US Release Date: 06-12-1981
Directed by: Desmond Davis
- Harry Hamlin, as
- Judi Bowker, as
- Princess Andromeda
- Burgess Meredith, as
- Maggie Smith, as
- Ursula Andress, as
- Claire Bloom, as
- Laurence Olivier, as
- Susan Fleetwood, as
- Pat Roach, as
- Sian Phillips, as
- Flora Robson as
- Stygian Witch
Harry Hamlin in Clash of the Titans.
I use to be a huge Dungeons And Dragons player. I was so into the fantasy genre that I would eagerly await the rare sword and sorcery film to come out. When Clash Of The Titans came out, I was ecstatic to see it. Unfortunately, I had no way to get to the theatre. My best friend and I walked miles to see this film. It was worth it at the time. Today I wouldn't walk across the room to watch it.
Harry Hamlin stars as Perseus, the Greek hero who does battle with the Kraken and Medusa. All is done in an attempt to save his ladylove Andromeda. Sure there is plenty of action and adventure, but it is so poorly done that you will not care.
The problem is that this movie was made before computer animation. The effects are so pathetically out dated that it is laughable. The Kraken is so obviously fake that you have to give the actors some credit for pretending otherwise.
In fact, this movie is almost good in a bad way. You can watch it and make fun of it. It adds to the entertainment. I like Sir Laurence Olivier as Zeus. In one scene, he reveals himself to Perseus through his shield. I haven't a clue why he chose that method but it adds to the stupidity of the movie. First Perseus has to turn the shield around because the all mighty Zeus appeared on the wrong side. Then Zeus tells Perseus to 'Find and fulfill your destiny.' Olivier sounds so out of breath that I wonder if he was near death when making this movie. Also, the line is absurd. You can't find destiny. Destiny finds you. If something is your destiny, it will find you whether or not you seek it. This movie is so bad it is kind of entertaining. Just don't get me started on that mechanical owl.
Ursula Andress plays Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. Although she is 20 years and 20 extra pounds away from Dr. No, she is still the most exotic blonde beauty the movies have ever seen. Hamlin must have agreed with me, because he and Andress hooked up during the making of this movie and ended up having a child together.
Show this movie to your kids. Laugh at scenes that are not intended to be funny. Recite the overly dramatic lines such as 'Release the Kraken!' Whatever you do, don't attempt to take this movie seriously. It is just too good of a joke to waste.
Harry Hamlin in Clash of the Titans.
Like Eric I remember when this movie came out. I find it a bit disconcerting that movie technology was really this primitive in 1981. At the time the special effects, by the legendary Ray Harryhausen, were considered cutting edge. They haven't aged well at all. Although they do contain some highly imaginative ideas, the best executed of which is the flying-horse Pegasus.
The stellar cast of actors, some classically trained, is what the movie is best remembered for. Besides the aforementioned Olivier and Andress, the cast includes Maggie Smith, Siân Phillips, Donald Houston, Burgess Meredith and Claire Bloom. Since this is a Greek legend dealing with mythological Gods it makes perfect sense that the entire cast is playing to the back row.
The story is well-paced and Harry Hamlin provides the emotional center around which all these fantastic creatures and actions revolve. He plays the role very straight which only serves to add to the overall level of camp.
I only hope the planned remake keeps all that is good about this version of the legend of Perseus and Andromeda. All that needs adding really is some CGI magic.
A lot less clay and a few more actors in makeup (like this one), would have helped.
The thing that strikes me about the special effects used in this movie is that obviously the filmmakers were quite proud of them because they try to show them off. Take the scene of the Kraken at the end for instance. It rises slowly from the sea. The camera pans up his body. There are several scenes of him grabbing the rocks. It's as if they are expecting everyone to say, "Wow, look at that!" Now if I was making a movie and the monster looked like that, I'd be trying to hide it as much as possible.
What really gets me about the special effects though is the odd choices they made in using them. Calibos, as an example, is played by an actor in makeup for the closeups and is claymation in the long shots. Well, in the closeups his makeup is actually quite good, and in the long shots the claymation looks exactly like claymation, so why didn't they just use the actor for every shot. Sure, maybe they'd have had to lose the tail or trim it down, but it still would have looked much more realistic. And the same goes for Medusa. Why not use an actress in makeup instead of the fake-looking clay again?
Since this movie was made in 1981 when the world was still reeling from the Sci-Fi mania brought on by Star Wars, the filmmakers also decided to add a cutesy robotic owl into the mix. Seriously? A robot owl? In ancient Greece? I tell you right now, they better have cut that fucking thing from the remake or I swear its doomed to failure from the start.
My biggest problem with this movie though, actually has nothing to do with the special effects. I mean hey, look at the original Star Trek series. It had shit special effects and it was still a great show. What it did have that this movie lacks is great characters. Sure the gods are interesting here (I wanted to see more of them), but Perseus is as dull as a box of rocks. He's young, strong, handsome, absolutely everything goes his way, and oh yeah, his father is Zeus, so if by chance anything should go wrong, don't worry Daddy will help you out. So why exactly am I rooting for this guy to get even more than he already has? I mean, he's never in any danger and his personality flaw is that he has no flaws.
There's also no character development and Perseus and Andromeda have zero chemistry together. They're both just pretty, which apparently is enough for them. Together they reminded me of that pretty couple Woody Allen stops on the street in Annie Hall to ask how they work as a couple to which the woman replies, "I'm very shallow and empty and I have no ideas and nothing interesting to say." and the man adds, "And I'm exactly the same way."
Personally, I'm hoping they change absolutely everything about this movie in the remake except for the gods. They need to remember to develop the characters as much as they develop the special effects. Otherwise, they'll end up with a movie that's just as bad as this one, only prettier.
Photos © Copyright Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (1981)