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Artisan Home Entertainment presents
Jason and the Argonauts (2000)

My destiny is to rule
- Jason (Jason London)

Review By: Kevin Clemons   
Published: September 29, 2000

Stars: Jason London, Frank Langella, Olivia Williams, Natasha Henstridge
Other Stars: Dennis Hopper, Angus McFadyen, Adrian Lester, Derek Jacobi
Director: Nick Willing

Manufacturer: WAMO
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (Mild Violence)
Run Time: 02h:49m:06s
Release Date: August 15, 2000
UPC: 707729106388
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ C+B+B C+

DVD Review

I first saw the original Jason and the Argonauts when I was a child, and even though it has been nearly 15 years it still remains one of my favorite stories. When I was a kid the story had a sense of excitement to it, and it still does, even if this latest telling is more effects than story.

After his evil uncle Pelias (Hopper) kills the king of Thessaly, Jason (London) is forced to flee from the kingdom where he is the rightful heir. But when Jason returns to Thessaly with the gods in tow, Pelias offers his nephew the throne again, but only if he is able to find the magical and powerful Golden Fleece. The catch being that should Jason take longer than six months, Pelias will kill Jason's mother. Jason recruits Argonauts to assist him, and together they set out on an adventure that will include raging seas, encounters with countless creatures, mythical beings and Greek gods.

The cinematography and visual effects are where the film really shines. Cinematographer Sergei Kozlov paints some gorgeous pictures and the effects done mostly by Jim Henson Creature Shops are breathtaking in their quality. The special effects are truly amazing and the film is a wonder to look at, but I found myself wanting to watch Harryhausen's version because of its much shorter length, and because there was a true sense of adventure in his 1963 film.

In the end, the main problem with the film isn't the acting or effects, but the story. There is enough here to fill a TV mini-series, but there is no reason that this film couldn't have been a tight two hour movie of the week. But as it stands the film teeters on boredom at its length (a little under three hours), and I would imagine that is close to unbearable for most kids. The story tends to drag, and director Willing never really does anything to pick it up.

Even Poseidon is completely the opposite of how folklore describes him. In this film he looks more like the rock creature from Galaxy Quest than the mythical one one would imagine.

Comprised of Hollywood stars the cast is very hit and miss. As Jason, London does a good enough job, although I seriously doubt his ability to be a leading man. Frank Langella never really does an effective job as Aertes, and Dennis Hopper is a bit over the top as the villainous Pelias but stops short of being terribly annoying. The supporting cast featuring Natasha Henstridge (The Whole Nine Yards), Adrian Lester (Primary Colors), and the beautiful Olivia Williams (Rushmore) is without a single bad performance.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: C+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Presented in its 1.33:1 full frame aspect ration the transfer is fantastic. From the opening blues and tans to the darkness that comes later in the film there isn't a bad thought that comes when thinking of this transfer. There is no evident grain, and black levels appear to be perfect. This is really a wonderful transfer from Artisan.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Carrying only a Dolby 2.0 track, the audio on this disc is a bit disappointing as a Dolby Digital 5.1 track would have heightened the experience of the film. But what is presented is fine and the music, dialogue, and ambient noises come off cleanly. There is a nice seamless flow of the sound across the front speakers that make this as good a track from a TV mini-series that I have ever heard.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu
Scene Access with 35 cues
Cast and Crew Biographies
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Alpha
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL
Layers Switch: Unknown

Extra Extras:
  1. Notable and Quotable
Extras Review: A 10-minute featurette on the making of the film is the only real extra included on this RSDL disc. Made for TV, the short features interviews with the cast and crew and is worth watching. The only downside to it is that it never shows any real behind-the-scenes info on the special effects. A notable and quotable section is also made available allowing you to read quotes from the stars of the film about the making of the movie. An extensive cast and crew section is complete with filmographies.

Extras Grade: C+

 

Final Comments

The film is amazing to look at and kids will probably like it providing they last the three hour journey. But if you want to be entertained I recommend the original 1963 film. Rent this one if you are curious.

 


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