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DVD Shopping Bag: Clash of the Titans Blu-ray

Answer these Questions about this Classic

By Robert T. Trate     March 02, 2010


The original Clash of the Titans poster from 1981
© Warner Bros./Bob Trate

 

There is of course the obligatory first look atLouis Leterrier’s Clash of the Titans. It just starts playing without any prompting or selecting it as a special feature. I would have watched it anyway but as all the new CGI versions of the Kraken, Medusa and Pegasus flew by my anticipation for the original only grew. As it is with all the remakes the studios overhaul the original to coincide with the new release. I for one like this practice. First off I get a new and improved version on Blu-ray. Then to make sure I’ll go see the new one they include a coupon for $7.50 off my movie ticket. Yep, it is a win, win. Even if I despise the new movie I only paid $2.50 to see it. I’m probably not going to like it because that “first look” made my skin crawl.
 
All right enough with the new Clash of the Titans, on with the original. It has been a few years since I sat and watched it. It sounds strange admitting that because this was one of the first movies my parents ever taped off of TV for me. I knew every line and every commercial break. Years later when I finally got it on DVD I was amazed how many little moments were cut from the film. My Dad was apparently pretty slow on the pause and record button. I never lost any major plot points but each time I watch it now it is as if scenes have been added to the film.
 
Warner Brothers has cleaned up the film and improved the sound but there are still plenty of flaws to be seen. The opening titles have some dirt marks here and there but they aren’t really on the screen long enough to matter. Several matte paintings are now visible and yes you can see Bubo’s strings. Poseidon (Jack Gwillim) releasing the Kraken still looks terrible but then again when didn’t it? Despite Blu-ray’s technology highlighting the old Hollywood effects the film looks glorious. The sound effects cut through the air and Laurence Rosenthal’s score is as vibrant as any of John Williams’ from that time. Each and every one of Ray Harryhausen’s creatures breathe with life. Again I am reminded of that first look where those creatures appear as if they are watercolors. Harryhausen’s Kraken actually breathes as it stands there doing its best King Kong imitation.
 
This film was a rite of passage for any child of the eighties. A rite that should be passed down from one generation to the next as it captures the imagination. What isn’t to like? There are gods, monsters and a hero with magical weapons. Let’s not forget the nudity. Yeah you read that right, the nudity. Being six years old when I saw this film I thought nothing of it. Perseus’ (Harry Hamlin) mother’s (Vida Taylor) golden apples on full display, not forgetting her nude walk on the beach. Plus there is also that spectacular shot of Andromeda’s (Judi Bowker) side boob. Sorry to go all blue on you there but I find it amazing that this film is still rated PG. Perhaps it was all those years of watching it edited for TV but, wowzers.
 
I am starting to make a habit of this on Mania (see the Khan Quagmire) but me singing the praises of a beloved film are tired. You all love this film as much as I do. If you don’t I’m sure a 1000 words on how great it is and almost 30 years of being able to watch it aren’t going to sway you. It is more fun to bring to about some serious questions regarding the film. This helps me reset my enjoyment for the film. The first is how did Maggie Smith’s Thetis have a human child? Did she conceive him on Mount Olympus and then bring him to Earth? Perseus’ conception I’m okay with. Zeus (the perfectly cast Sir Laurence Olivier) impregnates Danae and then goes back to Mount Olympus. Did Thetis live as a human? What happened to Calibos’ (Neil McCarthy) father anyway? Here is another one. Why does the Kraken have a belly button? Obviously he is a reptile and reptiles are hatched. Sure it goes well with his six pack but that belly button seriously makes me wonder what Harryhausen was thinking. Now on to some serious questions. The gods can forge a sword that cuts through solid marble. Yet they can’t forge a shield that can withstand the blood of Medusa? It just melts right there on the Isle of the Dead. Lame. Now this blood can kill anything but if you get it on scorpions it causes them to grow to enormous sizes. That’s very interesting, isn’t it? Finally, Bubo is forged and constructed with mechanical parts. Do the good doctors of Joppa really think that a cloth cast and a crutch is going to help fix this golden mechanical owl?
 
