18 January 2008

Thoughts on A Clash of the Titans redux

An announcement came in December that Stephen Norrington (Blade, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) is attached to helm a propsed remake of the 1981 fantasy film Clash of the Titans, with a script from Lawrence Kasdan.

I don’t understand this—the need to use the name Clash of the Titans. Why not just create a new version of the Perseus vs. Medusa myth? The original film is inextricably linked with special effects maestro Ray Harryhausen and his stop-motion monster effects. Clash of the Titans is a “Ray Harryhausen” film, and a remake using CGI effects will not be Clash of the Titans, but a new version of the original myth. Except for name recognition among Harryhausen fans like myself and the original's enormous Gen-X appeal, calling the new movie Clash of the Titans is deceptive. Just title it Quest of the Gorgon or Legend of Perseus or one of a hundred other appealing possibilities.

I am all for a new mythological adventure movie. I’ve loved Greek myths since I was in second grade (actually, since seeing Clash of the Titans; I owe the film a lot and I told Mr. Harryhausen as much when I met him once at a signing). I also I think that Norrington is a fine choice for director; I thoroughly enjoy The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in spite of the critical and fan-trashing it received back in 2003. But I believe the original Harryhausen classic—his swan song before retirement—should be respected and left alone, and any new version of the myth of Perseus needs to distance itself from the legacy of its masterful creator to make its own identity.