Film: Clash of the Titans
"Release the Kraken!"Clash of the Titans
is the 1981 film adaptation of the Greek myth of Perseus
. Stop motion animation was used extensively in many special effects, and the monsters were created by Ray Harryhausen
, who retired from filmmaking shortly after Clash
was released. Stephen R. Wilk wrote in 2000 that "most people today who are aware of the story of Perseus and Medusa owe their knowledge to the 1981 film Clash of the Titans
A remake was released in April, 2010. Reception has been scathingly negative, and pretty much all have described it as 120 minutes of monsters, with little to no explanation of the plot. Which only vaguely resembles the plot of the original anyway. And by "vaguely" we mean "the monsters are the same, mostly." Whether that works is completely up to you.
A sequel, Wrath of the Titans
was released in April 2012. Miraculously, this one actually features Titans. While reviews were very negative again, audiences generally considered it to be superior to its predecessor.
Not to be confused with Class of the Titans
, Crash Of The Titans
or Trash of the Titans
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Clash of the Titans (1981)
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: Perseus's magical sword can slice through marble. It never really needs to, but it does need to quickly behead Medusa, whose scales are as hard as iron.
- Adaptation Distillation: Alan Dean Foster's novelization goes to great lengths, and largely succeeds, in reconciling the story with more standard Greek Mythology.
- Aesop Collateral Damage: The goddess Thetis demands the sacrifice of Andromeda after Queen Cassopeia boasts that she is more beautiful than the goddess.
- Though it was really just an excuse on Thetis part (and a very weak one at that) to help Calibos get some revenge on Perseus.
- Amusing Alien: Bubo the robot-owl.
- Ancient Greece
- Baleful Polymorph: Calibos, who is turned into a beastman by Zeus as a punishment.
- Beauty Equals Goodness
- Because Destiny Says So: "Find and fulfill your destiny."
- Big Bad: Thetis pretty much sets up the need for Perseus to set off on a quest to defeat the Kraken.
- Big Damn Heroes: Oh no! The Kraken is about to eat Andromeda! Perseus and Pegasus (and Bubo) to the rescue!
- Bloody Murder: Medusa's blood becomes scorpions when it falls on the ground after Calibos stabs her severed head.
- Caustic Critic: David Ansen of Newsweek memorably titled his review of this, "Thud of the Beefcake."
- Chained to a Rock: Andromeda.
- Clockwork Creature: Bubo the clockwork owl, sent by Athena as a guide.
- Cold Sniper: Medusa. As if the petrifying gaze wasn't enough...
- Constellations: The original film ends with Perseus, Andromeda, The Hydra and other characters becoming constellations. Fitting too as the movies are based on the myths of Perseus.
- Cool Old Guy: Ammon.
- Damsel in Distress: Andromeda, near the end.
- Disproportionate Retribution: In retaliation for his lover and son being sentenced to death, Zeus orders the death of their attempted killer, King Acrisius of Argos. Fair enough. But then he orders the destruction of all of Argos and the deaths of all its inhabitants, too. Later in the film, Thetis does the same thing, declaring that all of Joppa must die in retribution for Calibos's maiming and Cassiopeia's insult.
- In the Novelization, Zeus comes off as much less petty in general. In regards to Argos, it's established that the Argosian people already had a long list of offenses against them, and the fact that no one in the whole city lifted a finger to stop a father publically murdering his daughter and her baby was the last straw.
- Divine Chessboard: Perseus and Calibos are both guided by opposing gods, Zeus and Thetis respectively... in a very literal fashion, too! The gods have clay statuettes of their favorites that they move about as they wish in a model amphitheater.
- Dramatic Necklace Removal
- Dull Surprise: Harry Hamlin's performance as Perseus.
- Dwindling Party: All the soldiers end up dead.
- Engagement Challenge
- Everything's Better with Sparkles: Hello, Olympus! (And even more so in the 2010 film, with its computer-generated sparkles and shines.)
