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post #1 of 17 Old 07-28-10, 07:53 AM Thread Starter
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Clash of the Titans - Blu-ray Review

Title: Clash of the Titans
Starring: Sam Worthington, Ralph Fiennes, Liam Neeson, Gemma Aterton
Directed by: Louis Leterrier
Written by: Travis Beacham, Phil Hay
Studio: Warner
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 106 Minutes
Release Date: 7/27/2010


Movie
Clash of the Titans should be the poster child as to why post production 3D rendering is bad and should never be done, yet this is the very thing that Warner did with Clash of the Titans and Disney did with Alice in Wonderland, which was a much better reviewed 3D experience, in an effort to cash in on the current 3D craze. I originally reviewed Clash of the Titans in April after I took my family to see the 3D version. We left the theater in a deflated and let down mood and over half of the movie goers who sat through it with us were just as letdown. Disgusted with the hack job that I was convinced was just performed on “re-imagining” this tale from my childhood, I wrote a fairly unforgiving, unflattering and ultimately undeserved negative review of the movie itself. I didn’t make the connection to the 3D until several days later after I posted the review and some of my fellow reviewers started to point out a lot of bad reviews aimed at the 3D. After swearing I wouldn’t touch the Bluray review, I suddenly found myself compelled to watch it for the sole purpose of confirming whether or not the suspicions my peers raised were correct.

I am happy to confirm that those suspicions were in fact correct and what we experienced in our home theater was a completely different movie than my family experienced in theaters. I have come to the conclusion that when I was in the theater watching this movie in such a horrendously rendered 3D mess, I instinctively started comparing the horribly bad version before me to the original 1981 version that I grew up with and needless to say, it fell short…..Big Time! With all that being said, I am more than happy to change my position on my earlier review as this new movie is in many ways far superior to the old Ray Harryhausen vision from 81’ however; I also stand by certain parts of my previous review in that there is a serious lack of charm in this updated version of the story but it is obvious to me at least that 'charm' is not what Louis Leterrier was going for either and that doesn't make it a bad movie.

The story opens with a fisherman named Spyros who pulls a coffin out of the sea. Inside he finds a baby crying still firm in the grip of his dead mother's embrace. Spyros pulls the baby out of the coffin and raises him as his own. We next catch up with Spyros and his family some years later as Spyros and his 12 year old son Perseus are sitting next to a fire discussing the impending arrival of Perseus' new sibling. Aware of his 'found at sea' origin, Perseus has doubts as to whether or not his parents could continue to love him given that they are about to have a new baby of their own blood in the mix. Spyros reassures him that they indeed love him and will always love him and that he has known since the day they found him that Perseus was meant for something special. Fast forward another several years and we find Perseus (Worthington), now in his twenties, and his father pulling yet another empty fishing net from the sea. Convinced that the lack of a bountiful harvest is the result of Zeus’ (Neeson) anger with mankind, Spyros all but blasphemes the king of the gods for taking out his anger in a manner that has more in common with a child’s tantrum than an all knowing god of creation.


As the family begins to make their way to Argos to lay a wreath at Zeus’ statue in an effort to win his favor with praise, the family witnesses soldiers of the city desecrating the statue of Zeus himself in an act of defiance to show the gods of Olympus that man is no longer subject to their rule. Such an act does not go unpunished as Zeus’ exiled brother Hades (Fiennes) shows up and wreaks havoc by killing the majority of those involved and even goes as far as to attack Spyros fishing boat killing everyone except Perseus who is picked up at sea by soldiers that are returning to Argos after destroying the statue of Zeus. As King Kepheus of Argos celebrates victory with Queen Cassiopeia and the rest of the royal subjects, he boasts at their great victory and how man has now overcome his dependency on the gods and it is now the gods that need man, not the other way around. As the arrogance continues to spew from their lips, the Cassiopeia joins in and disrespects the gods by telling everyone that can hear that her daughter Andromeda is even more beautiful than the goddess Aphrodite herself.

