Clash Of The Titans [Blu-Ray] Desmond Davis

Clash Of The Titans [Blu-Ray] Desmond Davis
There is something appealingly hokey about Clash of the Titans: how charming that just one year after the state-of-the-art technical wizardry of The Empire Strikes Back came this clunky, defiantly low-tech, little semi-spectacle. As the last film in which stop-motion expert Ray Harryhausen directed special effects, its aesthetic feels caught somewhere between Harryhausen's low-budget '50s and '60s monster films and the Spielberg/Lucas blockbuster model that would be solidified in the '80s. Everything about Clash of the Titans, from its effects to its script to its blatantly artificial ancient Greek sets, is proudly naive, which is perhaps why it tends to be a favourite of those who saw it when they were children. Indeed, having just seen it for the first time at age 21, I wish nothing more than to have been able to see it at age five so I might appreciate it in the spirit in which it was intended. As Perseus, the lost son of Zeus (Laurence Olivier!), Harry Hamlin is a bland leading man, and all the other mythical characters are drawn with similarly broad, inelegant strokes (the aggressively earnest script cries for a little humour). As a spectacle, Clash of the Titans hasn't exactly aged like fine wine: the optical and matte effects look more primitive than ever with the unforgiving clarity of Blu-Ray, and let's face it, the sight of Harry Hamlin sword fighting a claymation Medusa that has been obviously superimposed into the frame doesn't exactly cause the pulse to rise. Still, the stop-motion special effects have a weird, otherworldly quality missing from CGI ― seeing these imaginative clay creatures moving slowly and deliberately, as if unbound by the laws of gravity, while the human actors move at regular speed in the same frame is oddly beautiful. The film isn't really exciting, nor is its two-dimensional plot particularly engrossing, but as an unashamedly juvenile fantasy, and as a venue for Harryhausen's imaginative, stimulating stop-motion, it has its modest charm. This Blu-Ray release is timed to coincide with the upcoming Sam Worthington-ized remake, and sure enough, the disc includes a skimpy documentary for the CGI spectacular that seems taken directly from the electronic press kit. The major extra is a brief but worthwhile interview with Harryhausen. "I felt that if you had James Bond or somebody like that fighting a skeleton, it would be laughable," says Harryhausen, "but if you had a mythological character such as Sinbad, you could accept him." (Warner)