Based on: Clash of The Titans (1981) Film
Screenplay: Beverley Cross
Novelization: Alan Dean Foster
Genre: Fantasy_Adventure_Greek Mythology
Page Count: 304 pages (US paperback)
Published: May 1st 1981 by Warner Books (NY) (first published January 1st 1981)
Plot: He was Perseus, son of Zeus and Danae, born in disgrace, exiled to perish at sea, fated to survive at heavenly caprice — until he met his love, defied the Gods and dared to fight them or die.She was Andromeda, enslaved by her own beauty which beggared the heavens and brought a curse upon her city, her home, her heart….until Perseus accepted the Devil’s own challenge, answered the deadly riddle and rode forth on his winged horse Pegasus to claim his love and to face the last of the Titans, armed only with a bloody hand, a witche’s curse, and a severed head…
In the prime epoch of Sword & Sorcery in the early 1980s, Beverley Cross (screenwriter of Jason and the Argonauts) delivered an epic tale with the Gods and Mortals of Ancient Greece. This was Ray Harryhuasen’s swan song, although he lived to the long age of 92 before passing away in 2013.
Filmed on location in several different countries–Spain, Malta, U.K., Italy, and Pinewood Studios. The diverse terrain of breathtaking promontories, foggy marshlands, and ancient ruins gave novelizationalist Alan Dean Foster ample ammunition to dilate the story’s narrative. Given that it was adapted, according to Foster, in a matter of weeks shows how astute the man is at his craft. Keep in mind, this was at a time when Foster was in his prime adapting some of the biggest movie blockbusters released–Star Wars, Alien, The Black Hole, Outland, The Thing, among other licensed franchises.
The adaptation of COTT was one of the best i’ve ever read, and I highly recommend fans of the original film to partake in this resplendent world. Even if you find the film to be antiquated and the special effects passe, Foster infuses the prose with the respectability deserving of the script. He accurately channels his inner Robert E. Howard (Conan The Barbarian creator), capturing it throughout in a remarkable pastiche.
In the film, a talented array of actors filled out the Greek Pantheon to meager success. Many malign the 2010 remake, but i’m one to cherish both versions. Due to the complexity of stop-motion effects and on-location filming, additional chunks of info and happenings are peppered throughout the novel, and it doesn’t adhere strictly to Greek Mythology Canon. With it being a Ray Harryhausen project, a great emphasis of film was placed on the visuals.
While Ammon appears undervalued in the film, Foster bestows the ancient poet with more wisdom, more solemnity, more witticism, and with that, more dialogue. After perseues is marooned in the desolate ampitheatre, Ammon befriends and aides him with theological knowledge and zingers. Reading the adaptation, you feel as though the film missed out on including him further. One can sense that ADF (that’s what he’s going by henceforth on this site) took a partial approach to this character.
Luckily, Bubo the metallic owl doesn’t damper the enjoyment of the novelization as much as he does in the film. The prose of the archic landscape and the gruesome action scenes were written at supreme levels for most of the adaptation. About three quarters in, the book gets a bit sluggish and vapid–with ADF resorting to the words: THEN & BUT too frequently. That’s my only negative. It does, however, recover in enough time to have an outstanding narrative during the Medusa and the Kraken altercations.
Overall Grade: A-
Whether you’re averse to novelizations or not, this is one of the better ones ever published and thus I highly recommend reading it if you ever get the chance. It’s an unremitting experience in the mythical realm of ancient Greece which one can feel within the opening lines.