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CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981) 
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Post CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981)
Click here for the review of Clash of the Titans (1981)

Part of the "1980s" series.


Thu Mar 05, 2009 4:18 pm
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Post Re: CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981)
Yeah, I missed this on TCM the other night to watch 'Midnight Express'. I guess I made a wise choice.


Thu Mar 05, 2009 4:30 pm
Post Re: CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981)
I think Richard Schieb from The Horror, SF and Fantasy Review site said it best about the effects being horrid when Dragonslayer or whatever was using Go-Motion to much greater success.


Thu Mar 05, 2009 5:39 pm
Post Re: CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981)
i watched this not too long ago on one of the encore channels... yeah its pretty bad.

But I remember when I first saw it as a 14 year old, I thought it was great.


Thu Mar 05, 2009 8:38 pm
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Post Re: CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981)
Philliard wrote:
i watched this not too long ago on one of the encore channels... yeah its pretty bad.

But I remember when I first saw it as a 14 year old, I thought it was great.


I remember being a little disappointed by it when I saw it in 1981, perhaps because I was psyched to see it. But I know I liked it better back then than I did when I re-watched it last week.


Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:20 pm
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Post Re: CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981)
I always found it hokey. I guess I liked it well enough as a 10 year old when it came out, but unlike other films, I never recall being wowed or wanting to see it again.


Thu Mar 05, 2009 11:29 pm
Post Re: CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981)
Laurence Olivier had a ton of bad performances to his credit that don't necessarily include titles like 'Clash of the Titans', 'The Jazz Singer', and whatever else he elected to make during those dread final years of his career. Olivier as 'Zeus' is semi-atonement for terrible turns in Rebecca and the painful Marathon Man. He took those big risks (early on) and failed often enough to earn a place as a Great Actor but he's not bulletproof.


Fri Mar 06, 2009 2:09 am
Post Re: CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981)
I have books on Harryhausen and have watched most of his films

This one is not a favorite.

I am not sure if Charles H Schneer and Harry thought that they could jump on the new Star wars driven badwagon. It just di not work

James to be honest, you're being kind with your reviews.

That said, i hope the review might get a few to think about checking out the RH greats.

There's a reason the bar in Monsters Inc is called Harryhausens.

Rob


Fri Mar 06, 2009 3:27 am
Post Re: CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981)
I'll provide the lone dissenting voice here. I know it's intellectually indefensible but I've loved Clash of the Titans ever since I saw it at a very young age (must be nostalgia). I particularly like the depiction of the involvement of the Greek gods. The gods messing with the fate of mere mortals in games of one-upmanship reflects Greek mythology very well. I would contrast this with Troy, which goes out of its way to be more "realistic" and is a travesty of the Iliad. I mean, Achilles, demigod and Greek warrior king extraordinaire as a brooding, conflicted action hero, wtf?


Fri Mar 06, 2009 5:04 am
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Post Re: CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981)
majoraphasia wrote:
Laurence Olivier had a ton of bad performances to his credit that don't necessarily include titles like 'Clash of the Titans', 'The Jazz Singer', and whatever else he elected to make during those dread final years of his career. Olivier as 'Zeus' is semi-atonement for terrible turns in Rebecca and the painful Marathon Man. He took those big risks (early on) and failed often enough to earn a place as a Great Actor but he's not bulletproof.


His last performance, in a TV miniseries adaptation of J.B. Priestley's "Lost Empires," is one of his career highlights. Heartbreaking in so many ways...


Fri Mar 06, 2009 11:46 am
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Post Re: CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981)
Unke wrote:
I'll provide the lone dissenting voice here. I know it's intellectually indefensible but I've loved Clash of the Titans ever since I saw it at a very young age (must be nostalgia).


Never underestimate the power of nostalgia in shaping what you do and don't like. That's why I wrote this ReelThoughts.


Fri Mar 06, 2009 11:50 am
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Post Re: CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981)
Hopefully a God of War movie will give us what a Greek mythology-based epic SHOULD be. I can't imagine anyone trying to neuter poor Kratos into a PG-13 hero.


Mon Mar 09, 2009 1:30 am
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Post Re: CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981)
KRoss wrote:
Hopefully a God of War movie will give us what a Greek mythology-based epic SHOULD be. I can't imagine anyone trying to neuter poor Kratos into a PG-13 hero.


I think the Clash remake is due next year. I'm not sure about the status ofGod of War. Actually, I suspect the new Clash will only loosely be classified as a remake. I think Kasdan essentially started from scratch, basing his screenpay on the mythology of Perseus rather than the 1981 script. There's certainly plenty of room for improvement. I'm sure the effects will be impressive; the question is whether the film will be able to get the characters and relationships right. That's where far too many big budget movies fail.


Mon Mar 09, 2009 10:06 am
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Post Re: CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981)
KRoss wrote:
Hopefully a God of War movie will give us what a Greek mythology-based epic SHOULD be. I can't imagine anyone trying to neuter poor Kratos into a PG-13 hero.


Last I heard is that they wanted Djmon Honsou to be Kratos...which would rock.


