“The gods are best served by those who want their help least.“
Ray Harryhausen was once one of the most recognisable names in Hollywood, and the man’s work will forever be acknowledged as among the most influential on modern CGI. Many of the films he worked on are actually quite forgettable outside of the signature stop motion model animation Harryhausen contributed, often creating larger than life monsters that looked and moved more realistically than had ever been seen before. Jason and the Argonauts was certainly among the best of them.
It’s cited most frequently for the ambitious sequence in which the ‘argonauts’ fight multiple fully functioning skeleton models on screen at once, yet there is another part of the movie which I remember more fondly. The sight of the huge bronze man known as ‘Talos’, pursuing the argonauts across the Isle of Bronze (as seen above), was in fact one of my very first memories of film (I’m not quite sure how or why). Needless to say it seemed much more frightening to my tiny self back then than it does on repeat viewings now, but let that not detract from the sentimental attachment I still feel to this classic movie.
The story is rooted in Greek Mythology. It follows Jason of Thessaly as he bids to find and retrieve the Golden Fleece, with the help of a crew known as the argonauts. Along the way they encounter many obstacles, not least the aforementioned Talos, most of which are more interesting than the plot itself. That’s the unfortunate consequence of such a film as this; the visual effects are ultimately its main attraction, though when they are as revolutionary as what we see here, you don’t so much mind that. Modern Hollywood; take note!