Jason and the Argonauts (1963)

Wow, this brought back some memories - although its the first time I've seen the film as a whole. Jason and the Argonauts is a fine example of model stop frame animation techniques with none other than Ray Harryhausen, featuring some magnificent creatures of Greek mythology.

The story is a classic tale of adventure, as we follow Jason and his companions in their quest to obtain the gift of the Gods that is the Golden Fleece. Its nothing particularly special, but the lore of Greek mythology is always intriguing enough with almighty Gods, raging titans and other beastly creatures.

As Jason undergoes several trials and tribulations, Harryhausen brings alive several Greek mythological creatures through the art of stop motion animation. Bearing similarities to the techniques of Willis O'Brien's King Kong (1933) and Ladislaw Starewicz's The Mascot (1933), the techniques in animation have certainly improved with Harryhausen's effort in Jason and the Argonauts. With cleaner, much more complex movements and a greater variety of shots - scenes such as the several headed beast and the final skeleton duel were a real treat.

The use of scale is certainly something to behold, achieving great towering titans that dwarf mountains for a definite epic quality. It further demonstrates the technical and cinematic achievement in the film, creating some iconic moments that we all implicitly remember - particularly with the titan of Talos.

In closing, Jason and the Argonauts will remain host to some of the finest examples in model stop motion animation in film. The achievement is undeniable which no doubt inspired many feature films of cinema and animation to come.


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