Clash of the Titans (1981)

For a movie with so much money behind it, so much potential, and so much onscreen class, you’d think it’d be a lot more fun than this. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t exactly a cure for insomnia or anything: The special effects are charming as all hell, the sets are terrifically ornate and deliriously over-the-top, and there are the likes of *the* Maggie Smith as Thesis, walking around being a big bitch to everyone like nothing could be more artistically satisfying. But after a strong start that includes the kind of cheesy special effects, fantastical action and a distinct, striking original score that suggest a rollicking fantasy fare like a live action “The Last Unicorn” or “The Black Cauldron,” things seem to pipe down for a while. The next hour that follows is ok, with some adventures here and there that are fine but overall it’s a bit boring, until we reach the final stretch, where the movie finally comes alive again. The climactic fight against the Kraken is pretty cool, but it’s got nothing on the battle against Medusa, which is the stuff of nightmares: A stop-motion, snake-like Medusa stalks our heroes inside her darky lit lair with the vociferousness of a wounded animal, and it’s impressively (and legitimately) scary. So overall, the movie is just fine and it has its moments for sure, I just wish it was as entertaining as it could have been.

Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

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