Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan REVIEW

Ray Harryhausen – Special Effects Titan film review: Everybody Loves Ray

Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan.

That's definitely not a fair fight.


Release Date: 9 November 2012
PG | 97 minutes
Distributor: Arrow Films
Director: Gilles Penso
Interviewees: Ray Harryhausen, James Cameron, Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro, Terry Gilliam

Packed with movie CG practitioners trying to convince us that they truly believe stopmotion was better, Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan could easily have become a one-and-a-half hour exercise in non-stop idol worship that and mawkish platitudes. That it doesn’t comes down to one important factor: you genuinely believe they mean it.

And there are some heavy-hitters here lining up to pay homage to the man behind the creatures (we’d use the more alliteratively pleasing “monsters”, but Harryhausen himself insists on calling them creatures) in films such as Jason And The Argonauts, The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad and Clash Of The Titans: James Cameron, Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro and Terry Gilliam all admit he was an influence on today’s sci-fi and fantasy. If you think they may be exaggerating, a compare and contrast shot of the Kali in Golden Voyage and General Grievous in Revenge Of The Sith settles the argument.

This documentary is unashamedly a tribute, celebrating the only FX technician in film history whose name in a movie’s credits was more important than its stars or director. It tracks his career film by film, and boasts lots of rare or unseen behind-the-scenes footage and images. It never really gets under the skin of the man himself, but then it never intends to. So while a little light and fluffy – and not offering much insight or info that hasn’t been covered in the numerous books on Harryhausen – it’s a wonderful celebration of his work.

Dave Golder twitter.com/DaveGolder

Watch the Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan trailer.
Read our Ray Harryhausen’s Fantasy Scrapbook review.
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