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Special Effects Collection [Blu-ray]

 

The Son of Kong (1933)                      Mighty Joe Young (1940)

 

 

The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953)                               Them! (1954)

 

 

4 Landmark Monster Classics, NEW TO Blu-ray, in One Collection!

SON OF KONG: The filmmakers who created
King Kong kept the excitement going in this sequel featuring Kong's son, a 12-footer with a winning personality and awesome strength.

MIGHTY JOE YOUNG: The team behind King Kong reunited to deliver tongue-in-cheek jokes and a smaller simian...but Oscar®-winning effects that were just as Kong-sized.

THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS: Spawning an era of atomic-age creature features, this screen adaptation of Ray Bradbury's work features Ray Harryhausen's first time wielding total control over special effects.

THEM!: A landmark movie about giant radiation-mutated ants with Oscar®-nominated effects and an epic struggle in the drains beneath Los Angeles, Them! only gets better with age.

NOTE (from the Press Release): The Special Effects Collection includes four memorable films; Son of Kong, Mighty Joe Young, The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, and Them! Stop-motion pioneer Willis O'Brien oversaw special effects on Son of Kong and Mighty Joe Young with Ray Harryhausen serving in a junior capacity. Harryhausen, who adapted O'Brien's techniques and was the lead on The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, went on to develop and create a form of stop-motion model animation eventually known as Dynamation. Harryhausen's amazing body of work continues to inspire many of today's special effects wizards.
 


 

Box Cover

   

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Distribution

Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Subtitles

English, Spanish, French, None

Features

Release Information:
Studio: Warner

Edition Details:


“Son of Kong”
• Theatrical Trailer (1:47)

“Mighty Joe Young”
• Commentary by Terry Moore and special effects veterans Ray Harryhausen and Ken Ralston
Featurettes
•  A Conversation with Ray Harryhausen and the Chiodo Brothers (22:52)
• Ray Harryhausen and Mighty Joe Young (11:57)
• Theatrical Trailer (1:41)

The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms”
Featurettes
• The Rhedosaurus and the Roller Coaster: Making the Beast (6:12)
• Harryhausen & Bradbury: An Unfathomable Friendship (16:51)
• Armatures (0:59)
• Theatrical Trailer (2:34)


Them!”
Featurette:
• Ants - Behind-the-scenes archive footage montage on the design and operation of Giant Ants (3:06)
• Theatrical Trailer (3:19)

Blu-ray Release Date: October 27th, 2015

 

Blu-ray Package

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: These Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Things seemed to be going well.  I saw an unnatural green interior in Son of Kong near beginning (see sample) but settles down to be rich with textures. The technical transfers are strong (1080P) with high bitrates. Mighty Joe Young looks exceptional. The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms is dark and a shade green, but still pleasing.  Then we came upon the most important title in this set - Them!   It looks very different.

I had heard Them! was going to be widescreen (theatrically  shown at 1.75:1 and the BD is 1.78:1 - that's not the issue!) but looking at it - it appears to be horizontally stretched to me. Unnaturally so. It's dark - green leaning and looks muddy, dark, flat, cropped and very poor on my system. I much prefer the DVD. I think this is an error. And the best title of the collection to boot. I don't want a debate about it being widescreen Yes, it should be widescreen - I just think the image quality is... compromised. The color title is missing most of the vibrant blue, too (see sample below). The SD Them! exhibits much more depth.

The set has 4, Region FREE, Blu-ray discs (3 single-layered with Mighty Joe Young being dual-layered.) each offers optional English, French or Spanish subtitles and a Spanish DUB (Dolby) but the English language tracks are DTS-HD Master 1.0 channel mono. Extras are Harryhausen-leaning (hooray) but there aren't a lot (a few featurettes, that I enjoyed) including the repeated commentary by Terry Moore, Harryhausen and Ken Ralston on Mighty Joe Young - which looks the best of the 4 films.

I'd welcome some input on Warner's HD Them! - because for me this is a big disappointment. Anyone? (Tweet Us!)

Gary W. Tooze

 

 


Sample Menus


 


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

 

 

