And they come with no warning,
nature loves her little surprises.
Continual crisis!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Ray Harryhausen

Some of you aren't old enough to remember the time before CGI (or motion-tracking cameras and blue screen). Way back in the caveman days of color cinema, special effects had to be done the old fashioned way, with clay models and stop-motion effects and paint on glass and masks (not the thing you wear on your head). In that day of wearing bearskins and hunting the buffalo with flint knives, no one person was better at this than Ray Harryhausen.

I have a complex relationship with Harryhausen films. My brother tormented me with watching them when I was young. But as I grew older I was able to appreciate the art that was the b-movie special effects extravaganzas he helped produce and animated. Things like Jason and the Argonauts. Who doesn't have some memory of the classic fight with skeletons (expect to see clips of that on the news about his death). The immortal Sinbad movies. He and his comrades of garage animators did tons and tons of special effects for other flixs (giant radioactive ants anyone?). Our current love affair with special effects comes directly from the work Ray and his compatriots pioneered.

Mr. Harryhausen was such an icon, the restaurant in Dreamwork's Monsters, Inc was named after him. And when they make nods in your direction from animated films, that's when you know you've made it big.

Thanks, Ray, for all those movies of my youth and for being the inspiration that allows us to enjoy the movies of our tomorrows.


Steve Finnell said...
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Steve Buchheit said...

Hey Steve, if you would like to comment on the subject matter of this post, please do. But please, no comment spam.