With the stop-motion sequences he created for The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), Jason and the Argonauts (1963), Clash of the Titans (1981), and other films, Ray Harryhausen pioneered 3D animation. Even though his specific techniques are largely out of fashion in the CGI era (though Nick Park perseveres), his vision and visions captivated viewers, particularly young ones. Some of them grew up to be the visionaries of today. Says Guillermo del Toro:
No one will ever compare to Ray Harryhausen. He was a true pioneer, a man who took the mantle of stop-motion and elevated it to an art form. Like all great monster makers, he worked almost single-handed. He was designer, technician, sculptor, painter and cinematographer all at once. To my generation, and to every generation of monster lovers to come, he will stand above all. Forever. His monsters made millions of lonely children smile and hope for a better world- a world populated by Cyclops and griffons and the children of the Hydra.
Tim Burton is a Harryhausen devotee, having used Harryhausen-esque stop-motion in Beetlejuice, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Corpse Bride. Peter Jackson cites Harryhausen as an influence on King Kong and his Lord of the Rings films, even though those movies use CGI for their effects.
Harryhausen fans will be able to see some of his most famous pieces in May 2020, when the National Gallery of Scotland puts on a major exhibition celebrating what would have been the animator’s 100th birthday (he died in 2013). The show opens May 23, and runs through October. The museum, which is in the capital city of Edinburgh, has released press photos of the goods, and if these don’t take you back then nothing will.