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Blu-ray Review: Clash Of The Titans (1981)
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Clash Of The Titans (1981)
Blu-ray Book Edition
Directed by Desmond Davis
Starring Harry Hamlin, Judi Bowker, Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith, Burgess Meredith, Neil McCarthy
Warner Bros Home Entertainment
Release date: March 2, 2010

Perseus (Harry Hamlin), the half-human mortal son of the god Zeus (Laurence Olivier), lives a contented, sheltered life on the island of Seriphos, as his father watches over him from Mount Olympus. While his father shows favoritism towards him from on high, we learn right away that the god of thunder has no tolerance for wicked deeds when he severely punishes Calibos (Neil McCarthy), son of the goddess Thetis (Maggie Smith). He transforms the handsome Calibos, who’s betrothed to the Princess Andromeda (Judi Bowker) of the city of Joppa, into a hideous creature condemned to live in the swamps and marshes.

Angered by the fate of her son, Thetis vows that if her son can’t have Andromeda, then no man can, thereby putting a curse on the city and any suitor that comes to court the princess. To spite Zeus, she also transports Perseus out of his safe haven and into the city of Joppa where he’ll get a major dose of reality and face mortal danger.

While Perseus is confused upon arrival in a new strange place, his adventurous spirit prompts him to go explore the city of Joppa. With the help of some powerful gifts from the gods, as well as guided wisdom from an old playwright Ammon (Burgess Meredith), Perseus sets out to win the hand of Andromeda and break Thetis’s curse over the city.

While the cast of 1981’s Clash Of The Titans is packed with heavy hitters like Laurence Olivier and Maggie Smith (that’s Professor McGonagall”Ž for all you Harry Potter fans), the 1981 fantasy adventure is best known for stop-motion creature animation by special effects master Ray Harryhausen (Titans was his last special effects work). While Harryhausen’s early visual effects work on films like The 7th Voyage of Sinbad in 1950s was undeniably groundbreaking, by post-Star Wars 1981, it were already considered outdated. But that didn’t make Clash Of The Titans any less enjoyable; actually it made it quite endearing.

Harryhausen’s mark is made mostly along Perseus’s treacherous journey, where he encounters giant scorpions, the three blind Stygian witches, and the gorgon Medusa, not to mention the Kraken sea monster (not actually part of Greek myth but a nice insertion into this story).

Speaking of the Kraken, one of my favorite parts of the film is when they actually release the Kraken. I know, anyone who’s seen this movie would think it’s because this is the scene where the massive Titan sea creature arises from the water to claim his virginal sacrifice. I mean, yeah, that’s pretty cool. But here’s what I really loved about it: When Zeus tells Poseidon to “let loose the Kraken,” we see him go into the water and actually hand-crank open a huge portcullis to let the monster out. This is the powerful god of the sea and yet he’s opening an underwater gate — with not so much ease, I might add — manually. Oh how I love it. My question is, how does he get the Kraken to go back into his underwater dungeon? If I was the Kraken, I’d be like ‘Thanks, I’m outta here!’ but then again, where’s he going? But, I digress.

The original Clash Of The Titans, which is getting the remake treatment this April, is still one of the greatest fantasy films ever made and even after nearly 30 years, this film definitely holds up. Looking back, the acting still holds up, as does the story, which is loosely based on the Perseus story in Greek mythology (meaning, plenty of liberties were taken). But, if you enjoy Greek myth and the tales of gods, monsters, and men, then Clash Of The Titans is the movie to watch.

Bonus Features

PACKAGING

– The Blu-ray release comes in a hardcover book casing. It opens up with the Blu-ray disc on the right, and a 42-page book about the film on the left side.

– 12-page mini booklet about the upcoming remake of the film; has story synopsis and information about the film’s production. Also has images from the film, as well as images taken from the banners.

– Coupon code for $7.50 off a ticket to see the new Clash of the Titans in theaters; valid 4/9 – 5/2.

PICTURE

The Blu-ray transfer looks great for the most part, but I did notice some scenes that go from crystal clear to fuzzy, but I’ve deduced that its because of how the special effects were done. For instance, when Perseus is getting the gifts from the gods and is talking with Zeus, the picture is very clear; then when it flashes to Perseus putting a helmet making him invisible, the picture quality is very poor. Even with this, I didn’t feel it got in the way of my enjoyable of the film, but I can see how people who are younger and aren’t familiar with the movie who are used to high quality picture might be thrown.

BONUS CONTENT

2010 Clash Of The Titans Featurette [5:12]
When you first put in the disc, it immediately launches an effect-themed featurette for the upcoming Clash remake starring Sam Worthington as Perseus. In it, the actors — Worthington, Ralph Fiennes, Liam Neeson — talk about the film, and the effects crew talk about working on creating Medusa. The film’s director Louis Letterier is also seen dressed in a green suit in front of a green screen acting out a scene as the Kraken attacking Andromeda. Note, it seems like the only way to get back to the featurette is to take disc out and put back it (as far as I can tell, I look around the menu and didn’t see a way back to it).

Behind the Story: A Conversation With Ray Harryhausen [12:12]
The effects master talks about how his love of movies began, and how it segued into a career in movie effects. He talks about Titans’ story, musical score, and its inspirations on other filmmakers like George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and James Cameron.

Myths and Monsters
Ray Harryhausen goes through all the characters that were creature creations, very quick segments for each character: Calibos, Pegasus, Bubo, The Scorpions, Medusa, The Kraken, Dioskilos.

Trailer

www.warnerblu.com

2 Comments »

  1. I LOVED this movie growing up. I’ve seen it a few times in the last five or so years. I am still more excited about this Blu-ray than the new movie.

    Comment by The Rub — March 13, 2010 @ 5:21 pm

  2. Excellent review!!
    I love this film.
    Have fond memories of it.
    Need to own this now.

    Comment by Jerry — March 13, 2010 @ 9:12 pm

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