The stop-motion animated skeletons of Ray Harryhausen will always hold a place in our hearts — though it’s unlikely we’d ever see them again in a major fantasy or adventure movie. With the realism offered by CGI, stop-motion really only persists in comedy or kids’ programming — Robot Chicken, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Nick Park stuff. Our modern eyes can appreciate the artistry involved in making Medusa and the Kraken from Harryhausen’s Clash of the Titans (1981) — but these monsters are no longer scary to us. Imagine trying to keep your disbelief suspended as Ian McKellen shouts “You shall not pass!” at a stop-motion Balrog.
And that’s where we begin in this incredible short film “Rebooted” — with an old stop-motion skeleton, like the ones Harryhausen made famous in Jason and the Argonauts (1963), who can’t get a job in movies today. Like a rubber-suit Creature from the Black Lagoon or a stiff mechanical T-rex, this once-fearsome skeleton just isn’t scary anymore. Or is he?
But wait, was the skeleton in “Rebooted” even stop-motion? It was so well done, we wondered whether it was actually CGI. Not so, according to this BTS clip — director Michael Shanks says it took about six months to animate the skeleton in the 12-minute short: