So, I watched Clash of the Titans recently on Netflix Instant. It was, of course, terrible, but winningly so. It was a dumb remake action fantasy that damn well knew it was a dumb remake action fantasy and loved every second of its being.
I initially thought I would hate it. You see, the original version, released in 198whatever is a sacred text for most American men my age. After all, the original Clash of the Titans is often shown in high school freshmen English classes during units on Greek Mythology. And the original Clash of the Titans has female nudity in it.
Now, let that sink in for a second. Imagine you’re a 14-year old American boy in the mid-90’s. The Internet barely exists, and what little does exist is AOL and Geocities. You have actually spent time staring at fuzzy Cinemax feeds, hoping desperately to see a breast emerge from the static like a dolphin in those weird stare-o-gram things that were popular at mall kiosks at the same time. Imagine sitting in English class one day when suddenly, on the TV in front of you, clear as day, are breasts. In school. In class! Imagine realizing in that holy, ungodly moment that the Board of Education of the Great State of North Carolina paid money and authorized your teacher to show you boobs in class. Now, perhaps, you understand the importance of the original Clash of the Titans to me.
When I heard they were remaking it, I shrugged. When I heard there was no nudity in it, I was outraged. How could you possibly remake a movie about gods and monsters and not include the only part I paid any attention to?!
I avoided it in theaters. But then there it was on HBO on Monday evening and I thought “eh, I don’t need to start dinner for an hour and a half.”
At first, I thought it was just dumb. Dumb and silly. And there was no nudity, which seemed like a tragedy of Greek mythological proportions for today’s 14-year old boys in English class.
I nearly turned off the TV, but then, then, there was a moment. A glorious moment that not only ensured I watched the movie until the end, but totally won me over. A moment of pure cinematic beauty and what I can only describe as awesomeness.
No, not Ralph Fiennes turning into a giant smoke bat. Not a naked Liam Neeson transforming into a bald eagle in order to escape a lady’s bedroom.
No, it was the moment when the Bedouin-like warriors, who inexplicably have bark for skin and glowing blue eyes, come riding over the dunes on giant scorpions. Read that again. Bedouin. Bark for skin. Blue Eyes. Riding. Giant Scorpions.
I’m not sure how you classify a movie like this. It’s not camp, or kitsch, or so good it’s bad. It’s not even trash. I did not enjoy it ironically. I just enjoyed it. The word fun springs to mind, but that doesn’t seem to be enough. What we really need is a word in the English language that concisely captures the joyful feeling you get when watching a bad movie totally redeem itself via the sudden appearance of bark-skinned Bedouins riding giant scorpions (the Germans actually do have a word for this and it is barkenthäutetebeduinenriesigeskorpionereiten).
But we don’t have one, and English is the poorer language because of it.