25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Glorious Blu-ray justice for an epic!,
This review is from: Jason & the Argonauts [Blu-ray]  [US Import] (Blu-ray)
Don Chaffey's 1963 epic which many remember fondly as boasting some of Ray HarryHausen's best stop motion work finally arrives on blu-ray, and only one word can describe it, Glorious!
I always have mixed feelings when something as old as this recieves the blu-ray treatment. there either seems to be a tendency to overcompensate for the age and grain of the picture by employing heavy DNR that destroys the intended look, or a tendency to pretty much leave it at DVD quality. But the recent clash of the titans blu ray release was a pleasant surprise, no heavy digital tinkering, just superbly remastered, authentic, and fresh looking with a great lossless dts stereo track.
I'm pleased to say that Jason and the Argonauts follows this trend, and improves upon it oustandingly. This is a truly great 1080p 1.66:1 framed transfer boasting superb levels of detail that bring this legendary picture alive like you have never seen. Yes, certain scenes are rough and grainy looking, probably most evident in olympus and certain creature shots, but this is not a transfer that attempts to digitally alter a film to the standard of recent releases with noise reduction and endless polishing. This is a transfer that has restored and remastered a classic with great authenticity to the source print, yet providing a genuine hi-def look that is really quite eye catching throughout. It's incredible to think at some points that you are watching something made in 1963! Skin tones are natural, colours are vibrant and bright, black levels are extremely impressive, and the general detail is extremely crisp and detailed, yet ALL without sacrificing the look of the film. And even though generally the effects shots tend to suffer most from the grain, they still show incredible detail compared to previous releases.
One thing to note is that because of the faithful representation of the original aspect ratio, the film places very thin vertical black bars on either side of the 1.78:1 display. However it is barely evident on most modern widescreen tvs, you really have to look for it to even see it, and this is well worth having a faithful representation of the original film.
The soundtrack is an impressive DTS HD Master 5.1 surround track, which whilst not utilising the rear surround speakers extensively, provides an immersive track. Herrman's score sounds amazing with it's basey pounding drums and rhythmic trumpets, and the general sound levels are extremely impressive. Dialog is clear and audible, even the whisperings of the gods themselves, and the sea roars and thunders the bottom end with great rumbling effect.
As if all that wasn't good enough there's also for the first time a commentary by peter jackson (a long time fan of stop motion and harryhousen's work) film historians, and the maestro himself, Ray HarryHousen which is both insightful and entertaining. There's the original skeleton fight storyboards, interviews with harryhousen by john landis (from the old dvd release) harryhousen chronicles, and harryhousen legacy featurettes.
All in all this is a fantastic release, given the treatment it so rightly deserves - unquestionably THE version to own.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 24 Oct 2011 19:37:00 BDT
K. Balbi says:
Hi, I would like to ask, is the film really region free? I ask because your review was positive and you live in the uk the same as meso im hoping it is region free. Sometimes amazon lists incorrect specifications, so I wanted to check. Thanks. Keith
In reply to an earlier post on 26 Oct 2011 11:10:12 BDT
Do not own this disc, but Blu-ray.com and other sources say "Region Free".
In reply to an earlier post on 10 Jan 2012 14:44:40 GMT
Yes, I can confirm that it's region free!
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