A well-timed rerun on GO! this afternoon, given that the remake is in cinemas at the moment. (Also I got “The Masque of Mandragora” on DVD the other day, so that’s two doses of Tim Pigott-Smith in the same week as well.) I know I’ve seen this, but it was so many years ago—possibly back in the 80s—that I remember bugger all about it, so this was as good as a first viewing. It’s old-fashioned, isn’t it? And I don’t mean just because it’s nearly 30 years old; I get the feeling it must’ve seemed that way even in 1981. This was the end of the line for Ray Harryhausen, and the film was obviously meant to evoke his work from years before (I was actually surprised to look at his IMDB entry and realise how comparatively few films he actually worked on), but I couldn’t help feeling that if they’d only waited a few years they could’ve used animatronics instead to what might’ve been better effect… or maybe not. At any rate, I suspect I’d still prefer Harryhausen’s method to the CGI spectacle on big screens right now; the stop-motion and process photography lends it a certain “period” charm, almost enough to distract you from the fact that it’s kind of average, really… Bubo the owl seems to come in for the most criticism, perhaps justly, but as El Santo observes there’s more problems than just that one. Perfectly watchable, sufficiently undemanding for a Sunday afternoon, but not really as good as I’d hoped.
Clash of the Titans (1981)