2.0 out of 5 stars
Great film, lousy DVD, May 15 2003
I love "Clash of the Titans," but I'm terribly disappointed by the quality of this DVD. The "all-new digital transfer" that the manufacturer promises is quite possibly the worst transfer I've ever seen, enhancing the film's visual flaws while disguising its merits. In composite shots, live-action elements are so washed-out as to appear almost black-and-white at times, while stop-motion elements are garishly bright and crisp, looking more like cartoons than dimensional objects. This is particularly pronounced in shots of the flying Pegasus; the digital transfer so exaggerates the matte lines around the figure that it appears to be a paper cut-out plastered against the sky. Even the glorious Medusa segment suffers from these defects: what was, in the original (and on VHS), an atmospheric balance of rich darks and flickering red lights, becomes a clash of nearly impenetrable spots of shadow against grainy, pale-brown relief. I'm no authority on digital transfers, but my guess is that this one was done as quickly and cheaply as possible, the manufacturer's reasoning being (probably) that fans of Harryhausen will be so thrilled to have his films on DVD that they could care less what the films look like. Well, I was thrilled to have "Clash of the Titans" on DVD--but when the abysmal quality of the transfer interferes with the very effects that make the film great, my enthusiasm wanes considerably. I'd advise fans of Harryhausen to buy the video version, and to write angry letters to the manufacturer protesting their callous desecration of one of the master's greatest films.