JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS
Homer's the Iliad and the Odyssey are works unequalled in their interwoven stories of fantasy and adventure. In 1963 Ray Harryhausen rendered the definitive film version of Jason and the Argonauts. His recreation of the plagues of the gods upon Jason and his crew are so firmly entrenched in the ethos of the stories that without them, you are left somewhat wanting. More on that later… Jason is the child of the king. All is well in his life until an army falls upon the kingdom of his father and in a matter of moments, his life of privilege is no more and the back alleys & filthy tunnels of the city he would have once ruled, are now both, his home and school. Haunted by a dream, he follows this dream to the palace his father once ruled in. It is there that he confronts the man who killed his father and took his mother to be his bride. His uncle! Aware that his presence in the palace means his certain death, Jason puts before his uncle a proposition he could never pass on. In exchange for his life and that of his mother, Jason will bring him the coveted all-powerful Golden Fleece. All who have sailed for it or have made the quest have died horribly. However, Jason is favored of the gods and will face every odd sent his way not only to claim the fleece but also, to reclaim his father's throne and rule in his father's memory. Putting together a crew of men who are not sailors but adventurers, Jason sets sail for points unknown and prepares to face both the pleasures and the wrath of the gods as he seeks to fulfill his destiny.
The audio is presented in a rather full 2.0 stereo platform. The left to right activity that existed was not the best given the lack of separation of the audio signals. For what it was it performed adequately however, I would have preferred to hear a 5.1 platform for what looked to be some pretty rich audio effects. In all, the audio was acceptable but nothing spectacular to be sure. Given its lack of LFE, the soundstage was rather empty/hollow. No punch whatsoever.
Made for television, Jason and the Argonauts was presented in the full frame format that it was released in. The colors though muted at times were rich and well saturated. Virtually artifact free, the film's transfer was extremely clean and revealed no blatant transfer errors that I could detect. For a full frame presentation, it's not bad!
The extras for the feature consist of a 10-minute making of featurette, which is primarily interviews with cast, & crew both on and off location. Next there are static text quotes from the actors called "Notable and Quotable and the obligatory but no less static cast & crew information.
This is a great re-telling of an extremely well written adventure. The action and adventure is both gripping and solid however, getting back to my initial paragraph, It cannot hold a candle to Harryhausen's 1963 classic! The Hydra, The Winged Harpies, The Children of the Hydra are all integral parts of the story that were not presented in this film. (Excluding the harpies) When you have a film that covers all the bases and fully explores each trial like Harryhausen's and gives all the eye candy you can think of, you are hard pressed to follow in those footsteps. This version is good and at almost 3 hours (179 minutes) it takes it's time telling the story. I would suggest you get Harryhausen's version first and then check this title out in that order. It's good but not as good as the original. Rent it.