* * 1/2
Greek thinking is not on my wavelength (but some would say that Westerners have been brainwashed by the Greek philosophical invasion), but the 1981 original of Clash of the Titans, itself a Greek myth and action story, is a small-medium sized blockbuster (the 2010 remake was bigger but not better) so I was reasonably happy.
Writer Beverly Cross follows the Greek myth closely, apparently with producers Charles H. Sheener and Ray Harryhausen in the background. Based on the Greek mythological story, the god Zeus (Laurence Olivier), the head of the pantheon of gods on Mount Olympus, bestows to his very human son, Perseus (Harry Hamlin), armoury and weapons worthy of a knight about to go into battle.
Zeus, in a vision, tells Perseus that the gifts he gives are to help him on a journey of unfolding destiny. What follows is saving Andromeda (Judi Bowker) from various opposing forces, such as the sea beast the Kraken, and from a vengeful, spurned lover, the latter a little too mature plot point for a PG. There’s also a brief moment of nudity.
The gods are dramatized by British stalwarts Laurence Olivier and Maggie Smith who bring a certain staginess that is unintentionally amusing. A bit of a farce, as they say.
Clare Bloom and others (yes, others to those accustomed to hearing about Olivier over again) play lesser gods and goddesses in their midst, who look sensibly on the decrees of their higher ranked deities.
Clash of the Titans is unspectacular to watch (but the 2010 remake is not cutting edge either) and not too involving with blame on the writer for crowding the plot and Desmond Davis’ uninspired direction.
Unbelievable and dispirited Greek glory (from a Greek idea in which I have no personal investment). Yet I loved Medusa’s lair where Perseus ventures in, and must avoid getting frozen in stone. To say that is the most exciting the film gets is really saying something extraordinary about Clash of the Titans as an action film.
The final word is not so much a clash, but entertainment for the curious and those who care and quite fun special effects.