Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Fantastic Films of Ray Harryhausen - Legendary Monster Series |
Jason and the Argonauts / The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad / The Golden Voyage of Sinbad / Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger / The 3 Worlds of Gulliver
Actors: Todd Armstrong, Nancy Kovack, Gary Raymond, Laurence Naismith, Niall MacGinnis
Genres: Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Ent Release Date: 12/28/2004
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Classic Matinee Fantasy from the FX Master
Mr. Greenlake | New York City, NY USA | 02/02/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When Special Effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen received his lifetime acheivement Oscar, Tom Hanks said that anyone who was a boy of 10 in the 1960's will tell you that "Jason and The Argonauts" is one of the greatest movies ever made.
Jason is here, with the living giant bronze statue, the vicious harpies, and of course the many-headed Hydra and its "children." Terrific stop-motion fun for all ages. And without the aid of (yawn) computers, you just have to wonder, "How did he do that?"
Also in this bundle is Gulliver (see if you can spot June Thorburn, the grandmother from Absolutely Fabulous, in an early role), 7th Voyage of Sinbad ('50's-era innocence with the first dueling skeleton on film, not to mention the future Mrs. Bing Crosby), and Golden Voyage of Sinbad (Dance of death with six-armed goddess Kali and Tom Baker of Dr. Who fame).
Eye of the Tiger, on the other hand, is of "so bad its good"/MST3000 caliber--with the Duke's son, Patrick Wayne as So-bad--I mean, Sinbad--and chanteuse Margaret Whiting in her first (and last) dramatic role as the evil sorceress. And yes, that's Dr. Quinn/Jane Seymour wondering how she'll ever live this one down as a buxom princess with a baboon for a brother. I'm not kidding.
An extra treat with this set are the scores for Jason, 7th Voyage, and Gulliver by legendary screen composer Bernard Herrmann (Citizen Kane, Psycho). Juicy stuff.
Anybody who likes good old-fashioned matinee fantasy will want to own these treats."
Harryhausen's great fantasy films
Jim Mann | Pittsburgh, PA USA | 10/13/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ray Harryhausen is responsible for two of the best fantasty films ever made: Jason and the Argonauts and The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad. The Golden Voyage of Sinbad is also a good film, though not up to the level of the first Sinbad film.
The 3 Worlds of Gulliver is minor and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger is a step down from the other two Sinbad films (though still with some good moments).
Missing from this collection is another interesting if flawed Harryhausen fantasy: Clash of the Titans. It would have been nice to have had that as part of the set."
A Monstrous Collection
Bookworm | Marietta, Georgia United States | 01/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I remember seeing "The 7th Voyage of Sinbad" in its original theatrical release. When the evil magician amuses the Caliph, Sinbad, and the court by combining a servant with a cobra was scary enough, but the climactic fight to the death between the dragon (fire-breathing as per expectations) and the Cyclops gave me the willies for a full week! "Jason and the Argonauts" had heros, gods, fantastic creatures, and a cameo by Hercules himself, so what's not to like? The other Sinbad films are here too, but none really match "The 7th Voyage. . ." Also included is the not as well known but, in my opinion, superb live-action "The Three Worlds of Gulliver" (which attempted to preserve some of Swift's satire far better than Max Fliescher's annimated "Gulliver's Travels").
But the real star of this collection, as it's title implies, is Ray Harryhausen. And Ray is clearly at his best in the realm of fantasy and mythic folklore. His creatures in this collection are far superior to any of his science-fiction work (with the possible exception of "Earth vs. The Flying Saucers"). Stop-action animation was state-of-the-art special effects when these films were made, and Harryhausen was the best of the best. All these films are in color, and the transfers to disc are exceptionally good! The sound is perfectly satisfactory. All in all, each film is preserved and presented in their original splendor.
