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CLASH OF THE TITANS
Blu-ray Edition

Review by Michael Jacobson

Stars: Harry Hamlin, Judi Bowker, Burgess Meredith, Sian Phillips, Maggie Smith, Laurence Olivier
Director: Desmond Davis
Audio: DTS HD 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen
Studio: Warner Bros.
Features: Ray Harryhausen recollections
Length: 118 Minutes
Release Date: March 2, 2010

ďHow may a mortal man face and defeat the Kraken?Ē

Film ***

Clash of the Titans has been an endearing classic for close to 30 years. It was a giant hurrah for stop-motion effects guru Ray Harryhausen (Roger Ebert even called this his master achievement), and it was a box office hit that brought back a slice of classic Greek mythology and updated it for the generation weaned on Star Wars.

Itís a tale of heroes and ladies fair, of gods and monsters, of mystical relics and wondrous (and sometimes terrifying) beings. And all of it is set quite literally to the classics; the mythology of old that helped define one of civilizationís great cultures.

It tells the story of Perseus (Hamlin), son of Zeus (Olivier), who escaped his drowning fate as a child (thanks to having a dad in high places and one MEAN mother of a mythological monster in the Kraken) to seek his destiny in higher places.

That destiny involves the beautiful princess of Joppa Andromeda (Bowker), once betrothed to Calibos (Phillips), but who broke off the marriage after Zeus punished his cruel deeds with horrible deformity. Now, her land is under the curse of Calibos, and only Perseus can ride to the rescue, thanks to the advice of an elderly playwright (Meredith), a winged horse called Pegasus, and a few gifts from the gods.

Calibos is the offspring of a goddess (Smith), and her rage against the people of Joppa has given them 30 days to offer Andromeda as a sacrifice to the Kraken or the gigantic beast will lay their city to waste. It will be up to Perseus to find the answer: how does one defeat the invincible monster?

The journey will take him throughout the ancient lands of Greece and face to face with some fearful encounters, including flesh-eating witches, a giant two-headed dog, enormous scorpions, and perhaps most deadly of all, the gorgon Medusa, whose hideous appearance turns men to stone. But for the sake of love, a myth is as good as a mile.

Itís lightweight and ham-handed fun, and I was pleased to find that I still enjoy this childhood staple even after so many years. Sure, Olivier is a little pleased with himself, but heís a god, dammit, and sure, some of the writing and acting are a little hoakie, but so what? The visuals are still amazing even in our era of CGI. Ray Harryhausen, who had been a maestro of movie illusion for decades, really did save some his finest work for this mythological tale come to life.

It may be a little dated and a little old fashioned, but itís still an example of Hollywood at its most creative and fun, and escapist fare at its most entertaining. Clash of the Titans is just one of those cinematic delights that will never grow old for me.

Video ***

After witnessing the debauchery that was The Neverending Story on Blu-ray, I held my breath knowing that Clash of the Titans was both from the same studio and the same decade. But Iím relaxedÖthe issues that plagued the former are not to be seen in the latter. Clash has held up well, and looks remarkable thanks to high definition detail and enhancements. Yes, some low light shots, particularly in the temple of Medusa, exhibit the grain associated with high contrast film stock, but overall, the images have held up well, and maintain a nice sense of coloring that isnít as washed out as many films from the 80s. High marks.

Audio ***

The DTS soundtrack is quite nice, and fairly dynamic, if a little bit thin sounding compared to modern offerings. The surrounds and subwoofer are utilized well, but nothing really makes the movie sound like its modern contemporaries. Still, all things considered, a highly respectable job.

Features **

Not much quantity in the extras department, but some decent quality. There is a look back at Ray Harryhausen, as well as a collection of clips where he discusses the creation of each of his indelible creatures. The disc also starts off with a peek at the remake, and the book-like cover includes pages of info and color photos.

Also, for now, the package also includes a free movie ticket to see the remake when it hits theatres.

Summary:

Soon weíll see the entire movie re-imagined with modern technology, and Iíve no doubt it will be quite a sight to behold. But we fans wonít lose appreciation for the intricate work that made Clash of the Titans such a staple film of our youths. This Blu-ray is the perfect opportunity to revisit the original and experience the magic all over again.

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