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Friday’s Film Feature

December 17, 2010

A lot of modern films rely heavily on computer-generated imagery (CGI). Computers allow film-makers to let their imaginations run riot and create any world or character they can dream up.

However, before computers were able to create the fantastical worlds of Harry Potter, Star Wars or Lord of the Rings film-makers had to rely on other techniques to bring fantasy to life on screen. If a modern film required dinosaurs or monsters then computers would be used to design and animate them but before computers were powerful enough to achieve this the animators would have used models and painstakingly moved them bit-by-bit to build up the illusion of movement.

Ray Harryhausen was one of the leading figures in film animation and created some of the most memorable monster sequences in cinema history. I particularly remember watching Jason and the Argonauts when I was very young. The film was made in 1963 and includes a very famous scene with some skeleton warriors that gave me nightmares when I was 6. Every time I have seen CGI skeletons since they have never seemed as good as  Ray Harryhausen’s. Take a look at the clip below and see what you think.

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