1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Greek Epic Myth On DVD: Fantasy Of High Calibre
1981: Ray Harryhousen made the special effects, monsters and clay "creations" for this Greek epic myth about the heroic deeds of Perseus. Harryhousen had previously made the magic possible for such films as "Jason and the argonauts", another film revolving a Greek myth, and the sci-fi classic "Earth vs. the flying saucers." Harry Hamlin, tv...
Published on Feb 6 2003 by Rachel Garret
2.0 out of 5 stars Great film, lousy DVD
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...
Published on May 15 2003 by josh bellin
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Greek Epic Myth On DVD: Fantasy Of High Calibre,
British actress Dame Maggie Smith (from Sister Act films and Hook) and the esteemed British actor Laurence Olivier play the roles of the goddess Thetis and Zeus, who are involved in a bitter feud. Zeus protects Perseus, as he is his son by a mortal woman, but Thetis is upset that Zeus shows no mercy to the deformed Calabos, her son, who was once a handsome prince. Calabos has the princess Andromeda (Claire Bloom) under a dark spell. She will be married to the man who solves the nightly riddles she is given. Perseus solves the riddle and becomes engaged to Andromeda. But when the queen Cassiopeia elevates her daughter's beauty above that of their patron goddess Thetis, Thetis becomes so enraged she puts Andromeda in a tight spot. She will be the sacrificial victim for the hunger of the sea monster, the Kraken. Perseus journeys to the Underworld, defeates the snake-haired Medusa and with his friends, the old wise man, the winged white horse Pegasus and a robotic owl (who chirps and buzzes almost like R2D2 in Star Wars). He frees Andromeda, who as the classical myth dictates, was chaind to a rock by the sea, and the ending is a very happy one.
Thanks to the fine acting by Harry Hamlin, whose heroism comes through as shining as Perseus (not to mention his good looks), Andromeda (Claire Bloom), Maggie Smith as the vindictive goddess and Zeus (Laurence Olivier) as an eloquent, authoritarian king of the gods. The London Symphony Orchestra fills the soundtrack with lofty themes, romantic melody and dramatic highlights. One of these highlights is the moment when Perseus tames Pegasus. This film was a classic in the 80's and is still great to watch, especially with the magic of DVD. A must have for fantasy fans, a great addition to fantasy films. Look for "Jason and the Argonauts" with Harryhausen effects, equally a match to this film, although dating from an earlier time, the 60's.
2.0 out of 5 stars Great film, lousy DVD,
5.0 out of 5 stars One Last Shinning Moment,
This review is from: Clash of the Titans (VHS Tape)When CLASH OF THE TITANS was first released theatrically it was an across-the-board success. It just wasn't popular with followers of the genre but with the general public. It contained elements of the fantastic, Greek Mythology and most importantly it contained a story of young love told with genuine prose and passion. This is Ray Harryhausen's last full-length feature to date. It does not contain the awe-inspiring creatures or the sweep of JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS. It does not contain the eerie landscapes and esoteric feeling of isolation of MYSTERIOUS ISLAND. What CLASH OF THE TITANS has is the romanticism of its catalytic love story and also the romanticism for an era of filmmaking coming to an end. Harry Hamlin's performance, as Perseus is one of nobility and character, not cynicism. Laurence Olivier as Zeus shows us a god with a conscience manipulating events for the manifestation of mortal man's better qualities. Harryhausen's Pegasus shows us that man has the ability to control the creatures of the fantastic, tame them and use them for what is good in the universe. Laurence Rosenthal's heavenly score floats like an ethereal mist with its gossamer tonalities in somewhat a homage to Ray Harryhausen, the late composer Bernard Herrmann but ultimately to the romantic images and the eternal story of man's devotion to love found in CLASH OF THE TITANS.
4.0 out of 5 stars Campy Little Masterpiece,
True, modern computer graphics are more sophisticated in their animation and compositing alongside real footage, but they lack the texture and feel of the older stop-motion animation models. Today the look of this film is somewhat "camp", but that is a positive feature, not a negative one. Somehow the old-fashioned techniques work when used in a mythological setting of a civilization that is so ancient. And they hold-up better than some critics would admit.
It's a shame that the real climax of this film (and the best part of the story) is the confrontation with Medusa, which happens about three-quarters of the way through the movie. The end battle with the Kraken pales in comparison to Perseus's killing of the serpent headed Medusa. With her serpent headed bows and the hissing rattle of her tail; the eery score, and the tenseness of the situation - this is a wonderfully filmed segment!
