THE WONDERFUL WORLDS OF RAY HARRYHAUSEN, VOLUME TWO: 1961-1964 Blu Ray review

The worlds of creatures from ancient myths, mysterious isle and the surface of the moon all come together in this extraordinary second release of the great mans work. Ray Harryhausen was an enigma and a revelation. He crafted fantasy images of dinosaurs, giant crabs, skeletons (a personal favourite) and so much more. He did it with dedication and with amazing amounts of skill (and massive amounts of hard work.) He also made many a childhood the better for his vision and his brilliance!

JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS leads us off into ancient Greece and the legends of the golden fleece. From the world of the gods to the land of the great steel giant Talos. To the sea and the rocks of destruction to the land where evil skeletons roam. Its so wonderful and yes it has been released before but I would recommend dropping that HMV premium collection and upgrading to this! 4K makes the epic feel even more so and adds delightful warmth to the animated scenes. The film shines on the screen and even with a little wear in the print, still is top notch. Then we have the amazing audio commentary that sees Peter Jackson turn into the inner child of everyone watching and makes it so worth listening to again just for the sheer delight in his voice.

FIRST MEN IN THE MOON takes us H G Wells creation and the surface of the moon and a landing ahead of time. Its not a faithful adaptation but delivers on effects galore. I will say that it deserves  viewing and is possibly the most under seen and under appreciated film of its type and from its period. The 4k makes the task easier (to watch that is) and when you settle into it, you find it a valuable addition to the set.  In my opinion the extras add some texture but little detail or bite to the set.

However MYSTERIOUS ISLAND which sees the American Civil War soldiers escape from prison via a air balloon only to land on a long lost island, is amazing. Its value from both sides. The film is a superb take on the lost on an island idea but then adds delicious everyday creatures in. These become great fun and you can hear kids and adults screaming with joy as it plays out. The 2K restoration is good enough but i wish it was colour corrected in areas. I suspect that is age of the print rather than the team, who are amazing at all they do. I love the extras. Kim Newman is fantastic and explodes with detail and comments. Harryhausen also adds such youthful charm for a man of his age at the time and also gravity to his ideas. Its overall a wonderful set that i would be hard pressed not to say, buy, buy and buy again.

 

ANNOUNCEMENT!

BFI members only evening on the 23rd of November
INDICATOR have a stall with an 5% extra discount for members.  Great selections of films, t shirts and tote bags
SO GET DOWN TO LONDON!!!

INDICATOR LIMITED EDITION SPECIAL FEATURES:
• 4K restorations of Jason and the Argonauts and First Men in the Moon from the original camera negatives
• 2K restoration of Mysterious Island from the original camera negative
• Mono and 5.1 surround sound audio options
• Ray Harryhausen audio commentaries
• Additional Mysterious Island audio commentary with film historians Randall William Cook, C. Courtney Joyner and Steven C. Smith
• Additional Jason and the Argonauts audio commentary with filmmaker Peter Jackson and Randall William Cook
• ‘Jason and the Argonauts’ Original Skeleton Fight Storyboards
• Ray Harryhausen on ‘Mysterious Island’
• Actor Michael Craig on ‘Mysterious Island’
• Hal Hickel on ‘Mysterious Island’ (2017): new interview with the special effects maestro
• Kim Newman on ‘Mysterious Island’ (2017): new appreciation by the author and genre-film expert
• Islands of Mystery: vintage featurette
• Randall William Cook Introduces ‘First Men in the Moon’
• Tomorrow the Moon: vintage featurette
• New and exclusive interviews with crew members, including camera assistant Ray Andrew (Mysterious Island) and production manager Ted Wallis (First Men in the Moon)
• Back to Mysterious Island comic-book
• Archival documentaries and interviews
• Super 8 version of Mysterious Island
• Isolated scores: experience the music of Bernard Herrmann (Mysterious Island) and Laurie Johnson (First Men in the Moon)
• Original trailers, teasers, TV spots and promotional films
• John Landis trailer commentary for First Men in the Moon
• Image galleries: extensive promotional and on-set photography, poster art and archive materials
• Limited edition exclusive 80-page book with new essays by film experts Kim Newman and Tim Lucas, an in-depth oral history of all three films, and full film credits
• UK Blu-ray premieres of Mysterious Island and First Men in the Moon
• Limited Dual Format Edition Box Set of 6,000 numbered units
…AND MORE!

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Simon Kennedy

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