Jason and the Argonauts

Jason and the Argonauts (1963) movie poster

(1963) director Don Chaffey
viewed: 08/21/10 at the Castro Theatre, SF, CA

Celebrating animator/special effects legend Ray Harryhausen’s 90th birthday, the Castro Theatre booked a series of his films for the weekend.  Each day featured a different triple feature.  Saturday, it was The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974) and Jason and the Argonauts (1963).  Sunday featured It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955), Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956), and 20 Million Miles to Earth (1957).  The kids and I have watched most of these over the past few years, as well as a few others of his films, so I was keen on taking them down to the Castro to see them on the big screen.  But I didn’t think they’d last through a double feature, much less a triple feature, so I had to pick one…and I opted for Jason and the Argonauts because it’s Harryhausen’s favorite of his films.

It was kind of funny because it had been 3 years since we’d watched the film, still quite within my memory span, but not in Clara’s (she might not have sat through it the first time anyways) and vaguely for Felix.  We watched both the Talos (the giant bronze statue come to life) sequence and the famed skeleton fight on YouTube to warm them up and get them excited about it.  And actually, when it came time to head down to the Castro, we had an entire entourage with us.

Clara kept wanting to hide her eyes when the monsters came on screen and the adventure kicked in.  I told her, “This is the best part, don’t hide your eyes!” Because really, the films without the animation are tolerable, but nothing spectacular.  But of all the films Jason and the Argonauts features some of the cooler monsters, but also one of the more cohesive and logical storylines.

I was a little torn between seeing Jason and the Argonauts and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.  As a kid, I think my favorite was the latter, mainly because I liked the cyclops and the dragon more than Talos.  And The 7th Voyage of Sinbad features a skeleton fight, too.  Only with one skeleton, not the seven or so that go all out in the Jason and the Argonauts finale.  A good time was had by all, but I did find myself a bit wishing that I’d caught another film or two of the series.

What with having watched A Town Called Panic (2009) the night before, the kids have a pretty passionate appreciation for stop-motion animation.  Me, I like the monsters.  We all like Harryhausen.

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