Clash of the Titans [1981]

You have a classic tale full of drama, passion, and adventure. A tale of universal archetypes that speak to everyone. A tale that has remained unfailingly popular for thousands of years. Why not spice it up with a wacky mechanical owl? Such was the thinking behind Clash of the Titans. Maggie Smith, Laurence Olivier, and Harry Hamlin (one of these things is not like the others...) star in a toga-ripper about a valiant hero, capricious immortals, and lots and lots of giant stop-action monsters. Perseus (Hamlin) is the favored son of the god Zeus (Olivier), but he has unwittingly ticked off the sea goddess Thetis (Smith). Just to make things worse, Perseus falls in love with the lovely Princess Andromeda, who used to be engaged to Thetis's son. Soon Perseus is off on one quest after another, with Zeus helping, Thetis hindering, and lots of innocent bystanders getting stabbed, drowned, and squished. Of course, the whole thing is just an excuse to show as much of Ray Harryhausen's stop-motion animation as possible, and good thing too. It's an old technique, but it still looks pretty darn cool, and it means the cast can just relax and do a bunch of reaction shots. Don't use this one to study for that big classical mythology exam, but if you just turn your brain off and enjoy the Kraken, it's pretty good fun. --Ali Davis

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