Memories of Jason and the Argonauts (1963)

jason2I can remember seeing this movie when I was just a kid in school, and was lucky enough to see in class, though I don’t remember which one, but it was probably either English or History.  I’m not sure why I started this post that way, because I hate people who talk endlessly about their time in school.  It’s usually stories about people being stupid, which gets on my nerves.  Anyway, this movie stars nobody I knew at the time, and I still don’t, but I think it’s pretty well done overall, and the effects are amazing.  James Cameron probably saw this film and came up with his ending for The Terminator in the 80s.

jason4There are a LOT of movies based on Greek myth and guess what, you get a short paragraph about some I like.  The original Clash of the Titans (1981) is on the same level as this movie, but the effects are still better in Jason and the Argonauts.  300 (2006) is loosely based on Greek myth, and it’s a pretty good movie, though I think it’s overdramatic in a lot of places.  The Hercules TV show had a great following back in the day, but those are about all the Greek myth movies or shows I can think of.  That I like, anyway.

The effects in Jason and the Argonauts make the movie, and that’s why people still watch it.  The scene with the stop-motion skeletons is probably the best in the movie.  The effects seem way ahead of their time and even rival The Terminator in some ways.  Is a deformed Arnold who creeps along better than stop motion skeletons?  

jason3The effects were done by Ray Harryhausen, which is the best work on his resume.  He also worked on One Million Years B.C (1966), but he hasn’t had much impact on that movie’s popularity, if you know what I mean.  Jason and the Argonauts on the other hand, shows his talent.  20 Million Miles to Earth (1957) does have a monster sequence he worked on, but Jason has a lot more of that, and with better production quality.

Overall, that’s what I remember about Jason and the Argonauts, and that’s probably what I’ll always remember about it.  The story and the acting are pretty much secondary to the visuals, which is another thing that put it ahead of its time.  I can’t think of anyone who watches this movie for the performances, but there is more to enjoy than a simple re-enactment of Greek myth.  There’s life and creativity, thanks to Ray Harryhausen, and the direction isn’t too bad either.

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