Hoping to immediately cash in on its blockbuster hit King Kong (1933). RKO Radio commissioned producers Willis O'Brien and Ernest B. Schoedsack to hastily slap together a sequel. Son of Kong begins where King Kong left off, with foolhardy entrepreneur Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) facing hundreds of thousands dollars in lawsuits from the damages inflicted by the mighty Kong on the city of New York (remember?) Denham's partner Captain Englehorn (Frank Reicher) suggests that they escape to Malaya, where they make the acquaintance of Hilda (Helen Mack), the daughter of drink-besotted circus-owner Peterson (Clarence Wilson). When her father is killed in a fire caused by Norwegian sea captain Helstrom (John Marston), Hilda is comforted by Denham, who has taken a liking to the unfortunate girl. It turns out that Helstrom was the sailor who sold Denham the map to Skull Island, where King Kong once ruled unchecked. Hoping to escape prosecution for the fatal fire, Hellstrom claims that there's a fabulous treasure buried somewhere on Skull Island and offers to lead Denham and Englehorn back to the Pacific flyspeck. With no place else to go, Hilda stows away on Englehorn's boat and joins the expedition. After an unpleasant confrontation with the natives whom Kong trampled and chewed up in the earlier film, Denham and Hilda explore another part of the Island -- and there they find Little Kong, a 12-foot-high white gorilla who is as lovable as his "old man" was nasty. As the treacherous Hellstrom meets his doom elsewhere on the island, cute Little Kong protects his new friends Denham and Hilda from a variety of marauding dinosaurs, ultimately sacrificing his own life to save the human hero and heroine from a native war party. Largely played for laughs (at one point Little Kong makes an "Oy vey" gesture, as the soundtrack plays a snatch of a Jewish dance!), Son of Kong is nowhere near the classic stature of its illustrious predecessor. On the other hand, the stop-motion photography is quite impressive, at times even better than the animation seen in the original King Kong.

 

Posters

 

Box Cover

   

 

   

   

Distribution

Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Bitrate:

  Son of Kong

Runtime:

1:09:31.500

Disc Size:

19,398,905,019 bytes

Feature Size:

18,749,417,472 bytes

Video Bitrate:

32.84 Mbps - 1.33:1

Chapters:

22

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1042 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1042 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
DUB:

Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB

 

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

 

Early scene is greenish

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

(aka 'Mr. Joseph Young of Africa')

Directed by Ernest B. Schoedsack
USA 1949

 

He may only come up to King Kong 's shin, but Joe makes up in heart what he lacks in size. This sweet tale of a girl and her pet/best friend, an African gorilla with the soul of a kitten, pulls on a different set of heartstrings than the giant ape classic. Robert Armstrong practically repeats his role from King Kong as a Broadway producer who lures Jill Young (Terry Moore) and Joe, an ape she raised from baby (a splendidly realized stop-motion character created by Willis O'Brien, the creator behind Kong), to New York as the star attraction at his new nightclub. Caged in a cramped basement holding cell, the unhappy Joe finally goes berserk after a trio of drunks ply him with alcohol, and the city rules him a menace. In a desperate attempt to save Joe from execution, Jill rounds up her friends and confidants (including beefy love interest Ben Johnson) for a jailbreak. This human-scale drama is more subdued than its inspiration, but the nightclub rampage remains a terrifying scene in its mad destruction; and the climax, involving a raging fire at an orphanage (have these filmmakers no shame?!), still impresses.

Excerpt from Sean Axmaker's comments located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: July 27th, 1949

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Comparison:

Warner - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray

    

    

  

** NOTE: The blue cover King Kong 3-Disc Special Edition DVD set contains King Kong / Son of Kong and Mighty Joe Young **

    

   

Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

 

   

Distribution

Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Distribution Warner Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:33:39  1:33:48.831 
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.72 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 30,017,530,992 bytes

Feature: 26,945,169,408 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.84 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 1.0) 

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1047 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1047 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)

DUB:
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB

Subtitles English, Spanish, French, None English, Spanish, French, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary by Ray Harryhausen, Terry Moore and Ken Ralston
• A Conversation with Ray Harryhausen and the Chiodo Brothers
• Featurette: Ray Harryhausen and Mighty Joe Young
• Theatrical trailer

DVD Release Date: November 22nd, 2005
Keep Case
Chapters:
26

Release Information:
Studio: Warner
 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 30,017,530,992 bytes

Feature: 26,945,169,408 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.84 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• Commentary by Terry Moore and special effects veterans Ray Harryhausen and Ken Ralston
Featurettes
•  A Conversation with Ray Harryhausen and the Chiodo Brothers
• Ray Harryhausen and Mighty Joe Young
• Theatrical Trailer

Blu-ray Release Date:
October 27th, 2015
Standard
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 26

 

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: Comments on the Blu-ray are at the top of the review (under the package photo.)

ON THE DVD: What a fabulous image, since it is a much newer film it is far superior to Kong in terms of sharpness and contrast. It looks exceptionally good in all areas.  Harryhausen has really come into his own in these releases and comes across very well indeed in both the commentary and the featurettes. If this had come out by itself I would vote on it for DVD of the Year - a personal favorite film! Aside from some very minor damage marks this has no flaws at all.  out of    

My suggestion, unless you are dead set against the bigger ape film then buy the blue-cover edition with this, King Kong and Son of Kong for a little in excess of $10 more than this... or you may buy them separately quite reasonably.  

