fantastical story about mortals and Gods, but it was shot at the end of an era.  It was one of the last big budget Hollywood movies which used all stop-motion photography.  Most movies after that moved on to the high-tech area of CGI.  With the release of the new Clash of the Titans, which I reviewed a few weeks ago at We’re Running Out Of Time, I decided to take a look back to the movie which spawned more than a few video games we know and love!

King Acricius has vanquished his daughter and her son to the sea, why, because his daughter slept with the god Zeus, and the Acricius has gone mad!  Zeus is upset at this treachery!  Even though Acricius has been a huge supporter of Zeus and the city of Argos has many statues in his likeness, Zeus demands that the Kraken be released to destroy Argos and all of it’s people.  He also tells Poseidon to save the boy, Perseus (Harry Hamlin), and take him and his mother to an island where they will be safe.

20 years later Perseus, Prince and heir to Argos, has grown up to be quite a remarkable young man.  Another Prince, Calibos, has been quite an asshole lately.  Even though he has been given all the luxuries of life and was planning to marry Princess Andromeda, he squandered all this chances and Zeus turns him into a monster, demon, some sort of nasty half-human half-devil!  Andromeda will no longer marry Calibos, so he puts a curse on her.  Any suitor must answer a riddle of his choosing or they will be burned to death!  As payback to Zeus, Godess Thetis drops Perseus far away from his island paradise, in the town of Japha.  It is here where Perseus meets Ammon (Burgess Meredith) and learns the fate of Andromeda and her future suitors.  He also finds so gifts from the Gods: a sword which can cut through solid stone, a shield which can receive messages from Zeus, and a helmet which turns the wearer invisible!

The soul of Andromeda is taken away at night by a huge vulture to the swamp where Calibos now lives.  Perseus and Ammon capture Pegasus, a flying horse, to follow the creature into the swap.  Perseus uses the helmet to get close and hear what Calibos says, but he is spotted and Calibos attacks him in the swap.  At the next meeting of “Who wants to marry a Princess” Perseus shows up and takes on the trivia question.  The answer just happens to be the ring which Calibos wears that was given to him by his mother Thetis.  He knows this because he chopped off Calibos’ hand, but spared his life.  Perseus is all set to marry Andromeda, but Thetis appears and ruins the party.  She gives the Queen 30 days to sacrifice her daughter Andromeda or else the Kraken will come and destroy their city like it did Argos 20 years ago!

The rest of the story is pretty similar to the new version of the movie.  Perseus and his crew must travel to see the Stygian witches because they are the only ones who might know how to defeat the Kraken.  Fortunately on their way to getting lost in the desert the Gods send Boobo the owl, in golden robot form!  He leads them to the Stygian witches.  And once there they learn the only way to defeat a Titan is with a Titan… the demon witch Medusa!  You’ll have to watch to see what happens from here.

Watching this movie was a great trip back to my childhood.  I remembered a lot of the action scenes and the basic story, but I was kind of surprised at how much I had forgotten.  But in all fairness it was 20 years ago that I last saw this I think.  Even though most of the special effects were pretty bad and dated, the movie is still a lot of fun.  One of the big differences I see in this one over the new one is the music.  Both movies are pretty lighthearted, but the music in the original fits that theme more.  It is more fun in this version, more mythical, not so much evil.

If you remember this movie from your childhood you owe it to yourself to see it again.  It really is a fun, silly movie with some pretty good acting and decent action scenes.  If you’ve never seen it I would recommend it.  Hell, rent this one and then go see the new one.  Both were terrific and it was cool to see where they differed.  Based on nostalgia alone I would give the original the nod.  The original Clash of the Titans gets 4 winged horses out of 5!

Don’t forget to check out my review of the new movie HERE!


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