This collection is an execellant example of movie making when the emphasis was on story and character rather than all the mayhem the director could cram into one or two hours of film. These films take us to lands off the map, lands marked only "Here there be Dragons." The action is plentiful, the heros are heroic, and every single film in this collection has a clear beginning, middle, and a satisfactory ending, quite unlike the movies of today that like to start nowhere, head anywhere aimlessly, and seem only to stop when the FX folks have run out of graphics or explosives (as their imagination had run dry long before the credits rolled).
So make some good hot popcorn with real butter, turn down the lights, and watch some real imaginative movie-making. It's well worth the time, and the price is splendid, and the payoff is enormous fun!"
Monsters! Monsters! Monsters!
mrliteral | 05/25/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With most boxed sets, the DVDs are linked by an actor (like Errol Flynn), director (like Sergio Leone) or genre (such as noir). It is rare to see sets with something else in common, but this is the case with The Fantastic Films of Ray Harryhausen. While I suppose it could be argued that these are related because they are fantasy movies, in truth, it is Harryhausen who unites them: there aren't many boxed sets which feature a special visual effects designer, but if there was to be one, it would naturally feature Harryhausen.
Sure, by today's standards, the effects in the movies in this set are rather crude, but in their era, they were pretty good. This is especially the case when you consider the effects in other giant monster movies of the time which usually featured a man in a costume crushing miniatures or a regular animal made large through obvious camera tricks. Of course, these effects were simpler to do than Harryhausen's stop-motion work, but the short cuts showed.
First in the set (chronologically) is The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, in which the hero must restore a beautiful princess to her proper size after she is shrunk to just a few inches. From the start, there's little skimping when it comes to the monsters; this one includes a cyclops, a dragon, a roc and a sword-wielding skeleton. This film (and the other two Sinbad movies in the set) are a reminder of a time when the stereotypical version of Arabian lands was one of romance and magic. It's obviously legend, but at the same time, a more charming depiction of this region than we see in more recent movies.
The second - and really the only disappointing one in the bunch - movie in the set is 3 Worlds of Gulliver - which adapts the Swift tale to have the title character stranded in lands where the people are either tiny (Lilliput) or giant (Brobdingnag) (the third world is England). There's little in the way of monsters in this one, other than a crocodile and a Brobdingagian squirrel.
Jason and the Argonauts is a loose depiction of the myth, with Jason assembling a group of heroes to steal the golden fleece and re-take the kingdom that was once his. Like a later Harryhausen movie, Clash of the Titans (not included), this one also depicts the gods (including Bond girl Honor Blackman as Hera). Besides the James Bond connection, there is also a Dr. Who one, with second Doctor Patrick Troughton in a small role. Oh, and there monsters aplenty, including a hydra, a giant animated statue and more malevolent skeletons. While this may be Harryhausen at his peak, it also is a problematic story, both because Jason's so-called heroism threatens to ruin another kingdom who has done him no evil, and because the story is left rather open-ended (was a sequel intended?).
A decade would pass before the next movie in this set, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, in which Sinbad battles an evil prince played by a future Dr. Who, Tom Baker. There's a little less in the way of monsters here, but there is a centaur and a ship's figurehead come to life. Baker is fun to watch as the prince who dabbles in the dark arts at great cost, as he attempts to obtain great power.
Finally, there is Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, which you might think featured an eye of the tiger (or some mystical gem with that name) but doesn't (although there is a saber-toothed tiger). Monsters include a troglodyte, a giant walrus and a bronze minotaur (called the minotaun). Similar to 7th Voyage, Sinbad is seeking to restore someone, in this case a prince transformed into a baboon. And again, there is both a James Bond and Dr. Who connection: Patrick Troughton returns in a bigger role, and Bond girl Jane Seymour plays the love interest.
The acting and writing in these movies are nothing special, but that doesn't make them any the less fun, plus if you're worried about what to show your kids, these are pretty harmless. With a few extras, this is an enjoyable set that lets you see the special effects of the 1960s and `70s at their pre-Star Wars best."