Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Ray Harryhausen: "If you make fantasy too real, it loses the quality of a dream."

AMEN! I was watching Life of Pi last night thinking, "Okay, that's a pretty impressive and realistic-looking computer-generated tiger and all... but...". This weird kind of feeling - attributed to a phenomenon called "uncanny valley" - has yet, for me anyway, to be overcome by CGI, no matter how good it looks. There's so such problem with Harryhausen's pioneering stop-motion animation creations. The hand-crafted charm, the jittery quality, the fact that an actual three-dimensional object was photographed, the onus being on the viewer to do some work filling in the gaps - these elements make, say the skeleton army in Jason and the Argonauts, feel a whole lot more real than some of the slick, overblown CGI effects we've seen and been accustomed to in recent years.

Anywho Ray Harryhausen's passing is a great loss to the film world. Without this guy there would be no Star Wars, no Jurassic Park, no The Thing, no Nightmare Before Christmas etc!  A lot of Hollywood's greatest and most memorable creatures, aliens and monsters simply would not exist.

Here's a pretty good comp of Harryhausen's work:
If you 'd like to catch up on some of the films he's worked on, this is a list of what we've got in our library:

The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms
It Came from Beneath the Sea
Earth vs the Flying Saucers
20 Million Miles to Earth
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad
Mysterious Island
Jason and the Argonauts
First Men in the Moon
One Millions Years B.C.
The Valley of Gwangi
The Golden Voyage of Sinbad
Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger
Clash of the Titans

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