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Forget all about the 1981 Ray Harryhausen original when you sit down to watch this version of Clash of the Titans. In fact, director Louis Leterrier admits to not wanting to do a remake and only watching the original film through once before setting out to make this version of Clash of the Titans. Boy does it show.
This updated version may have the edge in cutting edge technology and special effects, but the quaint, lighthearted silliness that made the original stop-motion classic bearable to watch is all gone. This version of the Titans takes itself far too seriously, and becomes in the end, no more than a below average special effects spectacle that is run-of-the-mill. Nothing makes this film special. The producers tried to make it standout by doing a rush job conversion to 3D a few months before its theatrical release and, even though the 3D version did reasonably well in theatres, it was visually a disappointment, so it didn’t standout on that front either.
In this 2010 update, the humans are at war with the gods, and Sam Worthington plays the demigod Perseus, half-human son of Zeus, played rigidly by Liam Neeson. Perseus must help save the island of Argos from the wrath of the gods, namely Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and the beast from beneath the sea he is set to unleash upon them, the Kraken, unless they sacrifice their princess, Andromeda.
With the help of an ageless woman cursed with immortality who has been watching over him since birth, Io (Gemma Aterton), soldiers from Argos, the gift of a powerful sword from Zeus and the winged horse Pegasus, Perseus sets out on a journey to find a way to kill the Kraken, save Argos and the princess, and free mankind from the grip of the gods.
It is a story that could make for an epic film, and perhaps that is where the filmmakers went astray. They attempted to make something epic, but fell far short. Let’s face it, the original Clash of the Titans was hardly great filmmaking, but the Ray Harryhausen stop-motion visual effects gave it character and the light, almost silly story made it fun and even funny at times. This version of Clash of the Titans is lifeless, dark, and, in the end, adds nothing over the original other than updated special effects that we can see in every other fantasy movie these days.
The 2.40:1 VC-1 encoding of Clash of the Titans is a little disappointing. The picture looks soft and scrubbed clean of detail. Grain looks suppressed and skin textures are far too smooth. What little grain survives looks almost like the soft video noise of an HD camera, rather than 35mm film. Otherwise, Clash of the Titans has strong shadow details and natural flesh tones.
The English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix comes across better than the video encoding does. As one would expect from this action fantasy film, it is a fairly aggressive mix with the surround channels engaged most of the time. Low frequencies are rather extended and the subwoofer really comes alive during the film’s climactic sequence with the Kraken. They have done well to put together a sound stage that is engulfing, yet not fatiguing. At times certain sound effects sound a little thin and the mid-range could be a bit more punchy, but it is overall a strong mix.
Clash of the Titans comes packaged with a strong set of high definition supplements in addition to the standard definition DVD and digital copy making the release a solid proposition for those seeking extra value for their shopping dollars.
The supplements provided with this release are:
- WB Maximum Movie Mode (1080p/24) — This feature lets you follow the film in picture-in-picture mode as the film’s actors and director give you a look behind-the-scenes into the process of bringing Clash of the Titans to the big screen.
- Focus Points:
- Sam Worthington is Perseus (1080p/24; 0:03.43) — The filmmakers discuss their vision of Perseus and Sam Worthington’s portrayal of the character.
- Zeus: Father of Gods and Men (1080p/24; 0:02.18) — Liam Neeson and the Louis Leterrier discuss capturing “the father of the gods and men” in Clash of the Titans.
- Enter the World of Hades (1080p/24; 0:03.29) — Ralph Fiennes’ portrayal of Hades and his costume.
- Calibos: The Man Behind the Monster (1080p/24; 0:02.56) Jason Flemyng and the visual effects team discuss his portrayal of Calibos and the difficulties of the prosthetic makeup he had to wear.
- Tenerife: A Continent on an Island (1080p/24; 04.24) — Filming on location on the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands.
- Scorpioch (1080p/24; 0:04.06) — The special effects team discusses creating the giant scorpion-like creatures for the film.
- Actors and Their Stunts (1080p/24; 0:03.48) — A look at the actors doing some of their own stunts.
- Wales: A Beautiful Scarred Landscape (1080p/24; 0:02.31) — Filming on location in Wales.
- Bringing Medusa to Life (1080p/24; 0:03.47) — The actors and crew discuss the big battle scene against Medusa and the CG effects involved in visualizing the mythological creature.
- Prepare for the Kraken! (1080p/24; 0:03.55) — The design and special effects involved in creating the Kraken.
- Sam Worthington: An Action Hero for the Ages (1080p/24; 0:07.56) — Sam Worthington goes through the challenges of transforming from actor to action hero as he goes through rigorous training exercises, extreme fighting lessons, and stunt preparation.
- Alternate Ending (2.40:1; 1080p/24; 0:05.23)
- Deleted Scenes (2.40:1; 1080p/24; 0:18.10)
- DVD — Standard definition DVD of the film.
- Digital Copy — Download and playback on Mac/PC and iPod/Windows Media compatible devices.
The Definitive Word
Clash of the Titans arrives on Blu-ray minus its sub par 3D version, with a lackluster high definition transfer, but a solid lossless surround mix and a weighty amount of supplements. With that and the fact that the film itself is only mildly enjoyable adding nothing new over the original and being far less fun, I can only recommend this as a rental.
Additional Screen Captures