In honor of the 3-D remake of Clash of the Titans: 7 things I love about the original Clash of the Titans (and which are doubtless absent from the remake).
The plot. Or lack thereof. Clash of the Titans
is kind of built along the EC Comics model of plotting, i.e., take a bunch of cool shit and throw it in the same general area. So Perseus (Harry Hamlin) is raised in seclusion, transported back to civilization by meddling gods, and has to save the princess Andromeda, capture Pegasus, kill Medusa, annoy the Fates, kill the Kraken (who looks suspiciously like the Creature from the Black Lagoon festooned with tentacles), and face off against Maggie Smith. There's also a giant claymation bird, a friendly robot bird, and some lame Greek god headquarters that quite frankly look like a leftover set from the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The movie also plays fast and extremely loose with a bunch of disparate Greek myths, which pissed me off immensely in the third grade but doesn't bother me in the slightest now...actually, I bet the 2010 version will at least do that last part.
Holy shit! It's Laurence Olivier!
3.Clash of the Titans
is also not just fun, Eighties kitsch with a weirdly heavy-hitting cast: it also has numerous sequences that are surprisingly scary and well done, especially if you're eight (or eight at heart).
Calibos, aka the big, back hair-covered villain who hypnotizes and kidnaps Harry Hamlin's girlfriend every night, until Harry Hamlin saves her, and saves all the world. Calibos was apparently cursed with ugliness for some reason I can't remember, and he looks kind of like a cross between Ron Perlman and Ron O'Neal, but he's really, in my opinion, no uglier than the average owner of a Lebanese restaurant. The earrings aren't helping, though. (Nor is his big reptile tail, which is shown only from the back since it had to be done in claymation, which leads us to...)
5.Ray freakin' Harryhousen.
If you don't love some good, green-screeny, finger mark-covered claymation, you have no soul, and Harryhausen was (and maybe always will be) Mister Claymation Magic. I'll probably never be able to logically describe why I love claymation and will always prefer it to CGI, but I do and will, and if you feel the same way you know what I mean, and if you don't you probably never will. From Gumby to The Evil Dead,
claymation has improved our culture in more ways than I can count (and I say that with only the vaguest amount of sarcasm).
How do I love thee, 1981 Harry Hamlin? Let me count the ways: thy gay porno lips, thy toooo sweet pecs, thy Travolta-esque chin, thy sexy, James Mason-by-way-of-Glendale voice, thy stop-n-stare hair. Best of all, though, is the fact that, the year after Clash of the Titans,
Harry Hamlin costarred in Making Love,
one of the first American movies that was both backed by a major studio and provided a sympathetic and nuanced portrayal of gay men. It's not a very good movie, but still: there is a beautiful, sparkly, rainbowy flavor known as Progress, and Harry Hamlin and his fine self made it all the sweeter back in 1982 America. Sam Worthington, what did you ever do for the gays?
WHY YES, I DID
SAY "ROBOT BIRD" UP THERE. More specifically, Bubo, the R2D2-esque mechanic owl who helps Harry Hamlin out of many a jam. Bubo is approximately 12346 times cuter than you might rationally imagine a mechanical owl could be, and is the third most likable character in the movie after Harry Hamlin and Harry Hamlin's pecs. I love him. (Bubo is apparently also included in the 2010 remake, and Sam Worthington seems to be extremely anti-Bubo
. I think we should kill him.)
So children, don't be led astray by Hollywood razzle dazzle. Those 3D glasses are pretty damn unflattering anyway. Instead, locate the robot owl-loving place in your heart, bust out your VCR, pop some popcorn, and enjoy some truly delicious Eighties cheese. It only gets better with age.