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Ray Harryhausen’s Restored Skeletons and Monsters - and a Bonus

If the name Ray Harryhausen means nothing to you, you must either be quite young or simply don't pay attention to film credits. He is gone now but until recently was THE foremost expert on stop-motion animation and its attendant special effects. As such, he was paid homage in Pixar's Monsters, Inc., wherein an upscale restaurant was named after him.

He apprenticed under Willis J. O'Brien, the genius behind 1933's King Kong. He later came into his own and was responsible for the visual effects in 1963's Jason and the Argonauts, embedded below, and 1981's Clash of the Titans, among many others.

He kept the many of the articulated models used in filming and these have been restored to as-new working condition. Their story can be found here.

I saw his film Jason and the Argonauts in the theater and was amazed. Of course, I was only 11 years old at the time. But his work stands up well even in this age of CGI; look at the site referenced and then view the embedded film. How much time and effort must that have taken to film all that? Short answer: Quite a lot.

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I hope you're right, but then I also hope that my assorted health issues will just go away. Not optimistic in either case.
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Well my friend, despite your negative nelly-ism I will continue to hope for signs of new life in this area of animation. 'Til then, here's to sharing the joy of everything stop-motion from the California Raisins to The (FREAKY) Adventures of Mark Twain!
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But stop-motion animation has rapidly become a lost art, desirable as it is. And I've seen some truly awful CGI effects but don't remember any awful stop-motion animation. Even the primitive stop-motion in 1925's The Lost World and 1933's King Kong is memorable. Unfortunately, production companies are run by bean-counters and technology freaks like George Lucas (who thought dazzling special effects could overcome any shortcomings in a script). The Nightmare Before Christmas has charm that a CGI version would never have. Yet, due to its cost, stop-motion animation is going the way of B&W television. Sad to say.
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I hope you're wrong, at least with film students. There's something endearingly raw and tactile about his creatures, and CGI's slick blending of texture and movement eliminates elements of frailty and surprise to me . Whatever spirit inhabits and animates them (self-directed or remote like a golem) they have a stubborn life force that demands attention and respect. Is it nuts that the Titan (in the video above) just stood and watched Jason unscrew his "Achillles heel" instead of just stomping on him? Yup. But Harryhausen's millisecond magic has lead to the gradual reveal of the giant's intellectual limitations. Confusion, then consternation cross his face as his "life blood" pours out, and when he finally falls and breaks apart I can't help but feel pity. That's memorable storytelling! :)
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