Clash of the Titans

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Clash of the Titans may or may not be remembered for many things. I’m sure I’m not alone when I make the comparison to Jason and the Argonauts, as it’s the only other thing I can think of that resembles it. I’ll also go out on a limb and say that modern-day Hollywood will want to remake this "classic" movie. While this (the original) isn’t that great, it’s never stopped Tinseltown before. Granted the film is now more than twenty years old and the advances in digital effects and sound have grown by leaps and bounds. And if this film could benefit from a few things, it’s special effects and better sound. But still, this does have a sort of "camp" value to it and now that Burgess Meredith and Laurence Oliver are gone; why remake it?

But I digress…and I suppose the plot of the film might be somewhat important to some people (others will buy this DVD no matter what I say). As the film opens, we find a gathering of people sending a beautiful woman and her child, Perseus (who will eventually be played by Harry Hamlin) off in a coffin to float the sea and be left for dead. This, however, doesn’t sit well with Zeus (Laurence Oliver) and as his son is one of the occupants of the coffin, he decides to destroy the men responsible and all who occupy the city (note to self…never piss off Zeus). Perseus grows up and at the will of a goddess, is cast into another part of the world and is to fight the last Titan (which Zeus also released…he was really angered). With a little help from Ammon (Burgess Meredith) and some pretty nifty trinkets courtesy of Zeus (a helmet that makes Persues invisible, a sword that cuts through marble and a really nifty shield) he’s off to fight and save the world.

And in a nutshell, that’s it. Of course, getting there is half the fun and it is a rather remarkable experience to see all of the really bad (but considered "good" then) special effects at work here. What particularly grabbed my attention was the bird at the opening scene, it was obviously on a blue screen and was half exposed during the opening credits. Maybe I’ve become so spoiled by CGI these days that it was that noticeable. Then again, maybe they just didn’t care about the bird and wanted to give all of their attention to Medusa and the other creatures that awaited our fair hero. While Clash of the Titans might not be remembered as anyone’s best movie, it does support a pretty good cast with Ursula Andress (think Bond…James Bond), Maggie Smith (think Gosford Park), Laurence Oliver (think Wuthering Heights) and Burgess Meredith ("He’ll knock ya into tomorrow, Rock"!) it could have been a lot worse. But for all it’s camp value, I’d rent it first.

Video: How does it look?

Shown in a very inconsistend 1.85:1 anamorphic ratio, the image is just that…inconsistent. Some scenes suffer from some serious artifacting and others look very clean and clear. A majority of the indoor shots have some constant black level problems and edge enhancement is a problem as well. Still, I’d have to say that this is the best that the film has looked in a home environment to date. That’s not saying much…then again, I doubt this is a title that Warner spent a whole lot of time on.

Audio: How does it sound?

The Dolby surround mix is nothing to really get excited about either. A few times during the movie I noticed that the surrounds kicked in (during the destruction of the city they were quite active), but for the most part it’s a really good mono track. As I mentioned before, the film could benefit from modern-day sound and visual effects, but it’s not like the film is unwatchable either. We’ve become spoiled by 5.1, DTS and God (Zeus rather) knows what other sounds they’ll come up with, so don’t expect much because you won’t get much.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Clash of the Titans does have a few extras of note, but nothing too substantial. The theatrical trailer is included (hence it already has a leg up on about 90% of Paramount’s titles) as are some cast and crew bios. A "conversation" with Ray Harryhausen who was in charge of the visual effects for the movie. It’s rather interesting as he candidly discusses his love for films, how he became involved in the industry and he even gives us a listing of some of his other work. Also included is an interactive map of some of the key "monsters" that our hero encounters throughout the movie. Click on them to be taken for a look at how they were made and what role they played in the film. It’s a nice little package but true fans of the movie are likely to be a little let down.

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