As the words are still echoing in the halls, who should appear but Hades once again except this time he is under direction from his brother Zeus who has agreed to let his fallen brother scare the people of Argos into praying to and worshipping Zeus once again. Perseus quickly tries to attack Hades but is dispatched quickly with the god of the underworlds powers but, when Perseus doesn’t die, it becomes evident that he is more than just a mortal man and is in fact a demigod and the son of Zeus. Now sworn to avenge the deaths of his mother, father and sister, Perseus sets out on mission to destroy Hades and if need be, Mt. Olympus itself.

There are plenty of story elements that I still had problems with. I still think that the whole ‘Revenge!’ thing was a bad way to go. One of the things that I still find redeeming about the original is that Perseus went and did all the things he did because he was so head over heels in love with Andromeda and all you guys out there know that if there is anything that will get us out of our home theaters and off on a mission to destroy 1000’ monster, it’s for the love of a woman. The other elements in the story that I previously had problems with were a little more acceptable this time around, probably because I wasn’t sitting through the uncomfortable mess of the bad 3D picking apart every little change.

Ralph Fiennes is a lot better as Hades than I previously recalled, even though it was not unlike his performances as Lord Voldormort from the Harry Potter movies. I pretty much like just about anything Liam Neeson does so I thought he was great as the king of gods. I was able to pay a lot more attention to Sam Worthington’s performance this time around and I noticed that while he was playing it by the numbers it seemed almost begrudgingly so. It was almost as if a couple of scenes he appeared he was about turn loose but was told to reel it back in and do the stoic hero thing.

The special effects in the movie were still great. The Kraken was awesome, even though his role was short lived, and the Medusa scene actually reached the stalking tone that the original movie was going for. The overall presentation is far superior to the stuff from 81’ but that is what we should expect in this day and age. I do want to say something here that was really strange about the whole 3D thing we experienced in the theater in an effort to flesh out where I am coming from. The actual look of the film was very similar in that the colors and detail were spot on, what I didn’t realize in the theater was how much darker and muddier things were. It was really strange and very hard to describe because you could make out the detail of the scenes but it was just all so much darker that it required too much effort on my part to physically watch the movie and that really gave me uncomfortable feeling. I actually recall becoming agitated in the theater sitting through this movie.

With the technology that is out there thanks to James Cameron and Avatar, there is no excuse, other than greed, for a studio to render a film in 3D post production. If you want to put out a film in 3D then do it right and film it with the current technology. I know for certain that I will never attend another 3D movie unless it actually says “Using technology pioneered by James Cameron for Avatar” somewhere in the trailers. As Sam Worthington said in a recent interview “If the 'Clash of the Titans’ sequel is in 3D it will be shot in real 3D, or it will be shot without me.” Amen to that Sam!

There is an alternate ending in the special features section that shows a different and bit more ominous route that the movie could have taken. It really would have changed the dynamic and basically had Perseus all but declaring war on the gods of Olympus. In the end I think they made the right choice, even if they didn’t make the right choice for the love interest.

Rating
Rated PG-13 for fantasy action violence, some frightening images and brief sensuality.

Video
I will say that the 1080P VC-1 video really popped out at me on this transfer. Though most of the scenes involve a very dry and barren look with lots of browns, grays and blacks, there are some scenes of lush jungle foilage and the ocean scenes are vivid with varying shades of blue that reflect the varying depths of the water and they look absolutely gorgeous. The darker scenes have great shadow delineation with almost infinite black levels. I was also very pleased that there was no noticeable noise in the transfer.

All is not perfect however; there is some minor black crush in the caves of the Stygian witches and Medusa’s lair as well. Some of the brighter desert scenes seem to wash out some of the finer details and I also noticed on occasion that the CGI giant scorpions were obviously computer generated. I think this is a result of the HD transfer as I replayed the standard definition digital copy and did not notice the same effect. Additionally, one thing that really annoyed me was the shimmering armor that the gods wore while on Mt. Olympus. It really detracted from the scenes and became something that I just wanted to go away after a short period of time.