True, this may not be an acedemic interpretation of Greek mythology per/se, but it is highly entertaining, and never claims to be anything more. My hunch is that if we were to take Homer out of the stuffy classroom and go back in time and witness a telling of the Illiad in Ancient Greece, we would note that it is told in the same fun-loving spirit as we see in The Clash of the Titans, with the audience clinging to their seats, longing to hear more.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent,
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 21 Years; 6 months,
The performances, once treasured, now seem terribly inept even by the immortal Laurence Olivier (who I suppose has an excuse given that he was terribly ill at the time of filming) and the usually wonderful Maggie Smith. Never being a fan of Hamlin, I will not belabour to address the shortcomings of his performance and instead relegate him to the patheon of strong-silent-type of action heroes, where he belongs. The lovely Judi Bowker, strangely absent from cinema after 1988, plays the innocent, distressed princess as well as can be expected (in stark contrast to said innocence was the bath scene which was something of a shock for one used to seeing it on network television.) The only truly memorable performance was given by Burgess Meredith, who it seems can deliver his "cantankerous old man" character in any time period.
Perhaps my greatest exception with the DVD was the lack of interesting special features. A brief interview with Ray Harryhausen about the film most definitely does not constitute a special feature in my estimation. I would have loved to have seen some deleted scenes (if there was enough archive footage for deleted scenes for Casablanca, I know there was for Clash of the Titans), an extensive featurette about the evolution of the film, and most especially a cast commentary. The last would have been difficult I'm sure, but it still would have been nice.
Despite all of this, there is some redeeming value in that it is an marginally entertaining and occasionally laughable outing into Greek mythology. If you're looking to get all of Harryhausen's work in your archive, buy the DVD. If you're looking to re-connect visually to your original experience of the movie, you'd better pass this up. Maybe a 25th anniversary edition with fix these problems, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Value,
This review is from: Clash of the Titans (Blu-ray Book) [Import] (Blu-ray)I was expecting the "Blue-Ray" version to actually have enhanced the original film, but was slightly dissappointed when the actual "Blue-Ray" feature is more apparent in the extra features rather than the film itself. Still, for the price, it was a good deal and great ot have as a collectors piece.
4.0 out of 5 stars Harryhuasen goes out with a bang! 3 1/2 -4 stars.,
This review is from: Clash of the Titans (1981) / Le choc des Titans (Bilingual) (DVD)Clash of the Titans(released June/81)is the 2010 re-release of the movie,the last one being in 2002.This film features the last collaboration of the Charles-Schneer-Harryhausen team and would be Harryhausen's swan song in films.The film was a bit on the long side and slow in its execution but Harryhausen's special effects,as always,shone through.
The story begins as the young mother of Perseus(impregnated by Zeus himself)and her baby Perseus are set adrift in a coffin to die.For punishment for this sacrilege Zeus(Lawrence Olivier) orders the city destroyed by a huge sea monster,the Kraken.While Perseus grows up into a strong lad there is princess Andromeda(Judi Bowker)in a far off city that is having trouble getting hitched.She was set to marry Calibos,the son of the goddess Thetis(Maggie Smith).But Calibos committed many horrible acts and Zeus ordered him turned into a hideous monster and banished to a swamp outside the city Jappa.Calibos pines for Andromeda and the only way he can see her is to send nightly,a giant vulture with a cage to capture her spirit while she sleeps and bring it to him to gaze upon.
Meanwhile Perseus(Harry Hamlin)comes to Jappa and solves a riddle that all potential suitors must solve to win her hand.But Thetis won't let this slight to her son go by lightly and she orders Andromeda to be sacrificed to the Kraken.The only way the Kraken can be defeated is with the head of Medussa.Perseus with the aid of friend Ammon(Burgess Meredith)set out to obtain said head and run into many of an adventure along the way with the likes of Pegasus the winged horse,The Stygian Witches,a two headed dog and giant scorpions.Zeus aids Perseus in every way he can without trying to seem prejudice to the other gods,such as a gift of armour,weapons and a mechanical owl called Bubo to guide him in his quest.
Perseus gets across the river Styx and claims Medussa's head.He returns to Jappa just as Andromeda's sacrifice is underway.It's nip and tuck but Perseus finally is able to over power the Kraken and release his beloved,who live happily ever after.