Again, thank you Maniacs for indulging me.
 
Cinema legend Ray Harryhausen’s last work stands the test of time. When I was young The Clash of the Titans inspired me to learn more about the Greek and Roman gods. A subject I’m sure many public schools skip over today. It was one of my first cinematic addictions which I could never get enough of. Clash of the Titans on Blu-ray is an incredible treat for the eyes and ears but the special features are holdovers from the 2004 release. With so many members of the cast still alive it is shameful that Warner Brothers didn’t at least spring for a commentary. At the very least a commentary with Ray Harryhausen and his best bud Ray Bradbury would have been appropriate. Nevertheless before the new Clash of the Titans is released pay homage to the original by once more going on that quest with Perseus.
 
ACTION / ADVENTURE / KUNG FU/ THRILLERS / WESTERNS
 
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My Neighbor Totoro (Two-Disc Special Edition)
 
Phoenix 1-3 (3pc) ~ Tezuka
 
Ponyo (Two-Disc Special Edition + Plush Toy) ~ Noah Lindsey Cyrus, Frankie Jonas, Cate Blanchett, and Liam Neeson
 
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COMEDY AND LOVE Mania Style
 
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Gentlemen Broncos [Blu-ray] ~ Josh Pais, John Pleshette, Clive Revill, and Sam Rockwell
 
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Rifftrax Double Feature: The Best of Rifftrax Shorts, Vol. 1 / Night of the Living Dead ~ Michael J. Nelson, Bill Corbett, Kevin Murphy, and Duane Jones
 
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HORROR
 
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Poltergeist: The Legacy Season 2 (Amazon.com Exclusive) ~ Derek De Lint, Patrick Fitzgerald, Martin Cummins, and Robbi Chong
 
ReGOREgitated Sacrifice ~ Ameara La Vey
 
The Terror Factor ~ John Sylvia
 
SCIENCE FICTION / FANTASY
 
2012 ~ John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Danny Glover, and Woody Harrelson
 
2012 (Two-Disc Special Edition) [Blu-ray]
 
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TV LAND
 
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Have Gun Will Travel: Season Four, Vol. 1 ~ Richard Boone
 
Matlock: The Complete Fourth Season ~ Andy Griffith, Linda Purl, Kene Holliday, and Nancy Stafford
 
The 39 Steps (2008) ~ Rupert Penry-Jones, Lydia Leonard, David Haig, and Patrick Malahide
 
BOX SETS
 
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Robert Trate writes two weekly columns for Mania the DVD Shopping Bag and the Toy Maniac. Robert also participates in a pod cast that reviews movies, comics and celebrates all things geek. Check it out at You’ve Got Geek on You.com.
 

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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1 
jppintar326 3/2/2010 4:47:30 AM

I loved watching Clash of the Titans on HBO.  They would show it over and over again so I could see so many times.  This was back when HBO had very few original programming.  I think Fraggle Rock and Not Necessarily the News were the only ones I remember.  This was before I had a VCR so I couldn't tape a show and watch it later.  They would show movies like Superman II,  Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Trek II, Star Wars, Airplane, etc and I would watch them again and again.  I still love those movies today.  Though I now have those films on DVD and Blu-ray and can watch them anytime I want to, I still get nostalgic for watching them on cable those years ago

peak37pt 3/2/2010 9:07:11 AM

 It may just be my outlook, but I think this film withstands the test of time. It's still exciting to watch today, and the special effects are still incredible. The choreography, atmosphere and overall tension surrounding the Medusa fight is still awesome. 

peak37pt 3/2/2010 9:08:29 AM

 Oh, and jppintar326, I know exactly what you mean. This may seem strange, but there are certain movies I WILL NOT buy, just because it's always exciting and refreshing to catch them on Sunday afternoons randomly on television!

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