While it’s less likely than its predecessor to become a “cinematic classic” replayed endlessly in middle- and high-school classrooms all over the country, this year’s remake of Ray Harryhausen’s The Clash of the Titans has something that movie studios like even better: dudes with incredible musculature kicking the snot out of CGI-constructed baddies against an epic backdrop.
Let’s face it—as amazing as the original Clash’s special effects were for their time, most people looking back at it now viewed it with a kind of vague, bemused interest. I remember watching it for the first (of four) time in a classroom setting when I was in eighth grade, and thinking, “Wow…this movie is old, and what’s with the robot owl?”
In fact, that same robot owl makes a brief (and memorable) appearance in the remake, only to be cast aside as ridiculous. And that, in a nutshell, is what this film is about. While no truer to the myths it was adapted from than was the original, it found plenty from the original to cast aside in search of a more modern, marketable way of telling the same story—and ultimately it succeeded. What’s ironic is that the most “modern” aspect of the film, and the one possibly most marketed when the flick was in cinemas, was the 3-D compatibility that was overlaid on the thing after principal photography wrapped. It was widely made fun of by “serious film people,” who thought if it was meant to be in 3-D then they should have shot it that way. It appears as though Warner Home Video may have agreed with them, as there is no 3-D option included on the DVD or Blu-Ray of Clash of The Titans.
Other than that—relatively major—disappointment for fans of the flick who were hoping to see the 3-D version at home, the discs have a lot to offer. The movie itself has a great sense of pacing and a lot of action to keep the average viewer engaged. In today’s cinema culture, where every movie is looking for a sequel, this one has a pretty good chance of launching 1,000 ships—or at least a franchise. There’s still plenty of Greco-Roman mythology to mine (and mangle), and the response on the part of the core demographic seems pretty good, from what I’ve heard. Myself, I could take or leave this iteration. As a superhero fan, I would love to see some more true-to-the-source-material adaptations of Greek mythology, which in many ways provided the template for today’s superhero universes. The softball/fast food way of approaching those tales is a little discouraging—even when it’s as much fun as this one was.
Clash of the Titans hit the streets from Warner Home Video on Tuesday. It’s available on DVD and Blu-Ray Combo Pack, as well as Warner Home Video’s On Demand pay-per-view.