Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Ray Harryhausen

So Ray Harryhausen has passed at the respectable age of 92.  For a long time, he was special effects.  I know that even today special effects is still a tedious time consuming process, but old timey stop motion animation takes a very special kind of person.

To be honest, I always thought his work looked a little jerky and flat, even if I admired the effort put into it.  I think Harryhausen tended to be a little ambitious; living statues, skeletons and things that you imagined as moving stiffly from articulated joints looked well, but he had to overdo it and constantly animated birds and flying reptiles.  Not good.

Credit also had to be given to the actors who mastered the almost impossible task of crossing swords with something that wasn't there and making it look like they were fighting for their lives.  I know you may have starved yourself down to 80 pounds or earned your quadruple blackbelt with sash and tassel for your art, but that doesn't make it good acting.

The movies themselves were also good.  Old fashioned escapist fiction set in exotic locales.  You couldn't make a Sinbad film like that today without some heavy handed moralizing about Arab and Islamic virtues, probably made to the uncouth and ignorant Sir Bubba d'Rednec.

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