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Ray Harryhausen

Posted at 19:12 on June 28th, 2013 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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So, after Mr. Harryhausen's death last month, I took all those great films he worked on off my DVD shelf and watched them again – from The 7th Voyage of Sinbad to Clash of the Titans. I was blown away that many of them were not just every bit as good as I remembered them, but some scenes were even better! There were many geniunly creepy and exciting moments in there!

One scene I really loved is the skeleton fight at the end of Jason and the Argonauts. In one of those modern-day superhero films which try to be oh-so-'gritty', you would have customed musclemen beating the skeletons up while making impossibly acrobatic jumps. Here, you have an intense fight with most of the guys dying, because no matter how often they seem to beat the skeletons, they always get up again. And when they deliver the final blow to one of the heroes, they give an menacing smirk! The main protagonist takes a dangerous plunge from a cliff to desperately escape in the end.

Of course, this also reminded me of an affectionate tribute video which we briefly discussed right in this place ten years ago ;)

So, any particular Harryhausen moments you'd like to share?
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Edited by Mr Creosote at 19:43 on June 28th, 2013
Posted at 13:29 on June 29th, 2013 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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The 'trick' with the 'Trickfilm' (as animations are called in German) is making the stop-motion parts look real, yet artificial enough to give them that eerie, unnerving feeling which makes them so magical. And while I don't know that many of his films, judging from the animations I do know, Ray Harrihausen was a master of this art, this balancing act between the real and the surreal.

The one film, he worked in, that stuck to my mind is 'The Golden Voyage of Sinbad' (or 'Sindbads gefährliche Abenteuer'), especially the black sorcerer (an incredibly cool character, which made me want to play one myself in my pen&paper roleplaying group) with his homunculus or the scene with the statue of Kali. Those unliving things moved in an almost natural way, but it was not natural enough to become really 'alive', which made my flesh crawl. Just take a look at the trailer and you will know what I mean. Hmmm… I need to get a copy of that movie, time to do some catching up again.

PS: Oh boy, that tribute video… I am speechless… please, make the hurting stop. :P
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Posted at 14:59 on June 29th, 2013 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Originally posted by Herr M. at 13:29 on June 29th, 2013:
The one film, he worked in, that stuck to my mind is 'The Golden Voyage of Sinbad' (or 'Sindbads gefährliche Abenteuer'), especially the black sorcerer (an incredibly cool character, which made me want to play one myself in my pen&paper roleplaying group) with his homunculus or the scene with the statue of Kali.

Oh, yes, Golden Voyage is another of the really good ones! The evil sorcerer is actually played by 'Dr Who' Tom Baker and I thought John Phillip Law makes quite a passable (blue-eyed) Sinbad (unlike his successor Patrick Wayne – urk). The Kali fight scene is absolutely incredible! What I liked most about this film is how the bad guy noticeably ages every time he uses his magic. That is a very cool concept.

Another one which doesn't get nearly enough love is Mysterious Island, in my opinion (trailer). That film extends on Jules Verne's story, which honestly is fairly unadventurous, so well… and of course, it has the great Herbert Lom in it. Who also more or less recently passed away. So many of my all-time favourite film people and writers dying lately :(
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Edited by Mr Creosote at 15:18 on June 29th, 2013
Posted at 21:49 on July 2nd, 2013 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Originally posted by Mr Creosote at 14:59 on June 29th, 2013:
What I liked most about this film is how the bad guy noticeably ages every time he uses his magic. That is a very cool concept.

Yes, I almost had forgotten about it! That was great and certainly had a lot more style than an arbitrary mana counter.

Originally posted by Mr Creosote at 14:59 on June 29th, 2013:
Mysterious Island

With Superdynamation, whatever that's supposed to be. :D I like that sinister wasp creature, though the jumping bird is nice too. While you can clearly tell that they are artificial, it still looks better than any cgi thingy could.

Originally posted by Mr Creosote at 14:59 on June 29th, 2013:
So many of my all-time favourite film people and writers dying lately :(

Mabye it's the raised awareness? You know, once you get aware of the fact that some of them are dying, you notice how many of them have gone.
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