Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Clash of the Titans (Blu-ray)

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
8 out of 10
Extras Rating:
6.5 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

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Rating: PG

Starring:
Laurence Olivier as Zeus
Claire Bloom as Hera
Maggie Smith as Thetis
Ursula Andress as Aphrodite
Jack Gwillim as Poseidon
Susan Fleetwood as Athena
Pat Roach as Hephaestus
Harry Hamlin as Perseus
Judi Bowker as Andromeda
Burgess Meredith as Ammon
Si‚n Phillips as Cassiopeia
Flora Robson as Stygian Witch
Anna Manahan as Stygian Witch
Freda Jackson as Stygian Witch
Tim Pigott-Smith as Thallo

Special Features:
A Conversation with Ray Harryhausen
Maps of Myths and Monsters Gallery

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1)
DTS-HD Master Audio
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Spanish and French Language
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 118 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

"Before history and beyond imagination! The machinations of gods above and the fates of man and monsters here below play out in a 'Clash of the Titans.' Decades prior to the sensational 2010 version of the tale, Harry Hamlin took up sword and shield to play valorous Perseus, mortal son of Zeus (Laurence Olivier) who sets out to fulfill his destiny by rescuing beloved Andromeda from the wrath of goddess Thetis (Maggie Smith). Perils await Perseus time and again. And eye-filling thrills await viewers as stop-motion effects legend Ray Harryhausen ('Jason and the Argonauts') unleashes snake-haired Medusa, fearsome Kraken, winged Pegasus, two-headed dog Dioskilos, giant scorpions and more. Rejoice, fantasy fans: the movie gods gift us with adventure that's innovative, heroic, titanic."

"Clash of the Titans" is rated PG.

Mini-Review:
Just in time for the remake, the 1981 version of "Clash of the Titans" is being released on Blu-ray. This is one of my all-time favorite films. I fell in love with it as a kid and it sparked my love for Greek, Roman, and Norse mythology. I had the toys, the posters, and the lunchbox. I loved Ray Harryhausen's work on "Jason and the Argonauts," the Sinbad films, "The Valley of Gwangi," and more, but this was the first one of his films that I got to see on the big screen. So I was quite eager to get this on Blu-ray and show it to my kids.

I found that parts of this movie stand up really well over time, but other parts don't. The scenes at the beginning where characters are superimposed over model sets don't look very good, and the problem is magnified with Blu-ray and an HD TV. The fuzziness and toned down colors masked a lot of flaws in the effects on the big screen. You're pulled out of the movie by those flaws. Other parts are quite cheesy. Harry Hamlin in a toga and wearing a gold headband is a bit silly. Then there's Bubo, the R2-D2 ripoff and probably the least mythological addition to the story. He's a glaring blemish to the story.

Despite the flaws, a lot of things are still quite strong. The scene where Perseus battles Medusa is still perfectly executed. My kids, who are used to CG monsters of every kind, held their breaths and hid their eyes during the scenes. Harryhausen's animation also brings life to the characters like Pegasus and the Kraken. The performances of Burgess Meredith and Laurence Olivier as Zeus are also the standard to which the new film will be measured by. The music by Laurence Rosenthal is also memorable and has some really strong moments that stand out.

As well as I thought I knew the film, one thing really did surprise me - the nudity. Despite being rated PG, we see almost everything of Perseus' mother and Andromeda. It was kind of like, "Woah! I thought I would have remembered that!" Parents may want to screen it first before showing it to their kids. It's no wonder the PG-13 rating came along a couple of years after this was released.

This Blu-ray is a required addition to the collections of any sci-fi or fantasy fans. It's a real effects classic and you'll want to watch it again before the remake hits screens. You'll see it was a really strong foundation for the new movie to build upon.

I was hoping there would be some sort of 'making of' featurette or retrospective included on this Blu-ray, but there was not. You get a brief featurette on Ray Harryhausen and another on the creatures, both of which were included on the DVD version of this film. The only new thing is a featurette on the new "Clash of the Titans." It shows the making of Medusa and the Kraken. They show so much that I was starting to think they revealed too much. It also includes interviews with Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson and Ralph Finnes.

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