Clash of the Titans (1981)
Generally considered--and disdained as--a plastic kid's adventure flick, this 1981 epic is one of the giddiest guilty pleasures around, perfect for a long summer afternoon. Based on assorted Greek myths about obstacles placed before the mortal Perseus (Harry Hamlin) by the ever-fractious Olympians, Titans is bursting with winged horses, seductive serpents, fearful giants, and Serious Actors (a wickedly regal Maggie Smith as the vengeful Thetis, Claire Bloom as the genteel and watchful Hera, a bewildered-looking Burgess Meredith as kindly Ammon, a bored Laurence Olivier as Zeus) fretting over the fate of their young, full-lipped pawn, who wants only to save his beloved Andromeda (doelike Judi Bowker, competing with the brazenly amateurish Hamlin for bad-acting laurels). But the real fun of Titans is co-producer/FX legend Ray Harryhausen's heralded animated model figures. Their very clunkiness and painstakingly spectacular action overcome the sudsy plot, and stand in stark contrast to the vacuous perfection of today's CGI effects. Just try not to be carried away by the flights of the noble winged horse Pegasus, or suppress a simultaneous giggle and quiver of sheer delight at snake-headed Medusa's ominous rattle. You don't have to tell anyone--just watch and enjoy.