Mon Mar 09, 2009 10:59 am
Post Re: CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981)
This movie definatly had nostalgia factor working on me, when I first saw it as a kid I loved it. Then when I finally
saw it again when I was in my 20's...I realised it just didn't hold up at all. Great review James, you hit all the flaws
right on the head with this one. Here's hoping the new version written by Kasdan will be a major improvement.


Thu Mar 12, 2009 3:57 pm
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Post Re: CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981)
Justin T wrote:
Here's hoping the new version written by Kasdan will be a major improvement.


It's apparently due out in March 2010 - taking next year's 300/Watchman slot.


Thu Mar 12, 2009 6:03 pm
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Post Re: CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981)
James Berardinelli wrote:
Justin T wrote:
Here's hoping the new version written by Kasdan will be a major improvement.


It's apparently due out in March 2010 - taking next year's 300/Watchman slot.


Don't forget about 10,000 BC*


*For the love of God forget it!


Thu Mar 12, 2009 6:12 pm
Post Re: CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981)
I have to take criticism with Mr. Beradinelli's review and the dog piling this movie has been receiving in this thread. I think it is the best fantasy film of the 1980s. I was just barely alive when it originally was released, one year old to be exact. So I'm not defending it based on some nostalgic bias, because I was too young when it came out. Anyway, some comments to things you mentioned in the review.

Quote:
The movie, which was originally targeted at both Star Wars fans and the ever-growing population of Dungeons & Dragons gamers, failed to enrapture anyone in either camp. Then again, with Clash of the Titans, "camp" is indeed an appropriate descriptor.


Harryhausen and Charles H. Scheer had been wanting to make this movie for a long time, well before Star Wars and Dungeons & Dragons became popular. Plus it was familiar territory because they had mined Greek mythology with Jason and the Argonauts back in 1963. I find the Dungeons and & Dragons comment particularly weird. Clash of the Titans was filmed in late 1979, with the effects work done in 1980 for a release date of June 1981. This was before sword & sorcery movies became a genre. I also think Harryhausen was creative enough that he didn't have to jump on the Star Wars bandwagon. He even said Bulbo the Owl was in his mind before R2D2 came about.

Quote:
Greek mythology, with its sex, violence, monsters, and heroes, should provide fertile soil for an epic fantasy adventure, but a greater degree of style is required than the one exhibited by director Desmond Davis, who doesn't seem to know whether this should be a serious endeavor or a children's yarn. The film's tonal shifts from the ridiculous to the sublime are too frequent and oddly handled to be forgivable, and they give Clash of the Titans a split personality. One minute, there's a tense confrontation between Perseus and a hideous monster. The next, he's conversing with a mechanical owl.


And Star Wars doesn't have abrupt changes from being dark to light hearted? Like the comic relief of R2D2 and C3PO? Or how about the unbearable Ewoks in Return of the Jedi? (I think Clash of the Titans is superior to it).

Quote:
Some of the stop-motion animation work in Clash of the Titans is superlative but the other effects elements, particularly the blue-screen work, fail. The scenes with Poseidon cranking the handle to raise the portcullis confining the Kraken are especially bad. While special effects in 1981 were primitive compared to what they have become in the intervening decades, they were not in the Dark Ages. Numerous contemporaneous films (such as The Empire Strikes Back) employed multiple kinds of effects work with more credible results, leaving viewers to wonder what went wrong in Clash of the Titans. Regardless of the cause, the outcome provided the kinds of cringe-worthy moments that jar the viewer out of the delicate spell cast by the film. It's possible to enjoy Clash of the Titans as a celebration of camp but not as the serious endeavor it was envisioned to be. And the good aspects of Harryhausen's work here are swamped by the bad.


I don't get this either. I think the effects work by Harryhausen have to be included among his great work. The detail on the Pegasus is one of his best creations, assisted by another wonderful stop motion animator named Jim Dandforth. The same with the Medusa sequence and the wonderful lighting, also one of his finest sequences. I also love the Kracken and the two-headed hound. I don't know what the criteria is for ranking something "good" in the jaded "impress me" CGI oversaturated times we live in now. And I don't think the effects work is any less effective than The Empire Strikes Back, which utilized stop motion and models, for which Lucas unfortunately thought needed updating by altering with CGI years later.


I also have to strongly disagree when you rate the remake of this movie as being higher. When in fact it has a lower rating on Rotten Tomatoes (28%) and was almost universally derided for the lame CGI effects in 3D, Sam Worthington's stone face non-acting (makes Hamlin look like a master thespian by comparison) and boring action.


To repeat an earlier quote you made in prematurely stating that this film "failed to enrapture" anyone, is anything but the contrary. It grossed over forty million at the box office and was ranked as the 11th highest grossing movie of 1981, hardly a flop. Respected critics like Roger Ebert gave it 3 and half stars.

I also think the cast is terrific, especially Burgess Meredith and Laurence Olivier. And I can't forget the score by Laurence Rosenthal, just majestic.

I also have to say I think this was superior to his two Sinbad movies of the seventies. I would rank it third in his fantasy series after The 7th Voyage of Sinbad and Jason and the Argonauts.


Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:04 pm
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