- Evil Slinks: Medusa, snake woman with an attitude. Also true in the 2010 version.
- Expy: Calibos = Caliban from William Shakespeare's The Tempest.
- Eyeless Face: The three Stygian Witches (i.e. Graeae) had no eye sockets, but they traded a single crystalline "eye" between them. Perseus steals it to get information from them.
- The Eyes Have It: The statue of Thetis when she's about to throw down.
- Fantasy Kitchen Sink: The Kraken is from Norse Mythology. The original creature was Cetus, a giant whale, but it was apparently switched because the writer thought "kraken" sounded cooler. Ray Harryhausen changed the look from a giant squid or octopus to a four-armed humanoid because he thought it looked cooler.
- Fertile Blood: Calibos sticks his trident into Medusa's head, which Perseus has hung on a branch while resting, giant scorpions are created from the blood as it drips on the ground, which proceed to attack Perseus and his men, killing many of them.
- Genre Savvy: Ammon, due to being a poet and playwright of stories very much like Perseus' and dealing with some of the same characters, including Medusa.
- Giant Flyer: Calibos' pet vulture. Mr. Harryhausen dug his giant flying beasties.
- Go for the Eye: Perseus says this exact phrase when he orders Bubo to steal Stygian Witches' crystal eyeball.
- Grandpa God: Zeus.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Perseus, as a demigod, fits this trope.
- Hand Signals: Perseus uses them twice: once before meeting Bubo and while approaching Medusa's lair.
- The Hero's Journey
- Hollywood Torches: In Calibos' encampment and in Medusa's lair.
- Jerk Ass Gods: Played with mainly with Zeus and Thetis. Both tend to be very protective of their children and fond of disproportionate retribution. Zeus at least only acts when someone has committed an injustice, is letting to let Perseus' defiance slide, and appears to be willing to allow the gods one day to be forgotten. The rest of the gods come off as indifferent rather than malicious.
- If I Can't Have You:
Thetis: If my son is not to marry her, then no man will. ... As my Calibos suffers, so will Andromeda.
- I Should Write a Book About This:
Ammon: This would make a fine heroic poem you know. Or perhaps a play...
- Kaiju: The Kraken.
- Kraken: ↑
- Let's Get Dangerous: Bubo will unquestioningly fly into battle when called upon and apparently can be quite fearsome, frightening off the much larger and ostensibly scarier-looking giant vulture at one point.
- Love at First Sight:
Perseus: Just believe me when I say I that I did see you. And the sight of you burst straight through me like an arrow. ... From that moment, I knew that I loved you.
- Magi Babble:
Stygian Witch: (Medusa's blood) is deadly and poisonous. But you have touched the eye. Just as it has the power to give us sight, so it can make your cloak — your red cloak — proof against the blood.
- Mauve Shirt: Thallo. Up until Calibos deals with him.
- Meaningful Name: Bubo the Owl.
- Misplaced Wildlife: The snake that shows up is a boa constrictor. Boa constrictors live in the Americas- they would have definitely not been found in Ancient Greece.
- Ms. Fanservice: Danae and Andromeda show some T&A.
- Non-Human Sidekick: Bubo
- Non-Indicative Name: The title would seem to have you believe that at least two titans will clash at some point in the film. No actual Titans from Greek mythology show up. The Kraken is, at one point, called "the last of the Titans," which would seem to preclude it from clashing with any others. They might has well have left that line out and just tried to play off that "Titan" is supposed to mean "monster." The closest thing we get to an actual clash is the near Title Drop seen below.
- Of course, the title works perfectly well if you don't take the "Titans" in it to refer literally to the race, but rather to characters that are much larger than life in their deeds and reputation (which means that the clashes between the gods as well as the clashes between Perseus and his various enemies would count).
- Novelization: A very nicely done one by Alan Dean Foster, which does a fair job of reconciling the plot to traditional Greek mythology.
