This review of both the original movie and remake is sort of like a boxing match. One of the “Clash of the Titans” movies will come out on top or else a tie will be declared. Before that, I will present both the strengths and weaknesses of each film. In addition, I will also provide both comparisons and contrasts.
Both movies come out swinging with impressive beginnings: the new movie explains more about the origins of the gods, titans and mankind. However, the old movie counteracts this punch by taking the time to explain how Perseus and his biological mother got thrust into a coffin. The new movie saves that particular story for later. The settings involving both general plots are a bit different: Argos is destroyed fairly early in the old film while this city is the central point of reference in the new film. I like how both movies depict pivotal moments of the hero’s childhood. Perseus is a demigod with no apparent powers like Hercules or someone similar. His father is Zeus, but the way he was raised definitely affects his relationship with the king of the gods. In the old film, his mother was spared death to raise him on a lovely island where nudity is allowed (but don’t worry, the scenes are brief). However, in the new movie, Perseus’ mother dies in the coffin on the sea and he is adopted by a fisherman and his family. Both kids grow up happy, but all of that is short-lived: in the old movie, an angry, jealous goddess drops a handsome, fully-grown Perseus into a city called Joppa. The goddesses are smart, very crafty and a few of them play key roles in the original film. In the new movie, it’s all about the boys: hardly any goddess is used at all, and Medusa doesn’t count! In the new movie, Perseus loses his entire family in a battle casualty by way of an angry Hades, who is the main villain in this plot. Calibos is a major villain in the old movie, but just as conniving as Hades. Both possess different ideas to trap poor Perseus.
Fast forwarding a bit, it’s important to compare and contrast Perseus’ friends. I have to admit, the old movie comrades are not much compared to the new ones. The old Perseus has an elder friend/mentor by the name of Ammon, a white Pegasus horse and Bubo, a mechanical pet owl from Mount Olympus. The new Perseus has an impressive posse of soldiers and citizens from Argos that sort of mentor him throughout the journey of the film. Draco is awesome! But, even though he’s small, Bubo rocks! New Perseus bonds with a black Pegasus horse, but I wish they had more screen time together, leaving me to believe that this horse is a diva.
Both heroes must save the Princess Andromeda, but only the old Perseus is actually in love with her. Io, a woman (not a goddess) cursed with agelessness for refusing to be seduced by a god had been watching new Perseus all his life. They eventually fall in love, and that befits this character, considering everything he’s been through. The infamous scorpions that come about as the result of a monster’s blood are vastly different, mainly due to both the origins of each particular monster as well as the special effects of each film’s time of release: the old movie scorpions could have been a little bigger, while the new movie ones were truly larger than life and had more screen time. The quest to find the Stygian Witches is also different: despite the fact that both sets of hags are blind and depend on a uncanny eye for vision, the old witches are not as threatening as the new ones. Both threaten the lives of Perseus and his men, however the new ones are less human and more agile then the latter. Incidentally, they are also consulted at different times in both films. Regarding the river Styx, the first bony captain of the boat is less intimidating, but not completely bound to the vessel. The second one is so big and gruesome that it’s no wonder he is sort of grafted or welded into the boat (creepy). Nevertheless, both attendants were scary enough to need cloaks.
Both Medusas and Krakens are quite different, and I’m not just talking about digital special effects versus stop animation (which are both cheesy and cool at the same time). The first Medusa, as strange as it seems, is a bit scarier because she rarely lets out a sound. She’s also a more formidable opponent because she has a two-headed dog to help her ward off unwelcome guests. The second Medusa is prettier, and makes laughing noises which makes her officially a little more human than the first one. In the first movie, the Kraken is released twice: he should be, as he’s one of the star villains! In the second film, the Kraken is only released once, but the anticipation leads to disappointment: he’s just a giant turtle with sharp teeth. At least the other Kraken was trying to look a little like Godzilla. The public can decide on the final opinion regarding this matter.
Finally, the romance is better in the first movie, as the love is barely shown at all in the second, which is all about action and testosterone. Both heroes are smart and in terrific physical shape, but the old movie hero solves riddles and uses lots of cool gifts from the gods. The new movie hero uses unlikely allies from the desert and says a couple of curse words. However, his one-liners are catchy and delivered with perfect timing. What is my declaration of a winner? Both films actually have something different and unique to offer. Both movies make me want to read the actual literary content to see which one is closer to the written version. The fact that both screenplays satisfied me and make the original writing enticing should say a lot to anybody who is considering which movie to watch: please view (and appreciate) both!