Audio
Three words: Off….The….Chain! The 5.1 DTS-HD-MA audio on Clash of the Titans was the biggest saving grace of this Bluray. The impact of Hades fireballs as they plunge into the ocean, the crash of thunder and the deep thunderous roar of the Kraken really did take this one up to the reference level in my opinion. I thoroughly enjoyed it and had replay several scenes just to take it all in. I loved the crashing of giant structures and the sound of rock formations cracking and crumbling all around. The multi-layered Kraken roar was just spectacular and really needs to be heard to be appreciated. The surrounds got quite a workout as well, from Medusa’s arrows that flew across the screen out of the darkness and she hunted and stalked her prey to the sound of destruction all around as the Kraken rises from the depths. Yes, if I were at a friend’s house and heard this soundtrack I would definitely make a B-Line for the store on my way home to pickup my own copy.

The score was equally well presented adding tons of atmosphere to the scenes. I really think they did a particularly fine job in Medusa’s lair as well as the scenes involving the Stygian witches creating a more suspensful feeling. Last but not least, I feel compelled to point out that while the dialogue may not be incredibly well written, it is clear, textured and very well represented. Even when a lot of action had just occurred or was occurring, the voices come out clear and concise. I really can’t think of anything to complain about on this soundtrack.

Extras

I have to admit that on the purchase side of things, Warner does seem to be setting the standard for Bluray releases. Including a DVD version as well as a digital copy in the package is outstanding. I also noticed that there were a couple of skippable Bluray commercials during the spin up to the main menu, there were no previews. Good job Warner.
  • Maximum Movie Mode
  • Focus Points
  • Sam Worthington: An Action Hero for the Ages'
  • Alternate Ending
  • DVD/Digital Copy
  • BD-Live

Overall
I will admit that this remake doesn’t have much resemblance to the 81’ version of Clash of the Titans other than some bad melodramatic acting and the tone of this version is less campy and a lot more moody. Still, I found that watching it again without the awful 3D that plagued and tainted my earlier review gave me a new perspective and more appreciation for the film and what Louis Leterrier tried to accomplish. It’s true that this movie actually has more in common with Die Hard than Clash of the Titans from 1981 but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. My kids loved this movie and no one ever wants to admit that something could ever be better than the original and in this case I agree with that sentiment however, the big bad box office numbers that Clash of the Titans 2010 put up says I may be in the minority. See, Clash of the Titans only pulled in $163 million in the US but it's worldwide total was just short of $500 million which pretty much says it all. So rent or even buy Clash of the Titans with confidence that even if you take serious issue with the changes and liberties that Leterrier and crew took with your memories of the original, it still looks great sounds AWESOME!!! Until next time campers, have a good day and in case I don't see ya later, a good afternoon, a good evening, and a good night!



Regards,
Dale Rasco




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Last edited by Dale Rasco; 07-30-10 at 06:33 AM. Reason: Warner didn't make Alice in Wonderland, Disney did.
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post #2 of 17 Old 07-28-10, 08:35 AM
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Re: Clash of the Titans - Bluray Review

Excellent review Dale, I'd been waiting for Blu-Ray (to avoid 3D) and I think your review gives me a good picture of why it's worth a watch.

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post #3 of 17 Old 07-28-10, 09:04 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Clash of the Titans - Bluray Review

Thanks Dave, after watching it in 2D and seeing how different the experience was to the poorly rendered 3D I'm convinced studios should be crucified for allowing such garbage into theaters.
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post #4 of 17 Old 07-28-10, 09:22 AM
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Re: Clash of the Titans - Bluray Review

Great review, I was thinking of buying this one on BD and I think your review made it easy to decide to go ahead and do so. Thanks.
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post #5 of 17 Old 07-28-10, 10:10 AM
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Re: Clash of the Titans - Bluray Review

It seems like every stupid preview these days ends in "In 3D" - some of these titles shouldn't be anywhere near 3D but studios see it as a cash cow. It's a fad I hope dies.

