6/5/02 Warner Bros. To Clash With Harryhausen Fans
by Ryan Ball

On June 3, Variety reported that Warner Bros. has hired a writing team to pen a remake of the Charles Schneer/Ray Harryhausen mythological epic Clash of the Titans.

The original, which premiered in 1981, brought the Harryhausen experience to a new generation of kids who were too young to see the Sinbad franchise or any other masterpiece in the Harryhausen catalogue on the big screen. Being among that crowd, I fondly recall the exhilaration and fear I felt watching the many "Dynamation" creatures so painstakingly brought to life to do battle with Perseus in the arena of the Gods. Who could forget the Kracken rising out of the sea or the hellish vision of Medusa slithering out of the shadows of her torchlit layer?

The new version will no doubt employ CGI to create a world where men and monsters lock horns in mortal combat at the whim of petty gods. This will likely give another shake to the hornet’s nest of debate over CGI vs. traditional effects animation.

Perhaps this is all much ado about nothing. After all, this would not be the first time a Harryhausen film got a modern update. In 2000, NBC aired a small screen version of Jason and the Argonauts. But a movie of the week is one thing. If Clash is slated for theatrical release, its is much more likely to have fans of the original in an uproar.

Having previously tackled Journey to the Center of the Earth for Fox 2000 and most recently, a new take on The Warriors for MTV and Paramount, writers Travis Wright and John Glenn are becoming seasoned pros in remake game. And while they’re busy re-crafting known commodities, Their Glenn-Wright Productions is currently recruiting other writers to help develop their original stories. As daunting as their job on Clash may be, it is not nearly as delicate as that of any CGI animators charged with the Herculean task of outdoing Uncle Ray. And while Clash may not be regarded as Harryhausen’s best film, it holds a special place in the pantheon of fantasy filmdom and in the hearts of fans worldwide. You’d be hard pressed to find one artist eager to paint over one of Picasso’s lesser works.

Psycho, Planet of the Apes, Red Dragon (previously produced as Manhunter)… for some reason, Hollywood feels the need to remake films that still hold up today, and in most cases, surpass their remakes on every level. Meanwhile, there have been plenty of movies with good ideas that were poorly executed. Perhaps the Titans of Tinseltown should set their sights on those properties instead.

A special edition DVD of the original Clash of the Titans is scheduled for an Aug. 6, 2002 release by Warner Bros.

 

© 2002 Animation Magazine Inc.