Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan (2011) (Special Edition) (Blu-ray Review)
Directed By: Gilles Penso
Starring: Ray Harryhausen, Peter Jackson, Terry Gilliam
Rated: PG/Region AB/1:78/1080p/Number of Discs 1
Available from Arrow Video
The remarkable career of the movie industry s most admired and influential special-effects auteur, the legendary Ray Harryhausen, is the subject of Gilles Penso s definitive documentary Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan. Leaving no doubt as to Harryhausen s seminal influence on modern-day special effects, the documentary features enlightening and entertaining interviews with the man himself, Randy Cook, Peter Jackson, Nick Park, Phil Tippet, Terry Gilliam, Dennis Muren, John Landis, Guillermo del Toro, James Cameron, Steven Spielberg and much more. These filmmakers, who today push the boundaries of special effects movie-making, pay tribute to the father of Stop Motion animation and films such as The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms , It Came from Beneath the Sea , The 7th Voyage of Sinbad , Mysterious Island , Jason and the Argonauts and The Golden Voyage of Sinbad the films that enthralled them as children and inspired them to become filmmakers in their own right.
If you are a big fan of old school monster and sci-fi flicks then I’m more than sure you’ve seen the stop-motion/art of effects legend Ray Harryhausen. His work was in such films as 1955’s It Came from Beneath the Sea, 1981’s Clash of the Titans, 1961’s Mysterious Island, and soo much more. This doc here about the late Ray Harryhausen is basically a who’s who in the world of effects and movies just talking about how influential, creative, awesome, and any other positive word you can think of describing someone that Harry is/was. It is a very nice look at how the man came to do what he is known for, how he did it, and how it progressed from start to finish. As a fan of both effects and documentaries, I had a good time with this one. I could understand where it might not be everyone’s cup of tea if you aren’t as into such things as I am, but I dug it personally. Anyone who has dived into movie effects or stop motion might be the most interested in this doc. It isn’t just all talking heads either, as this disc also comes with some cool never before seen footage of effects and other neat things in the extras like reels.
For HD fans out there you will notice the quality seems to be up and down a bit. When people are talking it doesn’t look bad, but some of the footage is sourced from various places of various quality and it can really take away from the overall detail in spots. Don’t get me wrong, it is still an awesome doc in my opinion but the Blu-ray doesn’t always look awesome but given the date of some things I could hope that would be expected. All in all, I think most will find this to be a nice watch. I always like hearing such greats as Joe Dante, Peter Jackson, Steven Spielberg, and other key directors talk. It just so happens that the subject at hand here is Ray Harryhausen and the end results are a doc that gives a worthy look to a man who is very much someone people need to know about and praise. If the doc isn’t enough on its own, you’ll also be happy to find extra interview snippets, an audio commentary, other such things as Q and A on the extras to help hammer this one home.
– Interviews with Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, Peter Lord, Rick Baker
– 12 Interview outtakes with Joe Dante, John Lasseter, Nick Park and more!
– A message to Ray
– Deleted Scenes
– On the set of Sinbad
– Paris Cinematheque Q&A
– London Gate Theater Q&A
– Audio commentary with the filmmakers
– Original Trailer
– Ray Harryhausen Trailer Reel
Quality of Transfer: 83%