Clash of the TitansRelease Date: Available now
Studio: Warner Brothers
Packaging/Materials: Single-disc Warner Digibook
Running Time: 1:57:00
|1080p high definition 16x9||Standard definition|
|Audio||DTS-HD Master Audio: English 2.0 / Dolby Digital: French 1.0, Spanish (Latin 2.0, Castillian 1.0) and German, Italian, Portuguese and Czech||Stereo|
|Subtitles||English SDH, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Czech, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Norwegian, Swedish||Variable|
The Feature: 4/5After being plucked from a sheltered existence on the island of Seriphos by the sea goddess Thetis (Maggie Smith), Perseus (Harry Hamlin) - half-human son of Zeus (Laurence Olivier) - embarks on a journey that will test the depths of his divine pedigree. Though outfitted with weaponry from the gods - a sword that cuts through marble, a shield that deflects more than just arrows, and a helmet that renders him invisible - Perseus's wits will prove to be his most valuable asset. Freeing the city of Joppa and its princess Andromeda (Judi Bowker) from the curse of Thetis's mutated son Calibos (Neil McCarthy) proves an easy first task, but when the Queen dares to exalt her daughter's beauty over Thetis's, Perseus must face the petrifying Gorgon and ultimately the monstous Kraken, last of earth's Titans. Though Perseus has always lived a charmed life, all of it may prove more than even the son of Zeus can conquer.
Though making some minor alterations to the myth of Perseus, "Clash of the Titans" captures much of what makes Greek mythology so exciting, thanks in large part to the stop-motion animation work of Ray Harryhausen. True, there's little in the way of character development, but these are archetypes in their purest form and there's something elementally inspiring about the hero's journey from boy to man. The narrative connections tying together his exploits are a bit weak, resulting in what feels like a series of vignettes or multiple beginnings to the story, but those problems have been long forgotten by the time Perseus reaches Medusa's horrific lair.
Not unexpectedly, the 30-year old effects work shows its age in today's predominantly CGI world, but it is undeniably impressive for the obvious time and energy poured into its creation. And regardless of how rough or unpolished it may look compared to today's work, there is something about the physical manipulation of physical material that lends itself a realism that even the best CGI can't duplicate (at least thus far).
Video Quality: 3/5The film is accurately framed at 1.78:1 and presented in 1080p with the VC-1 codec. The image exhibits a wide range of issues - meager black levels, excessive grain, flat contrast, moments of softness, and occasional flickering - but by and large they seem inherent to the source, whether the result of the special effects work or the nature of the available film elements. There are moments when the picture looks as it should - good detail, the full range of contrast, nicely saturated color. But it doesn't happen frequently enough to override the memory of the other, less appealing qualities. I'll leave it up to Robert Harris to make the call on whether a restoration is warranted or possible.
Audio Quality: 3.5/5Though sporting only two channels in the DTS-HD Master Audio track, the staging is impressively wide, giving some scenes rather unexpected directional and environmental effects. Voices and strings in the orchestral score also exhibit great detail and dialogue is consistently clear and intelligible. LFE is of course absent, but the track has satisfying dynamic range and depth.
Special Features: 3/5Though obviously thin on video-based items, the collectible book and promotional items for the upcoming remake are appreciated.
Clash of the Titans (2010) Sneak Peek (5:07, HD): Preview of the upcoming remake starring Sam Worthington runs before the disc menu loads.
A Conversation with Ray Harryhausen (23:30, SD): Vintage piece features Harryhausen talking about how he got started in the filmmaking business, earliest projects and "Clash of the Titans'" casting, locations, music, and impact on directors like Steven Spielberg and James Cameron.
Myths and Monsters (SD): Harryhausen talks about creating and animating Calibos (1:19), Pegasus (1:21), Bubo (:47), the scorpions (:40), Medusa (1:53), the Kraken (1:28), and Dioskilos (1:06).
Collectible Book: The nicely produced book-that-is-the-packaging includes cast and crew biographies and numerous archival photographs.
Movie Cash: Worth up to $7.50 towards a ticket to see the upcoming "Clash of the Titans" remake.
Clash of the Titans (2010) Promotional Booklet: Includes a plot synopsis (the story seems considerably different from the original) and promotional photos and artwork.
RecapThe Feature: 4/5
Video Quality: 3/5
Audio Quality: 3.5/5
Special Features: 3/5
Overall Score (not an average): 4/5
For a film that captures much of the charm and excitement of Greek mythology, Warner Brothers turns in a video presentation that is best described as "true to the source," while the audio presentation is a pleasant surprise. The special features are a little thin on video content, but the "digibook" treatment is a fitting tribute to the film.