After recently suffering through the original 1981 Clash of the Titans on Blu-ray (see review here), my apprehension towards this 2010 remake was quickly relinquished after only the first ten minutes into my theatrical press screening. I was pleasantly surprised, instantly enchanted and obsessively engrossed within the mythical fantasy world brought to life using the latest and greatest in CGI technology as opposed to that 1981 film I could now produce using miniatures in my garage. All right. Let’s be fair. The 1981 rendition was good in 1981. But c’mon… It’s 2010! Let’s get with the times people. A remake of this classic fantasy adventure film was definitely ripe for the picking. I have been looking forward to this remake for a couple of years now, and thankfully, the wait was well worth it. But now the time has come for its eventual release on the Blu-ray format and thankfully Warner Bros. was kind enough to equip us with a review copy. So let’s skip the introductions, talk about the film a little more and see how this one fairs on Blu-ray. Ready to clash with the Titans? In my head, a million people go “ooh… ah… ooh… ah.” Alright, that’s the spirit!
So let’s start with the good. Since this is a remake I think everyone reading this is probably familiar with the plot so we can dispense with the formalities and get on to the good parts. As mentioned before, any qualms with the primitive special effects invoked in the 1981 film are completely addressed and crushed here. I did have one minor problem, but I will bring that up in a few paragraphs. Instead, let’s focus on all the positives first. The special effects were simply stellar. Medusa (although I’m in the minority here probably) and the Kraken were both kick-a$$! They even managed to make the Pegassus flying horse look natural and believable. And best of all…they made it a black horse! The storyline was tweaked ever so slightly, but in very good ways. There were some subtle references and inside jokes that fans of the original film will definitely get a kick out of. One that instantly comes to mind involves a so-called robotic owl. Remember him?
The Louis Leterrier directed film stars boy wonder Sam Worthington (he came out of nowhere to star in not one, but three big movies in the past year), Liam Neeson (Zeus), Ralph Fiennes (Hades), Alexa Davalos (Andromeda), Izabella Miko (Athena), Danny Huston (Poseidon) and many more. But what I would like to do is talk real briefly about a woman who caught my eye and never let go throughout the entire runtime of the feature film. If you read my columns, then you have probably grown sick of me putting her up on a pedestal these past several months. I am talking about the very beautiful Gemma Arteron who plays the role of Io. Wow! My wife will probably kill me for saying this if she is reading this, but again wow! She is breathtaking. When we saw this in the theater and the film ended both my friend Scott and I looked at each other. It was like our minds were synchronously one and we both wanted to instantly comment on her beauty. I instantly turned my Droid on to figure out whom she was. I knew I had seen her before. Sure enough, I was right! The UK actress was a redhead in the most recent James Bond flick, Quantum of Solace. Remember the woman who was killed on the bed and covered in oil? Yep, that’s her. Since this role, she has garnered quite the amount of interest in Hollywood. Besides Disney’s Prince of Persia, look for her in a few more upcoming roles this summer.
Now that I spent the last paragraph drooling over Gemma it’s time to nitpick the things I did not like about the film. Let’s see. The list is actually really short. I only have one thing to complain about on this Blu-ray release and rest assured, it’s not the disc’s fault. Let’s first begin with the one thing that bothered me the most. That would be the Saturday Night Live hairline wig worn by Ralph Fiennes’s character Hades, only accented even more on the Blu-ray format. How is it possible? They spent all this money on these CGI effects making this film look ultra fantastic and uber cool in every which way, but they overlook a little detail like this. I used the SNL lingo before to illustrate how bad the hairline of the wig looked. Do you ever watch NBC’s SNL now in HD and see how bad the sloppy fast makeup jobs are? The same thing apparently happened here with Hades. Luckily for me, the movie was killer, in my opinion of course. As much as it bothered me, I still left the theater victorious knowing that I had seen a movie that I will be overjoyed to own and review upon its eventual Blu-ray release.
