Friday, May 10, 2013

The Passing of a Legend: A Tribute to Ray Harryhausen

On May 7th, 2013, Raymond Frederick "Ray" Harryhausen died at the age of 92 from causes that remain unknown. Like most, I was deeply saddened by this news, knowing that we have lost another legend of the silver screen.

Like most, I was introduced to Harryhausen's work through the 1981 classic Clash of the Titans. I can easily remember the sense of wonder and amazement that washed over me as I watched Perseus take on the monstrous Medusa and the terrifying Kraken to save Andromeda's life. Even though I'm 21 years old now and have been bombarded by massive CGI effects that are supposed to be more "realistic", I find myself enjoying and believing Harryhausen's stop-motion effects more than ever.

Harryhausen knew that something didn't have to be realistic to be believable. Instead, he would put his heart and soul into every effect, doing whatever he could to bring about the wondrous nature of these fantastical creatures. When you watch Clash of the Titans, Jason and the Argonauts, or The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, you can feel the amount of effort Harryhausen put into each animation and that feeling makes you more willing to suspend your disbelief and accept what is happening on the screen.

It's that heart and soul that caused his work to be so loved and inspiring. It's why his movies continue to be watched today and why people will continue to watch them in the future. While he might be gone, he will never be forgotten. Ray Harryhausen has left a legacy that has turned him into a legend in his own right, and like any legend, Harryhausen's work will stand the test of time.

Rest in peace Ray Harryhausen, you will be missed.

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