Ray Harryhausen Collection, The (Blu-ray)
Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring (20 Million Miles to Earth) William Hopper, Joan Taylor, Frank Puglia, John Zaremba; (Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers) Hugh Marlowe, Joan Taylor, Donald Curtis, Morris Ankrum; (It Came From Beneath the Sea) Kenneth Tobey, Faith Domergue, Donald Curtis, Ian Keith; (The 7th Voyage of Sinbad) Kerwin Mathews, Kathryn Grant, Richard Eyer, Torin Thatcher
Directed by (20 Million Miles to Earth) Nathan Juran, (Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers) Fred F. Sears, (It Came From Beneath the Sea) Robert Gordon, (The 7th Voyage of Sinbad) Nathan Juran and Ray Harryhausen
Distributed by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
It just doesn't get any better than this. Honestly, I'm pretty overwhelmed so just bear with me. For genre fans Sony's The Ray Harryhausen Collection on Blu-ray could very well be the high-definition release of the year right up there with the new Godfather box set. It's astounding. It's filled with more special features than you could imagine. I've been combing through these discs for the last week, and man, has hard work never been more fun!
This box set is home to four of Ray Harryhausen's most incredible movies -- 20 Million Miles to Earth, Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers, It Came From Beneath the Sea, and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad. The coolest thing here is that each of these flicks offers fans something vastly different. From the grass-roots inspiration for such big budget hyperbole as Independence Day and Cloverfield to one of the most kick-ass screen creatures ever in the Ymir to the fabled Sinbad the sailor's most monster-filled journey ever, there's so much to do and see and experience it's hard to even pick a jumping off point.
It should be noted that all of these releases came out on DVD earlier this year in grand fashion. In fact these Blu-ray discs offer nothing new in terms of supplemental material other than being B-D Live Enabled, which essentially gives you the option to take the disc online and participate in quizzes, chats, etc. As a result I'll now direct you to those reviews (we didn't cover Sinbad) so you can get an idea of what to expect from the extras that are included here:
I know what you're thinking -- "If I already own these DVD's, is there any reason to buy them again on Blu-ray?" Honestly there are two sides to be made for this argument. The DVD's are packing, look and sound good, and deliver everything that they should. However, for those of us who are high-def sticklers, even though those past releases were great, the image and sound quality offered on Blu-ray is without a shadow of a doubt incredible. How much that means to you is completely subjective.
In full 1080p these movies are for the most part eye-popping, but there are a couple of concessions you have to make while watching -- namely, a lot of films from this era used a ton of stock footage to move along their stories. As a result, whenever said footage is employed, there's a dramatic dip in image quality. Things get ultra grainy and lose all of the otherwise vibrant colors. That, and when the creature F/X are in full swing, the matte paintings used, along with a lot of Harryhausen's other techniques, are a tad more noticeable in contrast. Thankfully there is also an option to watch these flicks in their original black and white state, and all of the abovementioned ticks are far less troublesome.
The real stand-out here comes in the Dolby TrueHD sound mixes. Holy cow! Every monstrous roar from the films' many beasts and every note from their old-school epic scores are downright amazing. The soundscapes presented here will thrill you and lift your imagination to the levels it reached back in the day when you were watching these movies as a little kid.
If you own a Blu-ray player and love monster movies, this is a dream come true. The old adage that they don't make them like they used to rings resoundingly clear when pertaining to these movies. The best part? If the entire box set is a little too spendy for you, a couple of the films are available on Blu-ray separately as well. Just click below, and get set to return to a time of incredible spectacle and delirious fun!
20 Million Miles to Earth
Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers
It Came From Beneath the Sea
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad
5 out of 5
Special Features Combined:
5 out of 5
Discuss The Ray Harryhausen Collection in our forums!