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Clash of the Titans is a 1981 fantasy and mythology movie based on the myth of Perseus.

Among its stars were Harry Hamlin (as Perseus), Maggie Smith (as Thetis), Claire Bloom (as Hera), Ursula Andress (as Aphrodite), Judi Bowker (as Andromeda), Burgess Meredith (as Ammon), Sian Phillips (as Cassiopeia), and Sir Laurence Olivier (as Zeus).

Stop motion animation is used to a large extent in the film to animate the various monsters. The special effects creatures were created by Ray Harryhausen, who retired from filmmaking shortly after the movie was released.


Andromeda and Perseus

Among its stars :

The special effects creatures were created by Ray Harryhausen, the last feature film for which he did so.

There are a numerous departures from the Greek myth, of which some notable examples are:

The sea monster sent to kill Andromeda is called the Kraken, a Scandanavian name. The Greeks called it "ketos".






Plot summary

King Akrisius ("he who lacks judgement") of Argos, expresses anger towards Zeus for impregnating his daughter, Princess Danae. He then casts Danae and her infant son Perseus out to sea in a wooden chest. Unknown to everyone, a white bird who witnessed everything was really Poseidon, who informs Zeus of Akrisius' unfaithfulness. Zeus orders Poseidon to release the Kraken to destroy Argos by flooding his entire kingdom. While Argos is completely devastated, Danae and Perseus are safely brought to the island of Seriphos where they live a happy life and Perseus grows up to manhood.

Calibos - the spoiled son of Thetis, the goddess of the Sea - was a handsome young man destined to marry Princess Andromeda, the daughter of Queen Cassiopeia; thus, one day, he would become ruler of the rich city of Joppa and eventually all of Phoenicia. Zeus entrusted Calibos to care for the Wells of the Moon; Calibos instead hunted, trapped and killed everything that lived there, including Zeus’ sacred herd of flying horses, leaving only the stallion Pegasus. As punishment, Zeus transforms Calibos into a monster; thus he is shunned and forced to live as an outcast in the swamps and marshes. Thetis, furious at her son's fate, vows that if Calibos cannot marry Andromeda, then no other man will either.

Perseus is brought by Thetis from his island home on Seriphos to Joppa. He learns of Andromeda and her plight: she cannot marry unless her suitor successfully answers a riddle, which is given to her by Calibos. Any suitor that fails to answer the riddle correctly is burned at the stake. Using a number of gifts given to him by the gods, including the winged horse Pegasus and a helmet given to him by Athena that renders its wearer invisible, he discovers the answer to the riddle. Calibos nearly captures him, but Perseus cuts off his hand with a sword (another divine gift, this one from the goddess Aphrodite).

At the next ceremony for a new suitor, Perseus enters, guesses the riddle correctly and presents Calibos's severed hand, winning Andromeda. At the wedding, Queen Cassiopeia foolishly compares Andromeda's beauty to that of Thetis herself, which angers the goddess. Thetis demands the life of Andromeda as a sacrifice to a sea monster (the Kraken) in 30 days; otherwise, the Kraken will destroy Joppa.

Perseus seeks a way to defeat the Kraken, who is known as the Last of the Titans (a reference to the race of monsters that pre-dated the gods.) He visits the Stygian Witches, three blind women who disclose that the only hope of survival in combat against the Kraken is by using the head of another monster, Medusa the Gorgon. Medusa, once a beautiful woman, was transformed by a jealous Aphrodite into a monster so horrible that mere eye contact will turn any living creature to stone, including the Kraken. She makes her home on the Isle of the Dead, which lies across the River Styx, at the very edge of the Underworld. Perseus travels there and kills her, removing her head, though he must contend with Calibos along the way - whom he finally kills with Aphrodite's sword (which Perseus had earlier used, fittingly enough, to behead Medusa).

Just as Andromeda is about to be sacrificed to the Kraken, Perseus appears astride Pegasus and turns the Last Titan to stone with Medusa's head, which is then cast into the ocean where it can do no more damage. Perseus frees Andromeda and they live happily ever after. The hero and heroine become constellations at the decree of Zeus, who does the same for Pegasus and Cassiopeia.