- Offing the Offspring: Queen Cassiopeia must sacrifice her virgin daughter Andromeda because she pissed off Thetis. In her own temple. King Acrisius also tries to off Perseus as a child, which would actually be Offing the Offspring's Offspring.
- Offstage Villainy: Calibos' crimes that were the cause of his transformation are only described but not shown.
- Oh My Gods!: Ammon's Catch Phrase is, "By the gods!"
- Overprotective Dad: The film's explanation for why Acrisius "grew jealous and kept (Danae) guarded from the eyes of men, locked behind iron doors" (in the original myth, this was partly due to a prophecy that his grandson would kill him, but You Can't Fight Fate).
- Poison Is Corrosive: Medusa's blood.
- Red Shirt: Any soldier who goes with Perseus on his quest.
- Sadly Mythtaken: Amphitrite is the wife of Poseidon in Greek mythology, while Thetis is generally a sea nymph, though some suggest that she was a full goddess, as the film portrays, although she was certainly not among the central circle who dwelt on Olympus.
- Scary Scorpions: The giant scorpions that Calibos creates by causing Medusa's blood to drop on some normal scorpions.
- Shadow Discretion Shot: Calibos' transformation from man to monster. Necessary in that such effects were otherwise impossible to render cheaply in 1981.
- Shout-Out: The Kraken bears a strong resemblance to Ymir from 20 Million Miles to Earth, also animated by Ray Harryhausen. In the remake there was also a brief scene where Perseus was getting ready to depart from Argos with the rest of the group, he pulled out the mechanical owl from the original film and asked what it was, to which was the response "it's nothing, leave it".
- Snake People: Medusa
- Sneaky Departure: While on the journey to Medusa's island, Perseus and his soldiers take off in the middle of the night, leaving Andromeda behind (and Ammon to look after her).
- Standard Hero Reward
- Stay in the Kitchen: "Too perilous (a journey) for a princess." To which Andromeda responds with all due spunk, "You are not my lord and master. Not yet!" and comes along on the trip to the Stygian Witches anyway. Perseus later does ditch her for her own safety when he finds out he has to fight Medusa.
- Summon Bigger Fish: Using Medusa on the Kraken.
- Supernatural Aid: Perseus' helmet, sword, shield, and Bubo.
- Sword And Sandal: The fantasy subtype thereof.
- Taken for Granite: All of Medusa's past victims that are exhibited in her temple, one of Perseus' soldiers and the Kraken.
- Team Pet: Bubo the robot-owl.
- This Way to Certain Death: The statues outside Medusa's lair.
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: How Perseus finishes off Calibos.
- Title Drop: Close — one of the Stygian Witches refers to Perseus using Medusa to defeat the Kraken as "A Titan against a Titan!"
- Too Dumb to Live: Cassiopeia declares her daughter Andromeda to be "more beautiful than the goddess Thetis herself!" This she does while standing in Thetis' own temple, directly beneath a giant statue of Thetis. Needless to say, it does not go well for anyone. Even the film itself lampshades how ridiculously stupid this gaffe is.
- Traveling at the Speed of Plot: Perseus' journey back to Joppa on Pegasus as Andromeda's sacrifice is being carried out.
- Justified as Perseus has recovered Pegasus by this time, cutting several days off the travel time, plus he now knows exactly how to get where he's going.
- The Unintelligible: Bubo, except to Perseus.
- Ammon eventually figures out what he's saying.
- Virgin Sacrifice
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Harry Hamlin as Perseus.
- Wax Museum Morgue: Medusa's temple, Albeit stone instead of wax.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: There were three giant scorpions, but only two were killed...
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Calibos can be perceived sympathetic and at least worthy of pity, especially because we are only informed of his cruelty before the transformation. Indeed, Perseus says that's why he spared his life, in spite of all he had put Andromeda and the city through. But Calibos comes back on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge anyway.
- The X of Y
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Yay, Joppa's free of its curse! Let's throw a party!...
