Saturday, May 22, 2010

Jason and the Argonauts (1963)

Director: Don Chaffey

Starring: Todd Armstrong, Nancy Kovack, Honor "Pussy Galore" Blackman and Nigel Green

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: The epic story that was destined to stand as a colossus of adventure!

Plot: The legendary Greek hero leads a team of intrepid adventurers in a perilous quest for the legendary Golden Fleece.

My Rating: 7/10

Would I watch it again? Yes, but without as much anticipation as the last time

This is part of the TRAILER TRASH PROJECT - #15 from SWORD & SANDAL TRAILERS VOL. 1.

It goes without saying that anything Ray Harryhausen does is remarkable....but then I just said it, so there. The films might not be home runs but his stop motion work is always stupendously amazing. For my money his best film, without question, is The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad (1958). Now that's not sayin' it's his best work but as an adventure film of it's type, you just can't beat it.

Here Harryhausen steps up his game by having Jason fight not one skeleton like Sinbad did, but fight 7 or 8 of them THAT SPRING FROM BENEATH THE GROUND!!! Fucking badass!

The harpies kick ass and once you see the current remake of Harryhausen's CLASH OF THE TITANS you'll appreciate them even more. In the CLASH remake you never get a good look at them so you can't enjoy their design or anything. They're just a blur. But I'm not going to waste time on that stale film here. Ooh...the Hydra!

The Talos scene is just too cool for school! He moves just as you would expect him to. The stop motion technique is particularly suited for this sort of effect, bringing the giant bronze statue to life.

Bernard Herrmann is back with another fine score even if it's less memorable than the excellent notes he composed for SINBAD. The actors do a fine job with all of them holding their own.

The standout for me is the delicious Honor Blackmon as Zeus' babe, Hera. HUBBA FREAKIN' HUBBA! I was mesmerized by her beauty and that smooth, sultry voice of hers. YOWZA! She could read the back of a cereal box and get me excited. She's that good. She needs to have my babies.

Madea, Jason's gal pal, also needs to carry my seed...

With all of the great effects set pieces, I know what you're thinkin'. Hey, Scorethefilm, what's not to like? Well, I'll tell ya. It feels like forever before Jason and pals journey off to search for the Golden Fleece. But once the voyage begins, it's fun, fun, fun.

Another drawback is the half hour of the film deals with the prophecy that Jason is destined to kill King Aeetes. Jason unknowingly meets the king and the king, knowing the prophecy, sets Jason on his quest for the Fleece in a bid to buy him some more time. The problem is the film ends with Jason getting the fleece and he's back on the ship with his new girl, Medea. End of story. Oh, Zeus does tell Hera that he has more adventures for him. WTF? Wasn't there some destined murder that was supposed to happen? You know, the one you spent nearly a half hour setting up? Whatever. The second half of the film is so strong that you wonder why the effort to set it up the way they did. Oh, well. At least there's that badass skeleton fight.

It's been far too many years since I was in school learning about Greek mythology but I seem to recall Hercules being a macho badass with not only brawn but brains. Here's he's not the bulky Steve Reeves type (although the actor, Nigel Green, was 6'4"). I can get past that but he's portrayed as a cocky jock with little ability to think and lots of ability to make incredibly stupid decisions. It's just sad. I really need to dig into some Greek mythology books and refresh my memory. I'm sure Hercules just wasn't that dumb. I mean, shit! Lou Ferrigno played Hercules in the Italian 1983 film and he won the Nobel Prize for his work in nuclear fission. He's also the guy who created that little thing called THE INTERNET! Not to mention his high score for Galaga, which has gone unbroken since 1986!

Say, what's that guy on the left looking at?

Despite the plot inconsistencies, JASON is a lot of fun and the kind of adventure films they just don't make anymore. Fuck CGI. Give me stop motion any day. Damn kids these days and their stupid cartoon monsters...

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