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November 20, 2010

Clash of the Titans (Three Disc: Blu-ray 3D / Blu-ray / DVD / Digital Copy)


Clash of the Titans (Three Disc: Blu-ray 3D / Blu-ray / DVD / Digital Copy)

Product By Warner Home Video
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“Release the Kraken!” Ah, it could only be Clash of the Titans, the 2010 remake that retains the instruction to unleash the great beastie from the sea. The 1981 original boasted Ray Harryhausen’s legendary stop-motion technique of animating various mythological creatures–it was his final feature project–and given the cornball approach of the movie in general, that was the main draw. The remake supplies new state-of-the-art special effects (released in 3-D) and a nicely muscular sense of momentum. Sam Worthington (the Avatar guy) plays Perseus, a demigod who doesn’t know that Zeus (Liam Neeson) is his father. Perseus is selected to lead an expedition to find and slay the Medusa, lest Zeus’s evil brother Hades (Ralph Fiennes, in fine slinking mode) rain down misery upon a seaport–and you just know that means the Kraken is coming. Ye gods, it’s a mess, and we haven’t even mentioned the witches and the harpies and the giant scorpions. But if we did, it would be clear that Clash of the Titans is a perfectly dandy popcorn epic, unpretentious and punchy. Director Louis Leterrier (Transporter 2) gets a fine rhythm going during Perseus’s trek, and you can even forgive the hokey shafts-of-light-through-clouds look of Olympus. Leterrier also had the good sense to import the marvelous Danish star Mads Mikkelsen to provide mentoring duties to Perseus; Gemma Arterton and Alexa Davalos fulfill the eye-candy roles. It’s up to individual viewers to choose which they prefer–Harryhausen’s magically hand-wrought creations (his Medusa sequence is an absolute killer) or the 21st century’s slick computer-generated variations. But nostalgia aside, it would be hard to deny that this is one case where the remake tops the original. –Robert Horton

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All Reviews

Great Special Effects, Short On Story — “Never mind that Clash of the Titans play fast and loose with the mythological story of Perseus. Never mind that Medusa wasn’t a Titan. Never mind that the Kraken is from Scandinavian mythology, and that casting Lawrence Olivier as Zeus in the 1981 version was sort of typecasting.
The new Clash of the Titans is a darker, grittier more realistic Bronze age world than the 1981 version, but the story hasn`t changed all that much. The citizens of Argos have become disenchanted with the rule of the Gods. The Gods have caused too much chaos and ruin to their lives so they’ve decided to take their destinies into their own hands, and destroy the temples and statues of the Gods. In doing so, Perseus'(Sam Worthington) family is killed by a falling statue of Zeus. When Zeus (Liam Neeson) learns of the desecration urged on by Hades (Ralph Fiennes), he decides to destroy the city in four days or they can offer the sacrifice of the King of Argos’ daughter Andromeda (Alexa Davalos). In a visit to the throne room of Argos, Hades lets it slip that Perseus is a son of Zeus, a demi-god. Being told of his near divinity, Perseus and a group of soldiers go off on their quest to save the city.

The special effects are great! The monsters look real and the characters realistically interact with them. In 3D the water roiling off the undulating tentacles of the Kraken must look really cool! The problem is they shortchanged the story in favor of the special effects. The story only follows the barest of outlines of the myth. Same with the 1981 version, although it’s a little more faithful to the myth. The most glaring lapse is there really isn’t any reason for Perseus to save Argos. In the myth his reason to save the city is for the love of Andromeda. In this version he’s a stranger to Argos and doesn’t fall in love with Andromeda. She’s barely a consideration until she’s needed to be sacrificed to the Kraken. The only reason he seems to take up the quest is because he’s the nearest handy demi-god that can help out. Worthington’s Perseus doesn’t seem very heroic, there doesn’t seem to be any emotional investment in Perseus in either the quest or the surrounding characters. Most of the time he has a stoically sullen, put upon attitude, and this keeps the audience at arms length from the character. He doesn`t seem to embrace the heroic at all. Yes, he kills the monsters, but the tasks he must accomplish like tricking the Stygian witches and figuring out how to survive the encounter with Medusa, he seems to accomplish almost by accident. It seems that Perseus isn’t meant to be heroic. he repeatedly says he wants “to do this (the quest) as man, not a God,” and he keeps refusing the gifts of the Gods. The message in the myth is for mortals to find the divine, to find the god, the hero within themselves, Perseus’ refusal of the gifts of the Gods, is the refusal to find the hero within himself.

