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The Wonderful Worlds of Ray Harryhausen Volume One: 1955 - 1960: It Came From Beneath the Sea, 20 Million Miles To Earth, The 3 Worlds of Gulliver - Blu-ray Review

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Ray Harryhausen Volume One blu-ray

Ray Harryhausen and his stop-motion work is legendary. While his stuff is slow to trickle out on blu-ray, the high-def picture and the clarity the format provides is always insightful into his creative processes. The latest round of his work comes from Indicator, a UK company that offers their lovingly-handled restorations region free and features the beginning of the Harryhausen and Schner partnership with even more scenes of spectacular monster-made destruction.

"This Limited Edition boxed set also contains a wealth of new and archival extras which includes exclusive new interviews"


While the three films in this collection (It Came From Beneath the Sea, 20 Million Miles to Earth, The 3 Worlds of Gulliver) are minor entries in the whole paranoid science fiction canon of the late 1950s, their nostalgia and starry-eyed optimism makes up for any lagging moments that might come in their rollouts - but they all feature some of the most whimsical creature designs that paved the way for Harryhausen’s future..

In 20 Million Miles to Earth, an American spaceship crash-lands off the coast of Sicily. The rescue team sent in for retrieval purposes discovers that the crew has brought back a gelatinous mass that soon hatches and evolves into a strange bi-ped creature which increases in size rapidly. Soon 20-feet tall, the creature rampages through Rome before being destroyed as it seeks refuge in the Colosseum. {googleads}

And in the science fiction thriller It Came From Beneath the Sea, a giant, radioactive octopus makes the deadly mistake of attacking Navy Captain Pete Mathews' (Kenneth Tobey) submarine, prompting the bold commander to pursue the monstrous beast across the Pacific Ocean before it attacks anyone else. But as the military races to develop a special torpedo that will penetrate the mutated octopus's brain and destroy it, the six armed monstrosity suddenly discovers how to survive on land, wreaking havoc first on the Golden Gate Bridge and then in the Embarcadero, sending the terrified citizens of San Francisco running for their lives.

Released on blu-ray in their original black-and-white presentation, the two movies are visually crisp with punched up clarity. While the "Ymir" featured in 20 Million Miles to Earth is not your typical Harryhausen design, the fact that it is based off Nordic mythology and inspired by King Kong makes it worthy of attention. Directed by The Giant Mantis' Nathan Juran, the movie features your typical space age goofiness in light of a return trip to Venus but makes up for it with cool creature designs.Ray Harryhausen Volume One blu-ray

It Came From Beneath the Sea still marvels with enthusiasm and creativity. Mind you, this is all at a popcorn B-movie level. Atomic testing is on its mind and when an aggravated 6-tentacled octopus gets pissed off, people tend to wonder why. What could possibly be wrong with this beast to cause it to attack an atomic submarine? The marvelous minds that came up with the atomic sub provide the answer as they navigate the treacherous waters.

This Limited Edition boxed set also contains a wealth of new and archival extras which includes exclusive new interviews with director Joe Dante, SFX maestro Dennis Muren, and Aardman Animation co-founders David Sproxton and Peter Lord.  This Dual Format Edition Box Set is strictly limited to 6,000 units and, as the second volume has already sold out, you need to act fast in securing your order.

Watch Ray Harryhausen's iconic 6 armed Octopus in high definition!

5/5 stars

Ray Harryhausen Volume One blu-ray

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Indicator
Available on Blu-ray
- October 13, 2017

Strictly limited to just 6,000 copies, Indicator’s FANTASTIC Box Set features full HD restorations of It Came from Beneath the Sea, 20 Million Miles to Earth, and a total 4K restoration from the original camera negative of The 3 Worlds of Gulliver.  The others are using the Sony transfers from a few years back.  The original black and white and alternative, authorized colorized versions of It Came from Beneath the Sea and 20 Million Miles to Earth are also housed on the discs.  Fans also get an exclusive 80-page book with new essays by Kim Newman, Dan Whitehead and Charlie Brigden, and film credits.  It is important to note that this release are UK premieres on Blu-ray and arrive on region free discs.

Video:

First and foremost, these pictures - including their remastered prints - beat the pants off of Columbia’s previous releases and WILL play on US blu-ray players.  The 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer is crisp with black-and-white clarity but shows its age. There are some scratches and a couple of scenes of dirt and other debris in the lens but, for the most part, the print has never looked better. The black levels are deep and consistent and the detail is to the middle range of fine. The grain factor is an ebb and flow sort of occurrence (it always was), and sometimes the use of stock footage brings down the quality.  This is to be expected but any side by side comparison will show the strength that these releases have when compared to what came before. There is a vibrancy to the picture not present in the previous releases. They are presented in an aspect ratio of 16:9 and all boast a newly minted way to appreciate Harryhausen’s work.

Audio:

For each movie, audiences get a choice between the original mono and 5.1 surround sound audio option.

Commentaries:

It Came from Beneath the Sea and 20 Million Miles to Earth audio commentaries with Ray HarryhausenRandall William Cook offers the commentary for Gulliver.

Special Features:

This Limited Edition boxed set also contains a wealth of new and archival extras which includes exclusive new interviews with director Joe Dante, SFX maestro Dennis Muren, and Aardman Animation co-founders David Sproxton and Peter Lord.  This Dual Format Edition Box Set is strictly limited to 6,000 units and, as the second volume has already sold out, you need to act fast in securing your order.

  • New interview with filmmaker Joe Dante
  • New interview with SFX maestro Dennis Muren
  • New interviews with Aardman Animation's David Sproxton, Peter Lord and Dave Alex Riddett
  • Archival documentaries, interviews and featurettes
  • Original trailers and promotional films
  • Isolated score on The 3 Worlds of Gulliver by Bernard Herrmann
  • Promotional and on-set photography, poster art and archive materials

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  5/5 stars
  Audio 5/5 stars
  Extras 5/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

5/5 stars

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Ray Harryhausen Volume One blu-ray

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