Clash of the Titans (1981)

Action/ Adventure/ Fantasy

Rated PG
Spoiler Free

I loved Clash of the Titans as a kid. The Ray Harryhausen animation, in particular Medusa, always stuck in my mind as did a cheeky bit of boob. Is it still there? I wondered whether they'll have sanitised the Blu Ray version I purchased, worried some nipple might titillate a 10-year-old as it did in the 80’s. Answer, yes; the boob is still there but it has a baby attached to it, something I'd clearly zoned out as a child I was so fixated on the rest of it.

Despite boasting a heavyweight cast (Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith, Meredith Burgess, Ursula Andress, erm, Harry Hamblin…), this is not Homer or Virgil. Clash of the Titans is not the Aeneid, though it is sort of based on the myth of Perseus. The filmmakers rely on spectacle. No matter how many decent actors you pay, this is a celebration of technical achievement and visuals not nuanced thespianism. Thespians are of course all from the Greek island of Thesbos.

As if to drive it home early on, there’s some wonderfully blunt exposition of the Gods as they waffle on explaining who is who and what the backstory to the main plot and players is. The plot is essentially that son-of-a-God Perseus battles various boss level Greek baddies, all mythical monsters, levelling up in difficulty with each one. The most complicated part of the story is rattled through by the Gods, acting as kind of narrators, but like I said, you’re not here for the story. The Gods in Clash of the Titans are all as fallible as humans. It's like we can't imagine perfection when we consider a deity. It's the same with Catholicism.

On visuals, I wouldn't exactly call the Blu-ray I was watching fully restored, but hey, maybe I didn’t need to see the nipple in fully touched up 4K. Yeah, I can live without that. The imagination behind the effects is just jaw dropping. They had to film this so precisely to execute what effects they could within the limits of the day. It's honestly mind blowing, I have so much more respect for practical effects than visual effects and I appreciate that that's unfair, there’s a lot of skill in CGI too.

Although it's an absolutely iconic scene, the best in the film in my opinion, what does Medusa do day to day? She seems to wander around just randomly shrieking with nobody around for company but her statues. I'd be bloody annoyed as well if that’s all I had to do. Actually, no, I've spent a lot of time in my room in the dark shrieking whenever I have to see a real human being so I can't really criticise that. Maybe she's got a drinking problem, that’d probably make the days go quicker anyway.

These days Clash of the Titans is cheesy and it looks a lot older than it is, which is neither here nor there at this point, forty two years on. For me, there's a romantic, timeless, classic feel which is hard to shake.

Bedsit it?

Clash of the Titans is dated and panto and all of that, but also glorious entertainment made with such skill that I still really enjoyed my return to it. Oh and there's boob. 7/10

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