Did you know that the popular shoe brand Nike was actually derived from the Greek winged goddess of victory, and Olympus, a popular camera brand, from Mount Olympus? Mythology has greatly influenced our culture and it would surprise you to how much it actually still is part of our everyday life (Pontikis, 1995).
Myths and mythological characters are also popular themes for films. Hercules, Troy, and Thor are just some of the well-known characters that have been adapted to the big screen. Their appeal and entertainment value are just two of the main reasons why mythological characters are common protagonists in films. According to Phelan, people also find heroes and divine intervention by gods and goddesses appealing, which makes mythology inspired films a hit (2000).
One of the most popular films which was remade in 2010 was “Clash of the Titans”, originally released on June 12, 1981. Its remake was released 29 years later on April 2, 2010. A videogame based on the 2010 remake was also released.
A Closer Look at the 1981 Version of “Clash of the Titans”
The film begins with King Acrisius of Argos locking away his daughter Danae from mortal men to escape the prophecy of his death. While imprisoned, Zeus impregnated Danae. Danae gave birth to Perseus, and Acrisius sent them to sea inside a wooden coffin. This angered Zeus, which led him to kill the King and to instruct Poseidon to release the Kraken and destroy Argos. Perseus and Danae landed in the island of Seriphos where Perseus grows up. In the original story, a fisherman named Dictys in Seriphos rescued Danae and Perseus. He then became Perseus’ adoptive father (Elley, 1984).
In the original story, Polydectes, the King of Seriphos tried to rape Danae in Athena's temple while Perseus was still young. The assault angered Athena, who suggested to Perseus to bring the head of Medusa the Gorgon to Polydectes as the best offering to the king. (Silvester, 2010).
In the film, Perseus was transported by Thetis to Joppa as a form of her revenge to Zeus' punishment to Calibos, the son of Hera. Calibos was engaged to Andromeda, the princess of Joppa and daughter of Queen Cassiopeia, but Zeus turned him into a satyr-like creature since Calibos destroyed Zeus’ flying horses along with different creatures. Satyrs are goat-like creatures that have the body and the capabilities of man (Elley, 1984).
While in Joppa, Perseus meets Ammon and falls in love with Andromeda. He then discovers that he will not be able to marry Andromeda unless he successfully answers a riddle. To aid him in his quest, the gods gifted him a sword, a shield, and a helmet that makes him invisible. He also captures Zeus’ flying horse Pegasus while invisible, which allowed him to follow Andromeda and to learn a new riddle from Calibos. He was almost killed by Calibos, but he was able to escape at the expense of his helmet. In the original story according to Silvester, Perseus was gifted with a sword, a shield, a helmet that makes him invisible, winged sandals for flying and a purse that never runs out of food for his quest to behead Medusa. Pegasus was also formed from Medusa’s blood along with snakes (2010).
In the film, Perseus defeats Calibos and he presents Calibos' severed hand, which has a golden ring on it, as the answer to the riddle. He then wins Andromeda's hand in marriage. Calibos asks Thetis for revenge but she is unable to do so because Perseus is under Zeus' protection. Calibos' asked for revenge on Joppa instead. During the wedding, Thetis demanded the virgin Andromeda to be sacrificed to the Kraken to avoid Joppa's destruction. Perseus tries to find a way to defeat the Kraken but he faces another problem as Calibos and his men capture Pegasus. Zeus aids Perseus through ordering Athena to give Bubo, her owl, as a replacement to the lost helmet of invisibility. However, Athena orders Hephaestus to craft a mechanical replica instead.
In the original story, Andromeda was a sacrifice made by her mother, the Queen of Ethiopia to appease Poseidon. Perseus met her while he was riding Pegasus after beheading Medusa and he fell in love with her. He promised Andromeda’s mother to save her from the sea monster, in exchange for her hand, with the help of his sword gifted by Hephaestus. During Perseus and Andromeda's wedding feast, Phineus fought for Andromeda as he claims that she has been promised to him. Perseus used Medusa's head to turn Phineas and his two hundred men into stone (Slivester, 2010).
In the film, Medusa resides at the end of the Underworld together with Dioskilos, her canine guardian. Perseus then kills Dioskilos and uses his shield to defeat medusa and behead her. His shield was damaged by Medusa's blood. While returning for Joppa, Calibos manages to puncture the bag carrying Medusa's head. This caused the blood to drip out and turn into scorpions. Perseus manages to kill the scorpions and Calibos but most of his men were also killed. In the original story, Medusa resides in Libya, beyond the river Oceanus together with her two immortal siblings. Perseus beheaded her while sleeping. Pegasus was also created from her blood along with snakes (Elley, 1984).
In the film, Perseus was weakened by the encounter with Calibos and the scorpions. He sends the owl to bring back Pegasus and to divert the Kraken. Perseus then appears riding Pegasus and a battle between him and the Kraken begin. Perseus was able to use Medusa's head, which turned the Kraken into stone. In the original story, the Kraken was slain with the sword and not with Medusa’s head. Perseus and Andromeda also went back to Seriphos where Polydectes was forcing Danae to marry him. Perseus turned the King into stone and he gave the throne to his adoptive father Dictys, a fisherman who saved his and Danae's life when Danae’s father sent them into the sea inside a coffin (Silvester, 2010).
Elley, D. (1984). The epic film: Myth and history. Boston, MA: Routledge & Kegan
Phelan, J. (2000). Forbidden visions: Mythology in art, Artcyclopedia. Retrieved from
Pontikis, N. (1995). Mythology in modern society mythology in daily life. Retrieved from
Silvester, W. (2010). Clash of the titans – the actual story from greek mythology. Retrieved from http://william-silvester.suite101.com/legend-of-perseus-a217929