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Jason and the Argonauts

3.5 out of 5 stars 76 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Inspired by the Greek myth, the story begins when the fearless explorer Jason returns to the kingdom of Thessaly to make his rightful claim to the throne, but the gods proclaim that he must first find the magical Golden Fleece. Consulting Hera, the Queen of gods, Jason recruits the Argonauts to crew his ship, and they embark on their eventful journey.


Is your classical Greek rusty? This is just the thing--a feast of epic Greek mythology--and the classic tale of Good (Jason, Theseus, Hercules, Orpheus) versus Evil (angry gods, Poseidon, Harpies, the women of Lemnos) is a great introduction. The plot has been entertaining people for thousands of years and is still going strong--now strengthened by great special effects and good acting. Sure, some people will think this version isn't "high culture" enough (it's a bit reminiscent of The Clash of the Titans), but those folks should probably be reading Bulfinch's Mythology instead of watching TV anyway.

The DVD includes a "making of" documentary, "notable and quotable," detailed cast and crew information, scene access, and Dolby surround sound. Even hard-core fans of Ray Harryhausen's 1963 stop-motion-animation version will find room in their hearts (and DVD libraries) for this one. Although the basic plot elements are the same, the two versions achieve very different (and both quite enjoyable) effects. The new Jason and the Argonauts is something kids and adults can all enjoy. --Tara Chace

Special Features

  • Making Of
  • Notable and Quotable

Product Details

  • Actors: Jason London, Frank Langella, Natasha Henstridge, Derek Jacobi, Olivia Williams
  • Directors: Nick Willing
  • Writers: Mark Skeet, Matthew Faulk
  • Producers: Chris Thompson, Dyson Lovell, Robert Halmi Jr., Robert Halmi Sr.
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Artisan
  • DVD Release Date: August 15, 2000
  • Run Time: 179 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004U28P
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,757 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Jason and the Argonauts" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I was pleasantly surprised to find this version of JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS as a worthy successor to the original film starring Todd Armstrong.
I admit I was expecting some cheesy, low budget, badly-acted made-for-tv series but was pleased to find an entertaining film that stays faithful to the original myth. Add to that a strong cast, good production values and impressive special effects and you have a film that you will want to watch again and again.
The story centers on Jason (Jason London), who returns to reclaim his kingdom from his uncle, Pelias (Dennis Hopper). In order to regain the throne and save his mother's life, Jason agrees to sail to Colchis and obtain the golden fleece. With a crew that includes Orpheus, Atalanta, the mighty Hercules and the shipbuilder Argos, Jason faces many dangers on his quest for the fleece. The argonauts encounter the bronze giant Talos, the women of Lemnos (led by their queen Hypsypile - Natasha Henstridge), blind Phineas (Derek Jacobi) and the frightening harpies, the clashing rocks and more. When Jason arrives in Colchis, he falls in love with the lovely Medea (Jolene Blalock) but must face more challenges (including its ruler, King Aertes - Frank Langella) before he can leave the island with the fleece.
This version is more faithful to the myth than the 1963 film. For instance, Orpheus, Atalanta, Castor and Pollux make their appearance here. Also, this version shows what happens when the argonauts return home and has a better, more tightly woven ending than the original. The special effects are impressive and I enjoyed the behind-the-scenes bickering between Zeus (Angus MacFadyen) and Hera (the lovely Olivia Williams). I also thought that this version's Hercules (Brian Thompson) was a lot more convincing than Nigel Green from the original.
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Format: DVD
This new version of the ancient story of Jason's quest for the golden fleece appears to have everything going for it: spectacular production design, gorgeous set decoration and costumes, and a cast of first rate actors, including Frank Langella, Adrian Lester, Derek Jacobi, Dennis Hopper, and many others.
Unfortunately, Jason London is cast in the title role, and appears to have absolutely no acting ability whatsoever. He delivers his lines in a lifeless monotone, and his closet approximation to real emotion could be charitably called "looking Concerned." True, he is hampered by a tepid script, but it's interesting to note how almost every other performer manages to inject some note of drama into his/her performance, whereas Our Hero wanders about like a zombie in a daze. You wonder why anyone would get on a boat with this guy, and when he does perform a heroic feat, it's hard to believe that he would be capable of such acts of valor.
Ultimately, in spite of impressive visuals and some very enjoyable performances by the supporting players, London's listless, zombie-like trance drags the production down, and this rather long movie (close to 3 hours) is flat and uninvolving. (I got through the first two hours; long enough to see the Golden Fleece recovered. I decided to pass on the voyage home --- another 45 minutes.)
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Format: DVD
This made-for-television film based on the Greek tale never quite seems to know where it�s headed. It is visually exciting, however, and it seems almost certain that this is exactly what the filmmakers were looking for that they might be able to hide the film�s flaws behind a morass of half-naked Amazon women, computer-generated dragons, harpies, and gorgon bulls.
The story revolves around the vengeance-seeking young man named Jason (played in a very cardboard manner by Jason London) who finds himself setting sail on a ship called the Argo (with the hand-picked crew known as Argonauts, of course) to fetch the Golden Fleece. Along the way, of course, in the tradition of such tales, there are many adventures and encounters with gods, men, and unnatural beasties. There is a love story of sorts hidden in there somewhere as well, but it�s quite unsympathetic. ...
The acting in Jason and the Argonauts ranges from shoddy to pretty good. Even the respectable actors acquired for the film sometimes manage to turn in pretty unstable performances. Dennis Hopper plays the villain of the piece (not surprisingly), the arch-enemy of Jason, and he seems to have a thing for embracing people and then stabbing them in the back. Frankly, it is a silly role, and played just so. There are other characters even more absurd - one who has the keenest eyes in the land and shouts �I see it!� every five seconds which is both annoying and laughable. But on the other side of the coin, there are characters that manage to keep Jason and the Argonauts interesting, such as Hercules (a very non-Kevin Sorbo performance that is pretty fun), the minstrel, and the bodyguard of Jason�s father who seeks redemption.
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Format: DVD
Let's forget the 1963 version and Ray Harryhausen's incomparable stop motion animation, and look at this Hallmark made for TV version on its own merits. Handsomely filmed and epically proportioned, JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS is a rousing, sometimes outstanding, version of this classic Greek myth. Nick Willing keeps the action moving fairly quickly, although at times it seems to outstay its welcome in terms of length. A surplus of padded shots including the hull of the Argos traipsing through the waters. Most of the special effects are very good: I particularly liked having Zeus and Hera in the heavens; it was not only metaphorically neat, but it was visually beautiful as well. Angus McFadyen as Zeus and Olivia Williams as Hera looked divine. The special effect that was below par was the mechanical bull; it seemed not only anachronistically out of place, but it looked cheesy. Also, the skeletons were nowhere near as frightening as those in Harryhausen's version (oops, I slipped and made a comparison!). The others, however, particularly the Harpies and Poseidon were ingenuous.

Brian Thompson's Hercules was the best performance; he seemed not only gigantically strong, but his bragging about his historic seven deeds was a nice addition. Dennis Hopper was basically boring as the evil king, and Frank Langella wasn't strong enough either. Natasha Henstridge's bit as the Amazon queen was fetching. The main problem with the cast was Jason London, who did not have the maturity or strength to carry the role. He seemed like a weak leader, one I would have been remiss to follow. London just doesn't have the chops to play such an integral role.

Overall, though, it's an entertaining version of the myth and looked sumptuous. Simon Boswell's score was also a highlight.
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