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Clash of the Titans
Titans Will Clash, But Your OS Won't!

Unleash the Kraken. After that, unleash the digital downloads.

As a refresher for the 3D special effects extravaganza on April 2, Warner Brothers has released the Ray Harryhausen classic Clash of the Titans on a variety of home video formats. Though they've been slowly winning me over to Blu-Ray (I admit I'm sold), this time around Warner offered something new, even though the format has been around for a while. Would I be interested in downloading this from iTunes?

Make this a double , as for whatever reason in my geekish youth, I never saw Clash of the Titans. For years, that has been a conversation-stopper, to the point that I'd just nod whenever people talked about how great they remembered it being, and hoped that they wouldn't ask me to contribute any further.

Over the years, the reputation of that movie had grown so large I thought that I could never appreciate it with the enthusiasm my friends had. Before I get to the quality of the iTunes experience, let me say that my fears about this movie were unfounded.

Yes, it moves at a slightly more relaxed pace than movies do now. Thanks to a plethora of nifty set-pieces, however, Clash of the Titans holds up surprisingly well.

Telling the story of Hercules' half-brother Perseus (former "Sexiest Man Alive" Harry Hamlin), the movie follows the path of Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey. The infant Perseus and his mother are exiled in a floating coffin, and the gods take vengeance against Perseus' grandfather Acrisius for doing so. Greek justice was harsh; claiming your baby's father was a shaft of golden light just didn't cut it as an excuse for adultery.

The whims of the gods play a large part in the plot, treating humanity pretty much as Zeus' action figure collection. Yet the moral of the tale is a bit progressive. We get the gods we deserve, and none of them are too scared that we'll rise above the need for them.

Clash of the Titans doesn't just mark the end of an era of mythology; it's also a transition from older-style special effects to the CG that dominates today. On some levels it's quaint, but it's also a testament to Harryhausen's imagination.

Sure, the giant scorpions and the Kraken might look slicker in the new version, but there's something charmingly tangible about Harryhausen's models. These guys couldn't make adjustments by just typing some keys; they put in a lot of sweat and patience to bring wonders and wonder to the screen.

Of course, the download includes a short behind-the-scenes look at the new production, hitting theaters April 2nd. It's a fun look, and at least shows that director Louis Letterier has sincerity and almost boyish enthusiasm going for him. So his toys are on a computer; he's still eager to play.

And so, thanks to iTunes, this movie ended up on my computer. Thankfully, Apple has recently developed a 64-bit version of the iTunes and Quicktime software, so it's hard to predict a scenario where downloading wouldn't work. All versions of Windows Vista and 7 should handle this with no problems.

The download itself went fairly smoothly, less than ten minutes on a DSL line. When hooked up to a high definition monitor, it looked about as clean and clear as could be expected for a movie made in 1981, without calling extra attention to the blue-screen work. The iTunes controls worked extremely smoothly as well.

As a fanboy, I still have trouble fighting that need to have something concrete for my collection, but overall, downloading Clash of the Titans instead of getting a DVD played back just as well. Digital downloading for movies is here and effective. It would be hubris to think otherwise.

To purchase Clash of the Titans, click here.

Derek McCaw

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