Clash of the Titans (2010)
Wrath of the Titans (2012)
- Alien Blood: When a Makhai is killed, it bleeds lava.
- Also, in the scene where Perseus jumps the Chimera and stabs its neck, a puff of glowing smoke comes out instead of blood.
- Antagonistic Offspring: Ares to Zeus, Zeus and Hades to Kronos. For that matter, Perseus still isn't all that thrilled with his dad.
- Anyone Can Die: Unlike Classical Mythology, in which the gods are completely immortal, the gods in this film can be killed. And some are.
- Ascended Extra: Given Andromeda spent the remake being Demoted to Extra, seems like she's back in her place.
- Bash Brothers: Zeus and Hades at full power. Bonus points for them being actual brothers.
- Big Bad Duumvirate: Hades and Ares.
- Body Horror: There's the Chimera, a two-headed monster with no skin on its faces and a sentinent tail. A minotaur with a deformed face. Makhai warriors with two bodies joined at the waist. And Kronos, who is a massive titan made of molten magma with fists the size of a village.
- Breath Weapon: The Chimera can breathe fire, with the horned, rhino-like head vomiting gasoline-like fluid that the fanged, ape-like head ignites with hot embers.
- Broken Aesop: Same as the first movie, it makes a point of "humanity doesn't need gods". The operative issue here is that gods and demigods are, literally speaking, sacrifcing themselves by the droves to protect mankind and the only thing standing between mankind and utter annihilation.
- Cain and Abel: Ares is Cain to Perseus' Abel.
- The Cameo: Bubo the mechanical owl from the original (and the remake) reappears as a prop in Hephaestus' home, whom he considers to be some kind of oracle. See Cloudcuckoolander below.
- Carry a Big Stick: Ares uses a large mace as one of his weapons.
- Cessation of Existence: Apparently what happens to the gods when they die. Fear of this is what motivates Hades to side with Kronos rather than fight him.
- Hephaestus has been alone for so long he talks to a broken mechanical owl (Bubo from the original) as if it were alive and inteligble. Andromeda manages to talk him down with a Whoopi Epiphany Speech.
- Agenor's speech and mannerisms are also rather loony.
- Comes Great Responsibility: Uttered almost verbatim in one of the dialogues.
- Crucified Hero Shot: The chained Zeus.
- Cyclops: The group encounters a trio of them in the film.
- Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: When Ares tries to kill Perseus, the latter's son, Helius, briefly challenges Ares, buying his father time.
- Disney Death: Zeus was dying from his injuries, then Hades appears and resurrects him. But perhaps a subversion, since he shortly dies anyway.
- The Dragon: Ares served as Hades' dragon until...
- Dungeon Bypass: Hephaestus creates one, while he builds the Tartarus, since he built it from the outside to the inside and needed an exit for himself.
- Dynamic Entry: Ares uses one, leaping from other location in the world, to the front door of the Labyrinth, using the impact from his landing to knock everyone present into the ground with a shockwave. To reiterated, Ares. Jumped. Across. The World. And. Subdued. People. With his. LANDING. That's Dynamic Entry on an epic level.
- Eldritch Abomination: Kronos.
- End of an Age: The era of gods ruling over the universe and human destinies is quickly coming to an end.
- Everybody Hates Hades: Played straight at first, then subverted in the second half of the film when he makes amends with Zeus, finally putting Everybody Hates Hades to rest, though he's much more sympathetic here than in the prior film, Foreshadowing his eventual Heel-Face Turn
- Expy: Kronos looks almost like Perses from God of War 3; he also resembles his own depiction in Age of Mythology.
- Face-Heel Turn: Ares betrays Zeus and side's with Hades. For certain values of "Face" anyway. Being the god of war, he was always kind of a dick.
- Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Mild case; Perseus discourages his son from dreaming about becoming a god. Considering the kinds of personalities the gods have, he's not entirely without reason.
