Clash of the Titans: Two Movies, Two Stories Essay Sample

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As has been seen repeatedly coming out of Hollywood studios lately, there seems to be a push to “reinvent the wheel”. So many previously released movies from the past three decades are now remade and released as new blockbuster films with A-list actors in them. One such example of this is the remake of the 1981 version of Clash of the Titans that was released in 2010. The two different versions of the movie have similar characters and similar outcomes, but on the whole they are two completely different stories.

It should first be acknowledged that the true mythological story of Perseus is that he was the legendary founder of Mycenae and of the Perseid dynasty of Danaans there. He was also the first of the mythic heroes of Greek mythology whose adventures in defeating various archaic monsters provided the founding myths of the Twelve Olympians. Although neither version adheres closely to the documented mythological story of the Greek hero, Perseus, and his fabled quest, the only thing the two movies really have in common is the hero. However, his beginnings are not the same in both versions. In the 1981 version, Perseus is the son of the king of Argos’ daughter, Danae. In the 2010 version, Danae is cast as the wife of King Acrisius of Argos. In both cases, Danae becomes impregnated by the Greek god, Zeus. When it is learned of her “shame”, she is cast into the sea inside a coffin with her newborn son. In the 1981 version, Danae survives with young Perseus, is discovered by a fisherman who then marries her and helps raise her son as his own. In the 2010 version, Danae perishes at sea, but the coffin is discovered by a fisherman and his wife. They then take the baby, Perseus, in and raise him as their son.

In both movies, young Perseus grows to be a man, a fisherman’s son, with no knowledge of his godly heritage. Although the city of Argos is destroyed in the 1981 movie, the city exists and thrives in the 2010 version. In both movies, Perseus is confronted in his adulthood by the fact he is the son of a god. His hatred of the gods and immortals is intensified in the 2010 version when he witnesses the death of his mortal family by the hand of the Furies – flying beasts who pursue mortal sinners. He struggles with the knowledge of his birth and vehemently rejects his heritage, even when faced by the god Hades and sent on a quest to defend the city. It should be noted that the Greek god Hades, brother to Zeus, the king of the gods, makes no appearance in the 1981 version, although he is a major character in the 2010 movie. Also, since the city of Argos was destroyed in the 1981 film, the city of Joppa becomes the city Perseus must defend.

Here is where the two films take completely divergent paths from one another. Although initially the quest that Perseus must set out on is to retrieve the head of the Gorgon, Medusa, in order to defeat the Kraken (the sea monster that is threatening the city of Joppa/Argos), the reasons for this are completely different. In 1981, Perseus is in love with and engaged to marry the Princess Andromeda, heir to the thrown of Joppa. Their wedding is disrupted by Calibos, who was originally intended to marry Andromeda but had angered the gods and was turned into a monster. Andromeda’s mother, Queen Cassiopeia, inadvertently had compared her daughter’s beauty to that of the Greek goddess Thetis (Calibos’ mother) causing the goddess to threaten the city with destruction by the great sea monster, Kraken, unless Andromeda is sacrificed to it. In 2010, Perseus is sent on the same quest for Medusa’s head when the wrath of Hades is brought down on the city for the same reasons as the earlier movie and with the same consequences. However, there is no emotional link between Perseus and the Princess Andromeda. In comparison, Perseus is befriended and aided by the immortal, Io, who has watched over Perseus all of his life and who it is later revealed, loves him.

The quest that Perseus’ sets out on is similar in its events and outcome. There is the battle with Calibos, giant scorpions, and the ultimate conquest and decapitation of Medusa. The winged horse, Pegasus, is a major resource sent by the gods to aid Perseus in his travels during his conquest. Several of Perseus’ band of men are slain during the battles in each movie and Calibos himself is slain. Perseus is now free to save the city of Joppa/Argos. It should be noted that in the 1981 version, several lesser gods come to the aid of Perseus at different times – Athena with a special shield in which to see Medusa’s reflection and a knapsack to carry her head, Hermes with a sword that could not be broken in order to penetrate Medusa’s scales, and Hephaestus with a magical mechanical owl to help lead him to Medusa’s lair. In the 2010 version, the only gifts Perseus receives are a special magical sword and a coin to pay the Boatmaster of the River Styx. Both of these gifts he receives directly from his father, Zeus.

Although the outcome is the same – Perseus turns the Kraken to stone by using the head of Medusa, thereby saving the city and Princess Andromeda – the movies do not have the same ending. In the 1981 version, Perseus and Andromeda are married and rule their city for many years, happily and in peace with the gods. In 2010, Andromeda becomes queen of Argos but Perseus refuses her offer of marriage. He also refuses an offer from his father, Zeus, of godhood. Zeus, however, refuses for him to live alone and gives him Io as a wife.

As can be seen, there are many similarities and many differences in the two movies. The main plot line is still the same, with Perseus on a quest to save the city, the woman he loves, and face his own godly bloodline. There is action and adventure aplenty in both movies, along with a surplus of fantasy fiction. As stated by movie critic, Benjamin Hale, on, “It really comes down to personal tastes. Both movies have strengths and weaknesses. The original is campy fun with a lot of goofy elements. The remake is intense action with a fairly barebones storyline.

But in the end, if watch both and can’t make your mind up…just pick the one with the Kraken you like best.” It is important to understand that the basic storyline is still the same, but as Hollywood has proven time and again, there is always room for a change or two. As one critic puts it, “Is it wrong to remake a movie just so you can update its special effects? Hollywood doesn’t seem to think so. The classic Claymation and stop motion sequences of old are some of the first things we think about when bringing up the subject of mythology movies. But one still cannot help but think how totally awesome it would look if it were updated.” (blackmambamark from United States, Again, it is really up for debate which one is the best…which is what I am sure Hollywood was striving for from the beginning.

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