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  • April 2010
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A Filmology of Mythology

 

Right on the heels of The Lightning Thief movie, comes the remake of the 1981 campy-yet classic, Clash of the Titans.  I remember my father taking my brother and I to see this when it came out and I can definitely blame this movie for jumpstarting my interest in mythology. I wanted to learn all I could about Medusa and company after being in the theatre.  I also learned later that this turned out to be the last movie to utilize the talents of stop motion animation guru, Ray Harryhausen.  As antiquated and old fashioned as stop motion technology was, even for 1981, it was (and still is) something to behold watching Medusa hunt down Perseus in her lair, or seeing the Kraken rise up out of the ocean.

Before COTT, Harryhausen worked on some of the most famous sci-fi films of the 1950’s and 1960’s, like It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955), Mysterious Island (1961), and One Million Years B.C. (1968).

It was in 1963, however, with Jason and the Argonauts, a god and monster filled mythological blockbuster that preceeded COTT by almost twenty years, that we see what was to come in COTT. It became one of the greatest adventure movies ever and Harryhausen’s masterpiece.  It’s most memorable sequence is the battle between the Argonauts and re-animated skeleton warriors. If you’ve never thought stop animation looked cool,  just watch how the expressions on the skeleton warriors’ faces can scare the Hades out of you!

After you’ve had your fill of Greeks, gods and gorgons (if that’s possible), you may want to check out Harryhausen’s equally well known Sinbad movies. While not strictly mythology, more like Pirates of the Caribbean meets Aladin,  these are also very, very fun to watch and were huge successes when released.

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)

The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973)

Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977)

If you’re still mad for more myth you can also check out the 1997 TV mini-series adaptation of The Odyssey. This was really hyped at the time, but I remember not liking this that much. At least this is where you get the Cyclops.

A one eyed monster is better than none, right?

Steve-Lawrenceville

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