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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

 

Clash of the Titans [Blu-ray]

 

(Desmond Davis, 1981)

 

 

Also now available in a Keepcase Edition:

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Warner

Video: Warner Home Video

 

Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:57:56.110

Disc Size: 35,016,244,465 bytes

Feature Size: 32,263,458,816 bytes

Video Bitrate: 31.08 Mbps

Chapters: 30

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: March 2nd, 2010

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: VC-1 Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1649 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1649 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio Czech 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround
Dolby Digital Audio German 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround
Dolby Digital Audio Portuguese 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround
Dolby Digital Audio French 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Italian 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB

 

Subtitles:

English, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, none

 

Extras:

• A Conversation with Ray Harryhausen (12:13)
Myths and Monsters

• Sneak Peek at the upcoming remake

Digi-book loaded with photos, trivia, actors and monster bios!

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: 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.

 

 

The Film:

CLASH OF THE TITANS is a grand and glorious romantic adventure, filled with grave heroes, beautiful heroines, fearsome monsters, and awe-inspiring duels to the death. It is a lot of fun. It was quite possibly intended as a sort of Greek mythological retread of STAR WARS (it has a wise little mechanical owl in it who's a third cousin of R2-D2), but it's also part of an older Hollywood tradition of special-effects fantasies, and its visual wonderments are astonishing.

The story, on the other hand, is robust and straightforward. Perseus (Harry Hamlin) is locked into a coffin with his mother and cast into the sea, after she has angered the gods. But Zeus (Laurence Olivier) takes pity and sees that the coffin washes ashore on a deserted island, where Perseus grows to manhood and learns of his mission in life. The mission, in a nutshell, is to return to Joppa and rescue Andromeda (Judi Bowker) from a fate worse than death: marriage to the hideously ugly Calibos, who was promised her hand in marriage before he was turned into a monster by the wrath of the gods. Calibos lives in a swamp and dispatches a gigantic, scrawny bird every night to fetch him the spirit of the sleeping Andromeda in a gilded cage. If Perseus is to marry Andromeda, he must defeat Calibos in combat and also answer a riddle posed by Cassiopeia, Andromeda's mother. Those who answer the riddle incorrectly are condemned to die. Love was more complicated in the old days.

Excerpt from Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun-Times located HERE

 


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
 

When Clash of the Titans, last collaboration of effects master Ray Harryhausen and producer Charles H. Schneer, came out on DVD - it met with some lukewarm to disgruntled response when it cam to the video transfer. At the time, I don't think blame solely on the DVD rendition was appropriate. This film appears to have been compromised or utilizing different stock - some less effectual than others. We've seen this with other mid-80's films. Firstly, we should state that this is significantly improved over the SD-DVD in all areas.  But it still has that inconsistency in its appearance-to-digital. I'm not talking about the effects here. Certain darker scenes (see 4th capture below) are rife with heavy grain - appearing much like noise. While other sequences look quite impressive for detail and colors.  This is dual-layered with a very high bitrate. I doubt it can look dramatically superior than this. Luckily, the inferior visuals are minimal and it I don't suggest letting them ruin your presentation. If you have a willing enough suspension of your disbelief for the monsters and mythology - a few exceptionally grainy scenes won't hinder your enjoyment. I may be wrong but this also looks cleaner than I recall the DVD (that I can't seem to get my hands on). This Blu-ray seems to have done it's best with the original sources.  I'm actually quite pleased with the image quality. Obviously, it is imperfect but that only adds some flavor.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Along with a mass of foreign language DUBs - we get a solid, if not demonstrative, DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1649 kbps. A 5.1 artificial bump might have been cool - as there are so many effects sounds to 'mix-in'. As it stands, like the image, it is imperfect, with some inconsistencies  - and obviously not much in the way of depth in comparisons to modern film audio transfers. But, the film is really a throwback to another era of fantasy films and I'm not complaining one bit at the limitations. The disc is loaded with subtitle options, including English, and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

I believe this I nothing beyond the existing DVD with A Conversation with Ray Harryhausen which is a dozen minutes of the master talking about the production and his own career with a backdrop of many scenes from the film. Myths and Monsters has Harryhausen giving a couple of minutes on each monster and the eccentricities of creating the stop-motion effect and decisions on the look of each creature. Maybe the best supplement is the 30-page Digi-book loaded with photos, trivia, actors and monster bios. It's quite impressive.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I've been in love with Ray Harryhausen films as far back as I can remember - as evidenced by my reviews of Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, 20 Million Miles To Earth, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad and It Came From Beneath the Sea - all on Blu-ray. Not to mention Jason and the Argonauts and Mysterious Island - by the way, when, pray tell, are these gems coming to 1080P? So, why this title? The remake is primed and ready with a 'sneak peek' to start the Blu-ray.

 

Clash of the Titans can be seen as a gleeful sigh at those Harryhausen / Schneer marvels. And they didn't go out with a whimper - there are more monster battles than in any of the previous films. So nostalgia is dolloped in heaping spoonfuls and there is NO WAY I wasn't owning this on Blu-ray. I feel strongly that this will be the best it will look and if you, also, enjoy these adolescent diversions - you too must indulge. Just check any atmospheric expectations of A/V at the door. I suggest this for a Sunday afternoon viewing - if you are in the mood - you won't be disappointed! 

Gary Tooze

February 25th, 2010

 

 

 

 

Also now available in a Keepcase Edition:

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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