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post #6 of 17 Old 07-29-10, 02:56 AM
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Re: Clash of the Titans - Bluray Review

Excellent review Dale I have already got my copy on BD and will be watching it this weekend !!
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post #7 of 17 Old 07-29-10, 09:47 PM
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Re: Clash of the Titans - Bluray Review

Just a tid bit of information. Alice in Wonderland may not have been shot in 3D, but it was always planned to be. During production, every shot was planned for 3D, and would have been initially shot that way except Burton couldn't pull together the workflow tools, and he also wasn't given enough money to shoot in 3D as well.

I think it is a disservice to mention the horrible Clash of the titans 3D in the same sentence with Alice in Wonderland. The quality of the 3D of the two could not have been more different. 3D is all about depth, and Clash had none, and Alice had plenty.

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post #8 of 17 Old 07-30-10, 06:31 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Clash of the Titans - Bluray Review

Quote:
Sir Terrence wrote: View Post
Just a tid bit of information. Alice in Wonderland may not have been shot in 3D, but it was always planned to be. During production, every shot was planned for 3D, and would have been initially shot that way except Burton couldn't pull together the workflow tools, and he also wasn't given enough money to shoot in 3D as well.

I think it is a disservice to mention the horrible Clash of the titans 3D in the same sentence with Alice in Wonderland. The quality of the 3D of the two could not have been more different. 3D is all about depth, and Clash had none, and Alice had plenty.
Thank you for the input Terrance, I did not mean to imply the quality of Alice in Wonderland was as bad or worse as Clash however; what I was trying to compare were the differences between 2D VS. 3D and the overwhelming majority of reviewers and movie goers agreed that both Alice and Clash were preferable in 2D. Our very own Dave Upton makes the comparison in his Bluray review of Alice in Wonderland here as well.

Thanks again for bringing this point up and giving me the opportunity to explain what I meant. I agree that if it comes off as it did to you then it is a disservice to Alice in Wonderland which my daughter and I loved by the way.

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post #9 of 17 Old 07-30-10, 01:03 PM
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Re: Clash of the Titans - Bluray Review

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dsr7997 wrote: View Post
Thank you for the input Terrance, I did not mean to imply the quality of Alice in Wonderland was as bad or worse as Clash however; what I was trying to compare were the differences between 2D VS. 3D and the overwhelming majority of reviewers and movie goers agreed that both Alice and Clash were preferable in 2D. Our very own Dave Upton makes the comparison in his Bluray review of Alice in Wonderland here as well.
Maybe this is a regional thing, but I couldn't find anyone who thought the 2D presentation was better than the 3D, and as I searched the internet for reviews and could not find it as well. Most reviewers I found(including myself) thought both the 2D and 3D were equally good. When Disney did a survey at some in Los Angeles and New York theaters, most folks loved the 3D on this film. So I am just not sure where this "overwhelming" is really coming from.

Quote:
Thanks again for bringing this point up and giving me the opportunity to explain what I meant. I agree that if it comes off as it did to you then it is a disservice to Alice in Wonderland which my daughter and I loved by the way.
I always get a little nervous when I see good 3D and bad 3D mentioned in the same sentence. It ties them together in a way that makes all 3D except Avatar seem bad, even if that was not the intent.

Good review by the way.

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post #10 of 17 Old 07-30-10, 04:39 PM
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Re: Clash of the Titans - Bluray Review

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Sir Terrence wrote: View Post
Maybe this is a regional thing, but I couldn't find anyone who thought the 2D presentation was better than the 3D, and as I searched the internet for reviews and could not find it as well. Most reviewers I found(including myself) thought both the 2D and 3D were equally good. When Disney did a survey at some in Los Angeles and New York theaters, most folks loved the 3D on this film. So I am just not sure where this "overwhelming" is really coming from.



I always get a little nervous when I see good 3D and bad 3D mentioned in the same sentence. It ties them together in a way that makes all 3D except Avatar seem bad, even if that was not the intent.

Good review by the way.
I would count myself among those reviewers who consider the 2D version of Alice superior, but that's not to say it was garbage 3D.

3D conversions are becoming a real distraction.

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