We’ve been here before, folks. It’s yet another weekend when the biggest news at the box office is a splashy Hollywood remake of an old classic. So far, it seems like people actually want to see the new Clash of the Titans. But after sitting through the trailer, I’ve decided to hold onto my 10 bucks and stick with the 1981 original. It’s not because I’m not curious to see Sam Worthington get medieval on the Kraken, or to see Liam Neeson all Zeus-y. It’s just that the first Clash is sort of sacred to me. And after the recent soul-crushing remakes of King Kong, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Halloween, I’m not sure how much more I can handle. So that’s why I’m drawing a line in the sand.
I’ll admit that the original Clash of the Titans isn’t as good as the originals of those three movies I just mentioned. But hear me out on why I think it was pretty kick-ass in its own right. Granted, the critics didn’t think so at the time (“not very witty,” hissed Vincent Canby over at The New York Times). But Mr. Canby wasn’t as 12-year-old boy with a sweet tooth for tantrum-throwing Greek gods, rip-snorting sea monsters, and acting as cheesy as a slab of feta. Had he been, then he would’ve paid to see the movie six times during the summer of 1981, like I did.
Now, I’ll grant you that Harry Hamlin’s Perseus is a pouty pretty boy who should’ve gotten his butt kicked by a snake-haired she-beast like Medusa. But everyone knows that the real action in the movie took place on Mount Olympus, where Laurence Olivier slapped on a toga and a cotton-candy beard to ham it up as the original godfather, Zeus. Watching the legendary thespian blow his stack at Maggie Smith or make goo-goo eyes at Ursula Andress’ Aphrodite is a hoot. So much so that to this day, whenever Clash pops up on TV, the rest of my afternoon is completely shot. Because for those two hours, I’m 12 again. And if there really is a god — or even a slumming Brit in a cotton-candy beard playing one — he’ll grant this foolish mortal’s wish and follow it with an encore presentation of The Beastmaster.
Speaking of which, if they ever — I mean, ever — remake The Beastmaster, I’m not just saving my 10 bucks, I’m starting a picket line!
So let’s hear from you. Have you seen the new Clash? Is it better than the original? Worse? Take the poll and share your thoughts.