‘Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan'
(Ray Harryhausen, et al / Blu ray / NR / (2011) 2016 / Arrow Films UK)
Overview: 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’.
Blu-ray Verdict: Man, well, what can be said other than what the plot says: This is the definitive documentary about Ray Harryhausen?! Aside from interviews with the great man himself, shot over five years, there are also interviews and tributes from Vanessa Harryhausen, Tony Dalton, Randy Cook, Peter Jackson, Nick Park, Phil Tippet, Peter Lord, Terry Gilliam, Dennis Muren, Rick Baker, John Landis, Ken Ralston, Guillermo Del Toro, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Robert Zemeckis, James Cameron, Steven Spielberg and many, many more.
For anyone with even the slightest love or fondness for the great old effects pictures of old, this is a must see. The format of the documentary explores the master's work in chronological order, starting out with his earliest efforts in the 1940s and concluding with his 1981 epic, CLASH OF THE TITANS. There's no negative stuff here, just a celebration of the techniques that made his films so famous. The running time flies past and you're left wanting more; what else is there to say than that?
It is well worth commenting on the fact that the multitude of clips, trailers and soundtrack music (and not just from Harryhausen's own movies, also from those he has influenced) mean that a number of studios have provided clearances for their properties to be included in this documentary. That said, and if I had one “criticism“, it is that the film doesn't add a great deal for anyone who has already taken a great interest in Harryhausen's career. It's a bit like getting a Greatest Hits album from an artist where you already have everything they have released. But for an overview of the man's career and a record of how his peers regard him and his work, it is without equal, and a most necessary film. This is a new High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
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
On the set of Sinbad
Paris Cinematheque Q&A
London Gate Theater Q&A
Audio commentary with the filmmakers
Ray Harryhausen Trailer Reel