Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Day Three Hundred and Thirty - Ray Harryhausen:Special Effects Titan, "We owe you so much, sir. Thank you."

You never really stop to think about who influences you as an artist, a writer, a creative... until someone actually presents you with the question, and it's amazing just how much of modern special effects driven cinema that we can trace, either directly or otherwise, to Ray Harryhausen.

Spanning the breadth of his filmography from his humble beginnings as a young animator to the grand stop motion auteur that we know him as from his later years in the industry, this doc goes to great lengths examining both his work and the way his movies have influence major motion picture directors and artists. Everyone from John Lasseter to Ray Bradbury to Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg, pretty much every big name in Hollywood when it comes to fantasy, horror, and scifi makes an appearance, explaining just how much they've benefited from his example.

Not only was it nice to see old favorites that I actually am familiar with, like Clash of the Titans and Jason & the Argonauts, but I had no idea about films like the Beast from 20000 Fathoms or Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger. I've found so many old fantasy flicks that I really want to watch now. Octopus movies, dinosaur movies, fairy tales... they all look creepy and amazing!

It's also pretty cool that they have plenty of candid conversations with the man, himself, talking about pretty much his entire career over the course of an hour and a half. So often, docs like this rely on second and (irk) third party sources, so it's nice to have some first-hand testimonials to get a real feel for the practical stuff that happened on set.

If you're any fan of filmmaking and old fantasy classics, this is an entertaining doc with lots of familiar faces, both from real people and maquettes that have been ingrained in your memories from the collective unconsciousness. Check it out!

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

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