Sunday, June 26, 2005

Romantic Cheese

I'm sitting here with my laptop on my lap and the movie Clash of the Titans playing in the background. What a great movie!

Really, this movie has such a special place in my heart. First of all, it's the first movie my parents ever let me go to see without them tagging along. I'll never forget, my father dropped my brother and me off at the theatre and we felt oh-so-grownup.

Now that I watch it some 24 years later, I laugh out loud at the really, really cheesy claymation special effects. I'm sure back in its day, CotT was considered state of the art. The hero, Perseus, fought all manner of mythological monsters that were created using the old technique of stop-motion photography. The result is stiffly moving creatures, awkwardly choreographed fight scenes, and that annoying sharp line effect that occurs when actors are working against a blue screen. This is one of those flicks that I almost wish they'd remake simply because it could be very very cool using all of today's CGI technology.

And this would be a good candidate for a remake because the story is timeless, romantic, heroic and spans demographics so nicely. The blood, gore and monsters for the boys ages 10-100 crowd and the romance for girls they drag along to the theatre. Throw in a hunky hero that matches the original's Harry Hamlin and the women would be dragging the men.

I mean, as a romance, this story has it all. Perseus (Harry Hamlin) is the son of Zeus and so is, in a literal way, god-like himself. His tortured past includes being cast out into the sea with his mother by a vengeful, slightly-incestuous grandfather. When he comes of age and sets out to find his destiny (helped along by the meddling gods of Olympus), it is love at first sight when he lays eyes on the beautiful Andromeda (Judi Bowker). Of course she falls in love with him, too, but since this is a Greek myth, much angst must ensue. Perseus must rescue Andromeda from the wrath of the Kraken, a sea monster, after Andromeda's mother Cassiopeia pisses off the goddess Thetis.

Add to this classic hero's journey men in short skirts, a heroine who is allowed to be a helpless waif given the time period in which the story is set, and the deux au machina that are the Greek gods and you have a can't-lose combination. This particular telling also included such acting greats as Sir Laurence Olivier, Burgess Meredith, and Maggie Smith.

For a great brain-candy treat on a sultry too-hot-to-go-outside Sunday afternoon, Clash of the Titans is a winner. Turn off the part of your brain that wants to laugh at the cheese and enjoy a great romance.


Caro said...

I love Clash of the Titans -- it's such a dreadful film, yet every time it's on TV, we watch it.

And the effects are so cheesy and definitely not Harryhausen's finest (7th Voyage of Sinbad holds up much better and also has a hunky hero), the dialogue is absolutely lame, and so many good actors are criminally misused, but I will always have a soft spot in my heart for it.

MaryF said...

I showed it to my 5th graders after we did a unit on Greek mythology. They were cracking up so hard at the special effects they barely noticed the bare breasts - HOW could I have forgotten about that?