Gary W. Tooze

 





DVD Menus


 


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

 

Subtitle Sample

 

1) Warner Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Warner Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Warner Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Warner Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Warner Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Warner Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Warner Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Warner Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

    

    

  

** NOTE: The blue cover King Kong 3-Disc Special Edition DVD set contains King Kong / Son of Kong and Mighty Joe Young **

    

   

Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

 

   

Distribution

Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray


 

A longtime "dream" project of production designer-turned-director Eugene Lourie, The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms sees the titular beast unleashed on the world via nuclear testing. Making its way from the Arctic Circle, the monster-a carnivorous "rhedosaurus"-begins advancing towards New York. It stomps its way around Wall Street, pausing to have a policeman for lunch. By the time it has reached Coney Island, the rhedosaurus is more of a danger than ever because of the deadly bacteria it carries within its system. It's up to researcher Paul Christian and sharpshooter Lee Van Cleef to try to liquidate the beast with a grenade chock full of radioactive isotopes. Beast From 20,000 Fathoms represented effects artist Ray Harryhausen's first solo effort, after assisting Willis O'Brien on Mighty Joe Young (1949)

 

Posters

 

Box Cover

   

 

   

   

Distribution

Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Bitrate:

Runtime:

1:19:44.446 

Disc Size:

23,543,756,949 bytes

Feature Size:

21,313,026,048 bytes

Video Bitrate:

31.91 Mbps - 1.33:1

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1041 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1041 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
DUBs:

Dolby Digital Audio French 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB

 

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

 

 

 
 
 
 
 

 

Title (above)

1) Warner Home Video - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

(aka 'Them')

Directed by Gordon Douglas
USA 1954

 

By far the best of the '50s cycle of 'creature features', Them! and its story of a nest of giant radioactive ants (the result of an atomic test in the New Mexico desert) retains a good part of its power today. All the prime ingredients of the total mobilisation movie are here: massed darkened troops move through the eerie storm drains of Los Angeles, biblical prophecy is intermixed with gloomy speculation about the effect of radioactivity. Almost semi-documentary in approach, the formula is handled with more subtlety than usual, and the special effects are frequently superb.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: June 17th, 1954

Reviews                                                                        More Reviews                                                           DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Warner - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC vs. Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray

1) Warner Home Video - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC LEFT

2) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Covers

Also offered, very reasonably with - The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms / Them! (Double Feature) (1953) at Amazon HERE (Thanks Hans!)

   

Distribution Warner Home Video - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

 

   

Distribution

Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Runtime 1:32:21  1:32:32.505 
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.31 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

1.78:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 22,598,919,488 bytes

Feature: 21,719,826,432 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.93 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 1.0)  DTS-HD Master Audio English 1041 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1041 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 /
48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 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, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, None English, French, Spanish, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Who's Who (listing of characters)
• 'Bugged' at the Movies - text pages discussing creature features
• Outtakes (3:01)
• 'Sneak Peek' trailer (3:15)

DVD Release Date: August 6th, 2002

Keep Case
Chapters: 30

Release Information:
Studio: Warner
 

1.78:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 22,598,919,488 bytes

Feature: 21,719,826,432 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.93 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Featurette:
• Ants - Behind-the-scenes archive footage montage on the design and operation of Giant Ants
• Theatrical Trailer

Blu-ray Release Date:
October 27th, 2015
Standard
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 30

 

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: Comments on the Blu-ray are at the top of the review (under the package photo.)

ON THE DVD: The Warner image is surprisingly very strong - compounded by the fact that it is only single-layered! I don't see excessive manipulation and the picture quality is very clean. Contrast and detail are well above average. No complaints at all with the visual aspect of the DVD. NOTE: The title (lone) is in color - bright red and blue - and the film was intended for both a color release and in 3-D - but neither came to fruition.

Warner have coded this for regions 1 thru 4 with subtitle options in Spanish, French, Portuguese, Japanese or English. The audio is a clean original mono track. Snapper-cased package is now available as a Keep Case and, although a little hard to navigate, I LOVE the tabloid menu screens (see below).

Extras are more-or-less sparse with some text screens, short outtakes and a fairly long trailer.

THEM! is one of the most recognizable 'creature features' from the 50's. Certainly quintessential in this, more innocent, vintage sci-fi genre which continues to be a favorite of mine.

On a late Friday night, crackle-up a big tub of popcorn with plenty of butter and double feature pair THEM! with any of a host of seminal cold-war-drive-in specials available on DVD (or Blu-ray for some) - like 20 Million Miles to Earth, Tarantula, The Deadly Mantis, This Island Earth, Earth vs. The Flying Saucers or The Incredible Shrinking Man to name a few. Personally speaking that is what I believe a home theatre is all about. NOTE: I continue to reserve rainy Sunday afternoons for Harryhausen gems like Jason and the Argonauts, The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad or Mysterious Island (when is this one coming to Blu-ray?)

THEM! on DVD is whole-heartedly recommended for helping keep alive the essence of cinema at one of its most nostalgically innocent eras - also captured with pinpoint precision by Joe Dante's Matinee from 1993. 

Gary W. Tooze

 


DVD Menus


 


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

 

Subtitle Sample

 

1) Warner Home Video - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Warner Home Video - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Warner Home Video - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Warner Home Video - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Warner Home Video - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Warner Home Video - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Warner Home Video - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Warner Home Video - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


Box Covers

Also offered, very reasonably with - The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms / Them! (Double Feature) (1953) at Amazon HERE (Thanks Hans!)

   

Distribution Warner Home Video - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

 

   



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