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CLASH OF THE TITANS   ***

Directed by Desmond Davis. Starring Harry Hamlin, Judi Bowker, Maggie Smith, Burgess Meredith, Sian Phillips. UK, Frantasy, 113 mins, cert 12.

Released in the UK on Double Play BluRay and DVD by Warner Home Video on the 26th February, 2018.

 

Directed by Desmond Davis. Starring Harry Hamlin, Judi Bowker, Maggie Smith, Burgess Meredith, Sian Phillips. UK, Frantasy, 113 mins, cert 12.

 

Released in the UK on Double Play BluRay and DVD by Warner Home Video on the 26th February, 2018.

 

This was the final film in Ray Harryhausen's effects career, and probably the biggest and closest to a proper A-list project. For this, he and fellow producer Charles Schneer went back to Greek mythology for the first time since JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS (the skeleton fight is probably Harryhausen's most celebrated work), throwing together elements of the legends of Perseus, Pegasus and Zeus in a half-faithful, half-invented quest story that's mostly good Saturday matinee fun (though it carries a 12 certificate, possibly for some brief discreet nudity as much as the "moderate fantasy violence").

 

The plot of CLASH OF THE TITANS is basically the Olympian Gods interfering in the lives of mere mortals for their own personal amusement or as pawns in their petty squabbles. Zeus, having manifested as a shower of gold (whatever that is), impregnated the mortal Queen Danae of Argos and fathered a son, Perseus. As an adult, Perseus (Harry Hamlin) falls in love with the Princess Andromeda (Judi Bowker), but has to go on a quest for the Medusa's head, the only way he can defeat the Kraken which will be summoned to attack the city of Joppa in thirty days....

 

With a heavyweight cast that includes Lord Olivier, Maggie Smith and Ursula Andress (curiously given nothing to do as the goddess Aphrodite except stand there), and a rousing symphonic score by Laurence Rosenthal, CLASH OF THE TITANS is pretty enjoyable fantasy hokum. The Harryhausen creations are, as expected by now, terrific, superbly animated, with snake-headed Medusa being the pick of the bunch and one of the best in his entire filmography. As usual, the beasts are given some character and personality within the painstaking, highly detailed stop-motion. But it's a shame some of the optical work surrounding them is so surprisingly below par. Thick matte lines abound, the early flooding of the city of Argos suffers because water doesn't scale, and there are some underwater shots of Poseidon opening the gates to release the Kraken that would shame the BBC's own Doctor Who for dodgy CSO effects (context: 1981 was the year of Tom Baker's final series, which were made on a pittance yet look no worse than this major studio release). For further context: this was after STAR WARS and THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, whose optical and creature effects are still outstanding forty years later.

 

The disc does itself no favours anyway by including a Sneak Peek at the 2010 remake, which isn't much good as a movie but does have exciting whizzbang CGI instead of hand-animated models, and has since been sequelled itself to little effect. (It also suggests this new Premium Collection Blu is just a repackaged reissue of the original's earlier release.) Sadly, bonus features are restricted to a very brief reminiscence by Harryhausen on the film.

 

Richard Street.

 

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CLASH OF THE TITANS   ***

CLASH OF THE TITANS   ***

This web site is owned and published by London FrightFest Limited.

FrightFest is the registered trade mark of London FrightFest Limited.
 © 2000 - 2018

CLASH OF THE TITANS  ***