I can’t recall watching the original Clash of the Titans (1981) back in my youth, either on TV or in some English/history class… I’m pretty sure I did. But as I get older, my memory of those days when I was wee begins to fade. So to solve that problem, I just decided to watch the movie again before checking out the “new and improved” version that hit theaters in April. Besides, it’s not like it was a burden for me. I regularly enjoy Roman/Greek mythology stories. However, you won’t catch me watching Hercules or Xena on TV. Thanks, but no thanks.
As for the original Titans, it’s almost something to laugh at. I’m not going to mock it because I know a lot of people are fans of it. It’s a cult classic. Even with its outdated special effects and campy style of acting. And if the truth it told, the effects used were already old for it’s time. Star Wars was released four years before that… and we know how cutting edge that then. Anyway, just making a point that if you’ve never seen it and plan to in the near future, don’t expect to be too thrilled. But let’s not get caught up on that alone. How was the story? ‘Twas a good story! The acting left something to be desired, but I was along for the ride. From my understanding, the movie wasn’t expected to be top of the line and fell into the category of B-rated world. Movies made cheaply and close to 30 years ago, in my opinion, can have the chance to be remade. It doesn’t mean that they always should, but I wouldn’t start a riot or begin writing angry letters to the studios for certain exceptions.
In comparison, the newer version definitely makes up for the stop-motion effects of yesteryear. I’ve heard complaints that maybe it was too much CGI, but in this age, CGI is the standard. For a movie like this, I would prefer it. But as long as I can suspend my disbelief long enough to believe you are being attacked by a giant scorpion, I’m not complaining. The acting in this movie also stepped their game up, somewhat. I would think they would have to since this movie is considered one of the big movies of the year. Don’t expect Oscar nods or anything, I’m just saying there is a difference. And the movie doesn’t have a requirement to see the original, but I just like to see what I’m missing or what’s been updated/changed. And there were changes, but I think it was to make the storytelling easier. The story has a lot of the same major plot points, but the journey, destinations, and motives were slightly skewed. With even a few new characters added, some in which I hope get spun off into their own adventure.
I read a comparison someone made of the original movie and the trailer for this one. He graded how the remake would be months before it was released. I have to admit, he came pretty close to what I felt after watching the movie! While the original had Thetis as the main “villain” (if you want to call her that), the remake has Hades. I’d also like to note, he has some of the best entrances in the movie. I don’t know why they wanted to change the gods involved, but my best guess is that more people can identify Hades and don’t have a clue of who Thetis is. I will say that both movies portray the gods rather accurately: they seldom get along; they play favorites; and they only look out for themselves and those that love them. Another difference is Perseus’ love interests are different. He still has a job to do: save the princess. But his motives for doing so aren’t the same. (*Spoilers at the bottom of post regarding differences*) There are a few other minor differences, like certain characters that are missing or that have been combined into one character. Perseus must complete his mission in 10 days instead of 30 days. He only gets a sword from the gods, not the other cool things like the helmet, shield or Bubo (who makes a cameo in the remake). The giant scorpions are still there; actually they are better in this movie. Medusa is still threatening, and honestly, she still looks just as fake as the original. But hey, they tried.
A quick note about trailers, I’m a fan of this one and it’s what hooked me from the start to wanting to see this version.
But the question still stands: which version is better? Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. I know, I know, where the stank did this movie come from and why am I citing it? This movie came out earlier this year, geared towards teens but I think I can say I loved this movie more than both Titans. Essentially, all three tell the same myth of Perseus, of course with some creative differences here and there. The major one being Percy Jackson is in our current time, going to high school, with Mount Olympus being accessible via a magical elevator in the Empire State Building.
One final note about the newer Titans: Don’t see it in 3D. Trust me. I didn’t want to see it in 3D, but I got my ticket for the wrong showing. It is totally not worth it. Only see a 3D movie if it was intended to be in 3D, meaning it was filmed that way, like Avatar. I watched half this movie with the glasses off because it wasn’t needed (until things got blurry). I would need to write a separate piece regarding 3D altogether. Two out of three films I saw in this format have let me down. And with rising ticket prices, people need to be warned about being conned. So if you go to see this new version, don’t see the 3D version. You will enjoy it a lot more.
Regarding the Spoilers:
- Perseus falls for demigod Io instead of the princess Andromeda. This becomes apparent when you notice Io gets more screen time and interaction with our hero than the princess does. So it would make sense for Perseus to pass on the crown when Andromeda offered it to him.
- While I wouldn’t consider it really a spoiler, another note I forgot regards Perseus’ motives. Unlike the original, in this film Perseus is not fond of the gods, especially Zeus, his father. In fact, he doesn’t even consider him to be his father. He also rejects the gifts given to him and prefers to be more of a man than a god. Kudos for him, but I wanted to see him go invisible and really put that sward to use (which he later does).
- And the two characters I hinted at before, I still don’t recall their names but they managed to tame one of the giant scorpions and went off to a new adventure. I’d be interested to see what they get into.
I have to say, I love the weird look of stop motion in the old movies.
The reason people love and have fond memories of old movies is not because of their quality, but because upon watching them for the first time in their youth and being so marked by them at the time, there is a magick that stays with a person forever. Whether it be bad music or bad movies, anything new is exciting, and those bad movies and bad music were once new to kids. Surely, my parents were not impressed with Titans 1981 either. By the time you get older, you have seen it all and it is so much harder to impress, but those first impressions always stay with you. I remember being so anxious when anyone would turn the corner into Medusas’ stone cold gaze. For a child, turning someone to stone with just one look is pretty amazing.
Thanks for the interesting comparison of the 2 movies.
I think if I saw it when I was younger I would have fond memories of it too. But even watching it today, I do find it nostalgic. But I wonder if with all these remakes, it’s really some master plan to bring attention to the original. I tend to do that when I hear of a remake and go seek the original before seeing the remake, then compare.