- Faux Action Girl: Andromeda may lead an army now, but she loses every fight she gets into. She's much more competent as a strategist than as an actual warrior.
- First Girl Wins: Technically speaking, Andromeda. Whilst Io had apparently been watching Perseus his entire life, she neglected to introduce herself to him until after he'd already met Andromeda. At the end of Wrath, the two apparently begin a relationship (it's implied because of standing Hollywood expectations, but all that actuallys happens is he grabs her and pulls her in for a surprise kiss when she's talking about battle strategy and there hasn't been a hint of romance between them).
- Genius Cripple: Hephaestus.
- Gods Need Prayer Badly: Zeus mentions that prayer is the only thing that keeps the gods immortal towards the beginning of the film.
- Götterdämmerung: The gods are dying out, but most of them aren't going without a fight.
- A Head at Each End: The Chimera's snake-headed tail.
- Heel-Face Turn: Hades realizes that there's good left in him and saves his brother's life.
- Heroic Sacrifice:
- Hephaestus makes one.
- Zeus as well.
- The High Queen: Andromeda.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: The chimera in the first battle. Perseus impales the fuel head which causes it to continuously spew out flammable fluid on itself and the ground, then goads the ignition head into lighting it.
- Hollywood Tactics: Exactly how fire is supposed to stop the burning Legions of Hell or how a phalanx is going to stop a hundred-foot molten deity is left unclear.
- Hybrid Monster: Instead of having a lion head and a goat head, the Chimera has one head resembling a manticore-gorilla and the other one like a deformed rhinoceros. And if you look closely, you just might notice - the Chimera's faces have no skin at all on them!
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
- Karma Houdini: Despite having a change of heart by siding with Zeus, ultimately forgiving him, and helping to combat their insane father, Hades is still unpunished for the death's of Perseus' family and thousands of other people. Sure he lost his immortality, but he seems quite alright with his situation.
- Killed Off for Real: Many of the gods.
- Kill It with Fire: The Chimera. Sort of a Chekhov's Gun noting on how much they focus on the dual-fire system that was backfired on it.
- Lady of War: Andromeda, although more as a strategist considering she loses every physical fight she engages in.
- Large Ham: Hephaestus may not last long but Bill Nighy makes good use of his screen time.
- Last of His Kind: By the end of the film, there's only one real god left, and even he is no longer immortal.
- Legendary in the Sequel / Remember When You Blew Up a Sun?: Perseus is still hailed as a great hero for his victory over the Kraken and is given a salute of honour by Andromeda's army.
- Lightning Bruiser: The Cyclops move at the proportionate speed of humans despite being over forty feet tall. The Makhai are even faster.
- The Load: Andromeda. Perseus and Agenor do all the work. She loses every fight she gets into and Perseus has to rescue her at least three times. The only thing close to helpful that she does is charm Hephaestus into helping them.
- A Load of Bull: Perseus fights a Minotaur in the Labyrinth. The Minotaur has a more human, yet deformed, face than the more common bull-headed depiction.
- Love Redeems: Hades of all people.
- Made of Iron: Compared to the first movie, Perseus takes a lot of punishment, and it shows on his body, yet it's still much more than a normal human would be able to take - he's a demigod after all. Agenor himself also displays demigod levels of Made of Iron, considering He took a full-force blow from Ares' warhammer with Poseidon's trident not exactly providing the best shield in that situation. He was struck with enough force to knock him into a pillar, which exploded and collapsed upon impact. Despite this, he still managed to walk it off.
- Magma Man: Kronos could be the poster boy of this trope.
- Missing Mom: Io is dead by the time the events of the sequel take place and is Heleus's mother. It never really is properly explained what happened to her.
- Mobile Maze: The Labyrinth.
- Multiple Head Case: The Makhai. If you look closely you can see that if one head is killed, the other one still fights.