The 1981 version, although a bit campy in it’s delivery tells the hero’s story better. The 2010 version delivers better on the special effects. If such a thing were possible as to merge the strengths of both, you would have a better movie.

DVD Bonus Features: The only bonus features offered with the DVD are deleted scenes.

Good mindless fun, excellent blu-ray transfer — “3.8 stars
Yes, this one is all about the CGI, and that’s what I liked about it. There was little pretense of creating a dramatic masterpiece, and much focus on action and thrills, both of which were delivered well, aided by an excellent score. The film starts somewhat slowly but soon ramps up and moves along nicely, and as a simple piece of entertainment I enjoyed it.

COTT doesn’t hew very closely to the real Greek myths, but so what. Neither did the original, and I found this version much less hokey and much more enjoyable. Fiennes and Neeson add some dramatic weight to the proceedings (if not overly much), and Worthington contributes his two sides: dogged determination beset by underlying fear and uncertainty, and the curious puppy on the way to doggedness. Which is perfect, as we wouldn’t want too much real acting to remind us how ridiculous this whole exercise is.

The effects are exemplary, which is the key to all the fun, and the sound effects and Djawadi’s crackling score complete the visceral thrills. There are some fine action scenes, especially in Medusa’s cave and the final Kraken battle, and the almost flawless blu-ray transfer does them justice. This was just plain fun to watch on a good set-up; crank the volume on your surround sound and prepare to be floored by good old goofy b-movie intensity. With an a-movie budget.

I didn’t expect much coming in and got more than I’d hoped for, and I might even watch this again some day.

Release the BLU-RAY Kraken! — “Behind all the arguments about this 2010 remake of Desmond Davis’s much loved 80’s classic there’s actually a blu-ray release, and it’s actually incredibly good. Remakes always incite a huge amount of debate, and I have to admit when I first heard that they were doing this I was mortified, especially as the original was such a huge part of my childhood. The idea of Harryhousen’s stop motion being re-done with computer generated wizardry sounded like sacrilege.. But despite a few minor gripes, I thought the film was extremely good, spectacular effects, brilliantly rendered creatures and a great story adhering to the framework of the original, but providing an all new imagining with new themes and characters.
The use of post production 3D caused a bit of a fuss with the cinema release, but luckily this doesn’t play a part in the home format releases which are just the 2D version (as filmed) and will allow people to just concentrate on the quality of the film itself.

Warner releases are generally pretty good, and luckily Clash of the Titans is no exception to the rule. The 1080p VC-1 transfer looks suitably spectacular; skin tones are life like, forests are rich and alive, and the prevalent earthy hues of the desert are superbly replicated in the Blu-Ray PQ. Although little of the film has a requirement for extreme black levels, they are certainly solid enough, providing effective shadow where its naturally called for by the cinematography. There’s some minor use of DNR, but nothing overtly distracting. This seems mostly prevalent in Argos, where the gods look a little smeary looking, however in that heavenly setting, combined with the shimmering vibrancy of the etherial lighting, it actually doesn’t look out of place at all. Mostly however, the picture quality is incredibly sharp and brilliantly defined, providing superb detail. The great thing about Clash of the Titans too, is that this level of detail is extended to the entire film content, and you don’t ever encounter sections where the CG looks considerably better than the standard film which can lead to a really distracting abstraction of the creaturs from the actors. It’s all seemlessly blended, and superb looking.

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master track is near reference quality. Thunderously weighty, yet immensely detailed crisp and electrifying. It makes superb use of the entire soundfield, with a particularly impressive use of the rear speakers that creates an impressive level of detail not only thourgh the action sequences, but generally through the film. From general ambeience and clear dialogue, to crashing waves, crumbling city walls and the roar of the Kraken itself, the track is pretty faultless in its delivery.

Extras are pretty decent, there’s a picture in picture “maximum movie mode”, which I must be honest I’m not a great fan of, however this does provide a pretty insightful and extensive behind the scenes look at the movie with director Louis Leterrier and cast and crew. There’s also a half hour “focus points” documentary, a short 8 min segement on Sam Worthington, and best of all a huge wodge of deleted scenes, including an entirely different ending which is well worth a watch.

All in all, this is a superb, great quality Blu-Ray release. It’s not going to change your mind if you weren’t a fan of this re-imagining, but if you ar a fan, you’ll definitely love the justice served to the film for BR home release and it’s well worth your money.

CREDIT by iBluray

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