Cinetv Contest 78 : A movie full of special effects Vintage- Jason and the Argonauts.
When I was a kid, Saturday TV always showed movies that included mythological heroes such as Hercules, Ulysses, and even a biblical hero: Sanson. But there was one film that stood out among the rest called Jason and the Argonauts, which focused on Jason's quest for a golden fleece, which he must obtain to regain the throne usurped from his deceased father. The evil King Pelias promised him to return the kingdom (which belongs to him) if he recovers the artifact. To do so, he gathers a group of heroes (Hercules among them) and sets sail on the Argo to find it.
The Argonauts go through a thousand dangers, there is action, complications, betrayals and many gods behaving like spoiled children. Zeus is dedicated to put stones in the way of the heroes and allows the goddess Hera to help Jason only five times.
This is a film that, seen today, seems somewhat ingenuous, but still marvels with its special effects, the film is a masterpiece of stop-motion.
Today those special effects may seem very vintage, but at the time they were unprecedented. The film is pure entertainment, without great pretensions, with great moments of wonderful adventure.
These special effects were pioneering at a time when there were no computers but camera tricks, stop-motion and miniatures.
The guilty was the influential and universally respected Ray Harryhausen, master of stop-motion and practical effects.
The film, made in 1963, may look very different from how fantasy and cinema is understood today, but it continues to impress today because of the aesthetic sense of its special effects, it is a made to measure fantastic.
The film basically shows us The Hero's Way extrapolated to the Greek myths in cinematic format. Watching Jason and the Argonauts is the visual equivalent of listening to a myth or reading a fantasy novel.
One has in front of one's eyes the wonder, the fascination with giants, mythical monsters, gods. Harryhausen builds together with director Don Chaffey indelible scenes. The final battle against the army of skeletons is so beautiful that it thrills. Delirious, shocking, scary and thrilling at the same time.
The film is full of terribly bad dialogue, silly moments and bad acting. And yet, it's great given the magnificence of the special effects created by Ray Harryhausen.
As I said before, today this technology applied in the film seems Vintage to us, it was patented under the name of dynamation and created by Harryhausen in 1953. This technique allowed characters to interact with monsters and fantastic creatures in stop-motion, being a great precedent for the special effects industry and for animation in general.
As filmmakers moved away from the Dynamotion stop-motion technique and began using more and more optical and digital special effects, his influence was not as noticeable, but notable directors such as George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, Tim Burton, James Cameron and Sam Raimi cite Harryhausen and his technique as a major influence on their work.
This film is pure fantasy and has more to do with the myths of the past offering more scope for a diversity of images and ideas. The fantasy has a poetic appeal that radiates with adventure and warmth.
Those seven skeletons fighting the Argonauts still reverberate in my mind when I talk about fantastic cinema, proving indelible and astonishing to me even today.
The whole film is an example of vintage technology, which can still be seen in films like Star Wars, Beetlejuice and Robocop and Army of Darkness.
Army of Darkness.
This is my entry in the CineTV Contest #78 - Favorite Movie with Vintage Technology Link Here. I am commenting on the film from the point of view of a technology that was used for its realization, and that many unwittingly qualify as vintage without realizing that this has been a source of inspiration for great filmmakers and great works.
Best wishes to everyone in the community, and good luck to the participants of this interesting initiative.
This is the source of the first image Source.
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