- No Body Left Behind: When the Gods die, their bodies turn to dust.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Ares delivers a brutal one to Perseus near the end of the movie
- Non-Indicative Name: Subverted. Now there are Titans. Only one of them, though.
- Offhand Backhand: Ares is so badass, He doesn't have to look behind him when one of the Spartans following Perseus and Andromeda, throws an axe at him, which He deftly catches and throws at his fellow Spartan with enough force to knock the poor bastard into a pillar and crush part of the pillar in the process. He doesn't even look behind him when said Spartan tries to back stab him. He merely turns right as the guy charges, picks him up and throws him like a doll.
- Organ Autonomy: The Chimera's tail, which for most of the fight just flails about like an ordinary mindless appendage, then halfway through it inexplicably comes to life and tries to bite Perseus! Subverted in that the tail has a small head at the end, but still...
- Papa Wolf: Pretty much Perseus's entire motivation for the film.
- Plucky Comic Relief: Agenor.
- Rodents of Unusual Size: The Chimera. It does look like a big ugly rat in one of the posters.
- Second Love: Andromeda to Perseus.
This is the entrance to the labyrinth. There are hundreds of doors, all of which would kill you, ha ha... save one. You see, I designed it to play tricks with the mind. After all, the mind is the greatest trap of all.
- The Makhai look like Olympus Fiends (with two heads) from God of War.
- Also Cronus looks a lot like the magma titan.
- The Chimera is a triple Shout Out: The "lion" head resembles a white ape from Disney's John Carter, the "goat" head resembles the reek from Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, and the serpent tail looks like a Xenomorph chestburster.
- Kronos's appearance as a Magma Man might be one to Age of Mythology (where he looked practically the same).
- "Shut Up" Kiss: At the end of the film, Andromeda is discussing battle plans when Perseus plants one on her lips mid-sentence
- Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Io appears only as a tombstone.
- Poseidon also gets just SLIGHTLY more screentime here before getting killed off.
- Super Strength: In full force in this movie. Ares crumples his enemies like they were made out of clay. Hell, being slapped by Ares looks like it hurts a lot. He even knocked Andromeda off her feet by merely shoving her sword into a sheath and jabbing her with the pummel of her sword. Zeus and Hades kick the crap out of the Makhai attacking the Unified Greek Army, pummeling these Made of Iron Perpetual Motion Monsters with incredible feats of strength. Perseus is no slouch either, having used iron chains of questionable quality to ensnare the Chimera and restrain it long enough for it to kill itself.
- Too Dumb to Live: It's really a very ill-advised idea to pray to the same gods you're presently fighting.
- Took a Level in Badass: Andromeda in the first film? Damsel in Distress. Andromeda in the second? Leader of an entire army.
- The Unfavourite: Ares views himself as this.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Ares betrays Zeus because he loathes that he casts his favor and affection more on Perseus, his mortal half-brother, instead of him.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Hades bargains with Kronos that if he would set him free, Kronos would allow Hades and the surviving Gods to keep their immortality. However, he does so knowing that Kronos will wreak havoc upon the earth and cause untold millions of mortals to die (And possibly lead to their extinction).
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Averted in the case of the Chimeras. Four were unleashed from Tartarus by Hades, but only one was encountered by Perseus. The other three is mentioned to have been killed by Andromeda's army (her general/commander? briefly mentioned they lost several hundred men to kill them during Andromeda's first scenes).
- What happened to the rest of the Greek Pantheon? The Olympian Gods were all seen in the last one, but here only Zeus, Poseidon, Ares, Hades, and Hephaestus appear. It is possible though that the others have already died due to a lack of prayer.
- Wreathed in Flames: Kronos' body composes of magma and fire.
- Wrestler in All of Us: Ares performs a vertical suplex on Perseus during the final showdown, to which Perseus later responds with a sleeper hold.
- Xenafication: Andromeda is now a Lady of War.
- Subverted in that while she's a competent military leader now, she's a Faux Action Girl who loses every fight she gets into.