Wednesday, May 08, 2013

True Love


This man was not just a great stop-motion pioneer. Harryhausen was an animation auteur, someone who helped to prove that special effects and animation are an art form through which the craftsman's unique vision can easily match the technical aptitude utilized therein. His fantastic and beautiful monsters could be as appropriately horrible and grotesque as a story demanded, and yet, when they are slain, they so often have the sympathy of the audience. THAT is Ray Harryhausen. He literally LOVED his creations.

It is a fact that, with all due respect to the undoubtably talented directors/writers who officially headed the films that he worked on, Harryhausen was, deservedly, the de-facto embodiment of high-adventure-fantasy cinema; "Argonauts" and "Sinbad" were and always will be Harryhausen films. And all of this gorgeous movie artistry was more or less something that he did all on his own. It would be like if the late great Stan Winston personally modeled, animated and/or physically crafted every dinosaur in Jurassic Park! Of course, he wasn't trying to prove anything. That was just the way he liked to work.

So, (I have to reiterate) when you see the giant statue of Talos clutching his throat and writhing slowly to the ground in "Argonauts", or when the vicious dragon guardian is killed by the sailors in "7th Voyage" and you actually feel sad for these monsters, you know that that is Ray Harryhausen's personal touch--his stroke of true love and sympathy for the things that he made--that is shining through. I hope, beyond words, that this person is remembered. Even if it's only by the animators, prop fabricators, and SFX artists of today who love what they do and who knowingly preserve Ray's legacy and the fantastic things that he created for us, then I know that Harryhausen will live forever.


William, on the legacy of Ray Harryhausen


5 comments:

  1. On FB, I posted a small tribute to Ray Harryhausen:
    "Rest in peace, Ray Harryhausen.
    I recall reading about his parents actively supporting him as a child, encouraging him to pursue his interests and dreams. Reading this, meeting him, reaffirmed my own desire to support and nurture my children's dreams and aspirations. For all he gave and inspired, I am so thankful."

    And this morning I found William's comment. I realize he is not addressing me, but reading William's words, reflecting on the choices our son has made, and the good things he does, I am moved, and thankful to be William's mother... to be here, seeing him, knowing him, and enjoying this journey.

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  2. Natalie, you embody those types of parents who are lovingly and actively supporting their children.

    William, that was a wonderful essay. You brought to mind those and other images I've marveled at in his (yes, his!) movies. Thank you for sharing it.

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  3. Well, now I know why I always feel sorry for the monster! I even feel bad about the beast they keep stabbing in "Hotel California". I hate that line.

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  4. This was a wonderful essay, by the way.

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  5. True love, indeed. Well done, William!

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