So there you have it folks. You read what I had to say about the things I liked and the only OCD nitpick I had. Over all, in much the same vein as the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Clash of the Titans (redux) was a triumphant return to the silver screen and an epic feast that every child and parent from the 80’s needs to re-experience again. Why don’t you do yourself a favor? Give the original film a real quick viewing on Blu-ray or alright, DVD, and when you can’t stand it any longer, shut it off and check out this remake and see firsthand just how much better everything not only looks, but also feels. There’s actually a moving story to be found here. Now don’t get me wrong, critically speaking, I know this movie has been trashed by just about everybody, but nevertheless I had a good time with this film in the theater and an even better time with subsequent viewings of it on Blu-ray and the provided Digital Copy while flying to Los Angeles, where coincidentally, I am writing this review on the plane. It’s not a brilliant film like Nolan’s Inception, but instead it’s a popcorn adventure film the whole family can have fun with. Now let’s examine how titanic the A/V specs are on Blu-ray.
Clash of the Titans arrives on the Blu-ray format with a 1080p VC-1 video codec and is framed in a very wide 2.40:1 aspect ratio. Thankfully Warner spared us any horrible 3-D transfer of the film, but despite the film’s pop on the Blu-ray format, it does have some shortcomings. Let’s focus on those first. The film has a very warm color palette, and while that is great for skin tones (particularly Gemma’s), it can give off a very bleak appearance. Thankfully, that’s not the case throughout the whole feature. There’s also some DNR at play here. It’s kind of like the debate between the original Predator Blu-ray and the new Ultimate Hunter Edition. Pick your poison here. Also as a result, the black levels are not always deep like we have grown accustomed to on the Blu-ray format and thus this leaves the contrast flat at times. But there’s still plenty of pizzazz and life in this Blu-ray transfer like sharp detailed textures and gorgeous landscapes. I could not find any blemishes or other anomalies here. So I guess a score of 4 is fair here. Although it’s still a great high definition experience, I believe it could be better. Either way, it’s not a deal breaker for me.
I’m going to have to go with a score of 5 here. Heck, even the Digital Copy sounded great. I kept finding my finger fumbling for the volume down key on my MacBook Pro while on the plane. C’mon, how many times does that actually happen on a plane ride where you have to turn the volume down. Unheard of! Before I get carried away, I would like to point out that Warner has delivered on a mammoth earth shattering DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack here. Clanging swords, debris flying and building structures fall all around you as your rear speakers will get a boot camp worthy audio workout here. Want to talk some bass? Wow! The bass will knock over your ceramic statues here so make sure you securely strap those precious items down before blasting this beastly disc. Dialogue, one of my most important factors in determining and audio soundtrack’s score, is clear and coherent throughout. That’s important here because there are plenty of things going on in the background. Of course, a rating is all-debatable, but I’m happy with everything in this audio package.
Compared to my more recent Blu-ray reviews, it’s refreshing to see that Warner has brought onboard some extras worthy of talking about. Let’s skip the proverbial formalities here and tackle these immediately. Onward!
- Maximum Movie Mode – Dive deeper into Clash of the Titans with director Louis Leterrier and cast in this Picture-in-Picture experience. I recommend this one for all fans of the film.
- Focus Points (HD) – There’s nearly 35-minutes worth of these short featurettes and include:
- Sam Worthington is Perseus
- Zeus: Father of Gods and Men
- Enter the World of Hades
- Calibos: The Man Behind the Monster
- Tenerife: A Continent on an Island
- Actors and Their Stunts
- Wales: A Beautiful Scarred Landscape
- Bringing Medusa to Life
- Prepare for the Kraken!
- Sam Worthington: An Action Hero for the Ages (HD) – Boy Wonder gets his own behind-the-scenes 8-minute featurette here.
- Deleted Scenes and Alternate Ending (HD) – There are over 18-minutes of deleted sequences and an alternate ending to be found here. However, I won’t leak any spoilers about the alternate ending. I want you to watch it and make up your own mind about which ending you like better.
- DVD Copy – It’s a DVD folks. Move on.
- Digital Copy – It’s not the sharpest, but it entertained me on the plane. Audio was pretty decent.
So there you have it my Blu-ray disciples. In my opinion, 2010’s Clash of the Titans is superior to the original film in every which way: story, acting and special effects. Of course your mileage may vary with this release, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and give this Blu-ray a recommendation of “Buy It Now” as a must-have keepsake for your Blu-ray collection. I know I can definitely see myself popping this in for some Kraken fun every now and then. Have fun with it. Don’t over analyze it. Life’s too short.
Clash of the Titans arrives on Blu-ray July 27th. Pre-Order today!