Ray Harryhausen: The Early Years Collection
- 3h 53m
The master of special effects
When it comes to the world of stop motion animation, Ray Harryhausen has essentially everyone beat. He was a monumental figure in this field of animation for many reasons, but I feel it has a lot to do with how tirelessly he pursued it. Stop motion is one of the most frustrating and exhausting (both mentally and physically) types of animation a person can set their mind to, mainly since everything has to be done perfectly. All it takes is for you to make one wrong move and weeks of work can be destroyed. Not just this, but if you take too long doing the animating process, the lighting can appear inconsistent when the finished product is viewed because it took so long to record. Harryhausen was a master at harnessing this difficult art to create amazing animated shorts that would influence movie makers for decades to come. A unique feature of this dvd set is the fact that the shorts shown here all are remastered and look much better than they used to. Also shown is one of Ray's most famous stories: The Tortoise and the Hare. It also has a special feature that involves him discussing how it was made, which is sure to have been a grueling process. Probably my favorite aspect of this set is the inclusion of various shorts Harryhausen completed during his experiments with stop motion, but were overlooked for one reason or another. These include a commercial for Lucky Strike cigarettes (which has dancing cigarette boxes pulled by strings), an alien from War of the Worlds emerging from its spacecraft, and even some animations focused on world war 2. One of these, titled "How To Bridge a Gorge", has an alternate ending that depicts a swastika flag being pulled down a flagpole and an american flag being hoisted in its place, all the while triumphant music plays and the background shows the statue of liberty. Ray talks about why he chose to omit that ending, saying he "was a little embarrassed by it." Besides these things I just mentioned, there are definitely a lot more things included on these two discs. The second one contains things that are not really Ray's works in a film sense of the word but they still feature him. One of the most interesting recordings on here is a meeting where Harryhausen and Ray Bradbury talk to each other. In addition, the second disc has a good amount of drawings and rare photographs that are virtually impossible to find anywhere else. I can talk about the other excellent contents of this collection (story of King Midas and Rapunzel particularly) if I wish, but I'd be writing this until next week. The bottom line is this set of 2 dvds is a must have for any person who is a fan of Harryhausen or is interested in stop motion film making.
- Jul 12, 2021
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