Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Farewell, Ray Harryhausen

He was the father of some of cinema's most memorable monsters: Mighty Joe Young, the Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, the Ymir, the Cyclops, the Harpies, the Hydra,  the Kraken, Medusa, and an army of sword-swinging skeletons. The great Ray Harryhausen brought these creatures to life through the painstaking process of stop-motion animation and the more refined variation he invented called "Dynamation." The incredible detail of his models and their slightly jerky yet incredibly expressive movements were Harryhausen hallmarks. He is that ulta-rare special effects wizard who is more famous than the directors behind his films. I'm sure few people went to see Jason and the Argonauts because they're die-hard Don Chaffey fans. Director Desmond Davis certainly didn't create as big a buzz for Clash of the Titans as the man who made its mythical monsters shudder to life. Ray Harryhausen ended his feature film career with that 1981 movie (his only animation work since then was on a 2003 animated short based on "The Tortoise and the Hare"). Sadly, more than thirty years later, he too has passed at the age of 92.

The special effects world has changed a lot since Ray Harryhausen made the giant ape Mighty Joe Young move--move physically, and move audiences emotionally. Computer generated effects have all but replaced the kind of practical, "primitive" effects he pioneered. But as futuristic sophistication has overtaken fantasy films, the soul has gone out of so many of them. Ray Harryhausen put his soul into the films he made, and that made them soulful. He will be missed.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
All written content of Psychobabble200.blogspot.com is the property of Mike Segretto and may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.