This film was supposed to have a sequel originally but with the new computer enhanced special effects becoming more the norm the studios thought Harryhausen's methods a tad old fashioned and too expensive.That is a shame because we lost out on a great,great creative talent who still had many more years to give to the industry and the fans.However time has rightly heaped great rewards on Harryhausen and he has discovered that many of the newer and up and coming directors and producers of years gone by have cited him as being their inspiration;Lucas and Spielberg as the most obvious.Clash of the Titans is really a misnomer.It doesn't sound as good but it should have been called something more like "The Arguments of the Titans".The "clashing" is really just the gods arguing and bickering amongst each other as they manipulate the goings on of mortals down on earth.And what about that Kraken?To all you Harryhausen fans,doesn't he look an awfully like the alien monster in 20 Million Miles to Earth? This one swims while the other walked.And what about the newer version of the Titans? Forget it,this one is still the best.
While there is no where on this keepscase that says this is a remastered version I can only compare the 2002 version to this and immediately I see a difference in quality;much,much clearer and crisp.And this just makes sense as it is competing with the newer version.The extras include the trailer,a gallery of the monsters in the film and a nice little interview with Harryhausen himself.It's in its original widescreen a/r.
All in all while the plot doesn't move as well as it might this film is Harryhausen's swan song and he goes all out inventing a plethora of mythical creatures for our delight.The Kraken is quite ominous but the fight with Medussa is a classic moment and wins as the best creature here,for my money.Bubo wins the cutesy award in this film.The film is loaded with high priced talent which makes up for the leading man's lack of it;Hamlin was just a pretty face and nothing much more.But it is recommended fare and the new print makes it that more enjoyable to watch.
4.0 out of 5 stars Harryhausen's Swan Song,
Of course, the movie going public LOVED this film, making it a big hit, leading to a 1982 rerelease. I saw this movie in a theater at a 10pm show filled with adults, and the audience cheered, laughed and applauded during the credits. To this day, this remains a popular film.
Yet it also remains one people like to poke fun at. Arnold's LAST ACTION HERO has a scene where a teacher shows her class HAMLET, sarcasticly noting that Lawrence Olivier was in this movie before his "epic" CLASH OF THE TITANS. Joke if you must, but the animation scenes in this film rival any in stop motion history. Ray Bradbury picks the Medusa scene as Harryhausen's best.
Based on Greek mythology, the script is actually a love story: a hero tries to save his true love from adversity (in this case titanic monsters). The animation is integrated well into the story, and not just a showplace for Harryhausen's talent.
The film still holds up today, even the effects. When computer animation is done on the cheap, as in many of today's lower budgeted films, it looks cartoony. Stop motion employs a solid object, and is truly amazing if done right.
Small children might find some of the monsters frightening, but all other fantasy fans will have a great time.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Mythology Lover's Dream: An Epic Film,
By A Customer
Harry Hamlin stars as Perseus, the son of Zeus by the married queen Danae. Zeus, furious that Danae and his son were punished by being cast into the sea in a coffin on order of the king of Argos, unleashes the Kraken to destroy the city. This scene is very impressive, particularily the flooding of the city and the fall of a large statue of the king. Laurence Olivier's Zeus is the best on record. He was quite older by this time but delivers a truly imperious, tyrannical and vainglorious king of the gods. Opposing him is Maggie Smith's Thetis, goddess of the sea who resented that her own son, Calabos, was cursed by being made into a gargoyle-like demon. Soon enough, Zeus sends Perseus on a quest to save Andromeda. The magic moments in this film, enhanced by a fine score and the art of Harryhausen, include: the destruction of Argos, the meeting of the gods, the taming of Pegasus the flying horse, the defeat of Medusa, the encounter with the Stygian Witches and the descent into the Underworld conducted by Death himself and the final defeat of the Kraken. The score is composed by Laurence Rosenthal. This is a must have for fans of fantasy and mythology. Surely, Joseph Campbell would have loved this type of film. It's the most modern (at least for its time) rendition of myth- surpassin even the 50's and 60's Greek myth films. The cast is superb, particularily because it has Laurence Olivier as a strong backbone as well as other British actors- Claire Bloom, Maggie Smith and a very old Flora Robson as one of the Stygian witches. Flora Robson had performed Queen Elizabeth in "The Sea Hawk" opposite Errol Flynn and was a renowned British actress. The epic tale is brought to life through vivid color and special effects which is the real strength of this film as well as characters who must behave "like gods".
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