Jason and the Argonauts [Blu-Ray] Don Chaffey

Jason and the Argonauts [Blu-Ray] Don Chaffey
The main thing going through my head while watching the Blu-Ray of Jason and the Argonauts was, "Why would anyone put Jason and the Argonauts on Blu-Ray?" As the exhaustive supplements on stop-motion animation pioneer Ray Harryhausen suggest, the many battles involving hydras, skeletons and Talos demonstrated technical marvel for the time, plucking at nostalgia heartstrings for men in their 50 still clinging to, and idealising, their childhood. Truly, there is a commentary track with Harryhausen, an interview with him and director John Landis, a supplement on his career history and an additional hour-long special feature about his life and legacy. Even the second commentary track featuring Peter Jackson drones on about the super-awesomeness of Ray Harryhausen and his ability to move miniature sculptures while filming them. And for this historical contextualization, there is some curiosity and appeal to this cinematic version of the titular Greek myth. It's just that time hasn't been kind to the print, which, when seen in high definition, vacillates between surprising clarity and blurry, grainy rubbish, the latter being the more frequent aesthetic reality. This does help with the comedy aspect, however, as watching Jason (Todd Armstrong) collect his band of Argonauts, including a particularly gross and not exactly foreboding Hercules (Nigel Green), occasionally looking up wistfully at the sky, making broad proclamations to Zeus (Niall MacGinnis) and Hera (Honor Blackman), is frequently amusing. I mean, the background actors literally stand in place looking around confusedly, which, incidentally, Peter Jackson praises on the commentary track, talking about framing each shot like a painting ― an optimistic assertion, to say the least ― and certain conveniences raise the occasional eyebrow. For example, when Jason and his buddies are fighting the statue of Talos ― a monster whose lack of mobility and dead expression actually add to its creepiness ― it stands still long enough for Jason to run up to its heel, fiddle around a bit and yank off the metal plate, thus winning the battle. You'd think it would have enough sense to kick, or step on, the son of Aeson. And just for good measure, maybe they could have cast at least one Greek actor. Of course, it's unlikely any of this will matter to that group of nostalgic technophiles jazzed about watching and owning a childhood favourite with added clarity. (Sony)