Comparison with the Greek myth

There are numerous departures from the original Greek myth of Perseus:

  • There is no mention of Akrisius to have attended the Delphic Oracle for being revealed his future. Also, it is not Zeus who crushes him, but his grandson Perseus who accidentally kills him with a disc, as told by the Oracle.
  • Also, there is no mention of Polydectes, the tyrant ruler of Seriphos who is always mentioned in the original legend. In the original tale Perseus is sent to retrieve the head of Medusa by Polydectes as he desires a prize no other mortal man on earth owns. In the film, the Stygian Witches tell Perseus that the only weapon on earth strong enough to defeat the Kraken is the gaze of the Gorgon Medusa.
  • In the myth, Danae, Perseus's mother, is present through his life and is the object of Polydectes' lustful infatutations. Polydectes sends Perseus on the quest to fetch Medusa's head so that he may marry Danae against her son's wishes.In the film,she has died and her last wish was that Perseus restore her homeland of Argos.
  • The Stygian Witches do exist in the original myth in some form, but as that of the Graeae, three impossibly ancient old hags who are sisters of the Gorgon Medusa. They are forced to share a single eye and tooth between them and, such as in the film, Perseus steals them to force them to reveal where Medusa is lurking. In the film they are three hags combined of the Graeae and the Fates. Their "eye" is a magic crystal which allows the blind crones to see.
  • The sea monster sent to kill Andromeda is called the Kraken, a Scandinavian name. The Greeks called it "Ketos". Neither the Kraken nor Ketos have anything to do with how the monster is depicted in the movie. The Kraken was a giant squid whereas Ketos was a gigantic whale.
  • Perseus tames and rides the winged horse Pegasus, a feat that was accomplished in Greek mythology by Bellerophon. In the original myth, Pegasus is born of Medusa's blood when Perseus decapitates her with his sword, and he does not ride Pegasus at all. Nevertheless, portrayals of Perseus riding Pegasus long predate the film.
  • Pegasus is not the only winged steed in Greek Mythology but Zeus never owned a herd of winged horses. (There is another winged horse, Arion, ridden by the hero Adrastus)
  • The movie shows Perseus throwing Medusa's head into the sea in the end. In the Greek story he first uses it to dispense with an unwelcome wedding guest, then presents it to Athena, who placed it on her shield.
  • No mention is made of Medusa's two sister Gorgons, Stheno and Euryale. Also, the home of Medusa is an island in the Underworld, beyond the river Styx, as opposed to the original story, which places her in Libya.
  • In the original myths, Perseus simply meets Andromeda on his way back and turns the sea monster to whom she is being sacrificed to stone, whereas in the film he is engaged to marry her when he hears of her fate and his going to destroy the sea monster is a preconceived plan.
  • Dioskilos, the guardian of Medusa's shrine, a ferocious dog with two heads is possibly based on Orthrus or Cerberus. In mythology, Medusa and her Gorgon sisters were fearful enough to be guardians to themselves from any creature.
  • Both Medusa and the Kraken were referred to as Titans (hence the title of the movie), but actually neither Medusa nor the Kraken were Titans in the Greek myths.
  • Thetis is portrayed as a goddess, not a sea nymph as she is in the myths. She also had no particular part in the original myth. In the original Greek tradition, she is the mother of Achilles.
  • Andromeda's father King Cepheus and her uncle King Phineaus are absent from the film.
  • The giant vulture kept by Calibos is a creation for the film but seems to be based on The Roc of the legends of Sinbad.
  • Calibos is an invention for the movie, the source for this character was by poet named Homer

Trivia

  • From an off-screen romance that occurred during the filming of this movie, Hamlin and Andress have a son named Dimitri.
  • A clip in which the Kraken rises from the sea can be seen in the introduction of the sitcom Malcolm in the Middle.
  • As of May 1, 2006, writer Travis Beacham is writing a new script for a planned remake of the film. [1] The general plot outline seems to be the same, but a "darker, more realistic" tone is going to be infused into the story.
  • The Archie Sonic Comic special Super Sonic vs. Hyper Knuckles is named "Crash of the Titans" (not to be confused with the Crash Bandicoot video game of the same name).
  • A cartoon about teenagers descended from Greek heroes bears the name Class of the Titans, as an homage to the film.
  • Computer games Baldur's Gate and Guild Wars: Nightfall both use similar phrases of "Go for the eyes, Boo!" and "Go for the eyes!" which seem to be derived from this film. Specifically, when Perseus shouts for Bubo the mechanical owl to "Go for the eye!" of the Stygian Witches.
  • There is an episode of The Simpsons titled "Trash of the Titans".
  • The Kraken and Bubo both appeared in an episode of Robot Chicken titled "The Munnery".
  • Harry Hamlin reprises his role as Perseus by providing the character's voice in the 2007 video game God of War II.
  • Randal Graves said he was trying to watch the movie in the beginning of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.
  • The newest game in the Crash Bandicoot series of video games is called Crash of the Titans.
  • The Tennessee Titans use clips from the Clash of the Titans film in shorts designed to excite fans.

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