Wednesday, May 8, 2013

RIP Ray Harryhausen

  I'm fortunate to have been born during the era of the 'Monster Kid'...and the work of Ray Harryhausen was a big part of that time. I remember pestering my parents to take my brothers and I to the local drive-in to see The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, and later Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger. I recall watching Mighty Joe Young for the first time, and meeting a cinematic ape I loved even more than Kong...seeing cowboys trying to round-up an allosaurus in The Valley of Gwangi...aliens destroying Washington D.C. in Earth vs The Flying Saucers...the Children of the Hydra's Teeth in Jason and the many, many more. Harryhausen was one of the great architects of imagination during that special time. His films have a sense of wonder and adventure that is sadly lacking in today's cinema.
   Harryhausen's creations didn't just move across the screen...they came to life. He instilled his stop-motion monsters with character that has yet to be duplicated in the CGI realm(and Gollum from LOTR doesn't count, because that was rotoscoped/motion-capture of Andy Sirkis' performance, not created from thin air, as it were). Check out the title character from Mighty Joe Young, if you don't believe me, or maybe those creepy skeletal Children of the Hydra's Teeth, or the prince-turned-baboon and the Troglodyte from Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger...Harryhausen's body of work has many examples such as these. 

   Harryhausen retired from filmmaking years ago, and now he's retired from this mortal world...luckily for us, his films remain, waiting for us whenever we feel like stepping into another world for a while...a world of apes, dinosaurs, monsters, and adventure...thank you, Ray. Rest In Peace.


Charles Gramlich said...

Amen, brother. I've seen his creations in my dreams.

Unknown said...

Loved this tribute to Ray. it brought back some great memories.

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