Tuesday, February 6, 2018
Jason And The Argonauts!
The greatest movie ever made? Some folks might well think so. This one has it all adventure fans -- mythic heroes, mythic monsters, lush settings, grim villains, shining heroes, beautiful damsels, looming gods, and a journey to the end of the world to save the world itself.
Jason and the Argonauts is considered by many to be the pinnacle of Ray Harryhausen's art. I don't really dispute that, but I do love so many of his other creations (especially Gwangi and Kali) that I hesitate for selfish reasons. But watching this one for the umpteenth time, I was swept away by the saga of young man seeking to redress the dreadful wrongs which were visited upon him and his family by a murderous man overcome with a lust for power.
Talos, the mighty titan who strides in his enormous bronze glory is perhaps Harryhausen's single greatest creation. The metal giant's stiff movements are perfectly handled and fit inside the story ideally. His threat is immense and his demise is clever. There is loss and even the mighty Hercules is at a loss to deal with it.
And then we have the skeleton crew. The battle against the the Argonauts and the sword-wielding skeletons is considered the single best thing in the whole Harryhausen canon. It's mighty and awesome and its technical achievement is incredible. It's always a hoot to see and I love how the skeletons screech as they dash into battle.
But all the delightful special effects would be wasted (as they were in later Schneer-Harryhausen efforts) if the story and the production weren't of equal value. And in the case of Jason and the Argonauts that's the case. We have a top-notch cast doing very creditable things with characters from the mists of myth. There is not too much of the Olympian gods in this one (something which I think hurts the later Clash of the Titans) or maybe the motivations of the gods is better. The story of Jason is a wonderful tale of revenge, justice, and bravery, a yarn ready made for solid talent. And this one has it. The score too keeps the action in focus and doesn't distract.
All in all it's a mighty movie, full visual feasts and a great story to follow. That's what movies are supposed to be.