One of the things the Internet has taught me is that a hell of a lot of people my age loved “The Neverending Story” (1984). They seem to recall it with nostalgia bordering on open reverence, as though it was the seminal film for defining the power of fantasy and imagination for children.
That movie just never took with me. Maybe, at 12, I was too old to enjoy it? The … dog-dragon, to me, seemed silly. And maybe I was old enough to get the sense that it was preachy and saccharine, with a heavy-handed parent-approved message.
Or maybe I was just into the harder stuff. The movies that defined fantasy and imagination for me were Ralph Bakshi’s “The Lord of the Rings” (1978) , “Beastmaster” (1982) and “Clash of the Titans” (1981).
Which brings us to a fun little ghost of Christmas past — “Clash of the Titans” action figures. They showed up unrequested under my Christmas tree one year, but I didn’t complain, because I’d be damned if my parents didn’t pick cool toys for me even if I hadn’t asked for them. I became the quite happy owner of Perseus, Charon, Pegasus and … (drum roll, please) … THE KRAKEN.
Don’t let that snazzy catalog layout below fool you — these weren’t especially well made toys. Good luck getting Perseus to hang on to that sword or shield for very long. Pegasus was fun, but … it was really a just a cheap plastic molded horse with soft plastic wings.
The mighty Kraken paradoxically just couldn’t hold himself together. His arms detached just a bit to easily. And if you turned him, those flipper feet were likely to collapse under him and he’d just sort of keel over. Perseus (or my G.I. Joes, with whom he’d had a longstanding mutual acrimony) could just sort of yell, “HEY! What’s over there?!” And if he were gullible enough, he’d turn, lose a leg-flipper and teeter over to an embarrassed defeat. (He was much more badass in the movie.)
I still have the Kraken in my storage unit. I’m pretty sure he’s missing an arm.