I just watched Golden Voyage and couldn't help but notice a few things - not sure if anyone ever pointed this out before or not, though I know I'm not the first to notice. 

I wonder if Ray created Koura deliberately to be a sort of alter-ego of himself, or maybe a little ways into the script he realized the similarities and then decided to run with them. Either way, it's clear Koura's particular powers are those of an animator - pretty much all he did was to bring inanimate statues and synthetic beings to life, and each time he did it aged him further (the wear and tear each of his films put on him made manifest?)

After bringing each one to life he then 'inhabited' it - seeing through it's eyes or at least being able to command it. The cost each time was apparently several more years' worth of his vitality.

Interesting it's a villain who seems to represent the animator or Ray himself - but then it makes sense that a sorcerer would be the villain. And villains are also a lot more fun than heroes most of the time. 

Then I started thinking about the prizes at stake - what was it that so strongly motivated this dark doppleganger? Not riches - but youth, invisibility, and a crown. I doubt he actually intended anything by this, but they do seem to fit in certain ways - what stopmotion animator wouldn't wish to get back the youth and vigor that's been hammered out of him by his latest production - all those endless hours closeted away in dark rooms as their hair turns grey (or evaporates a bit more). Invisibility - I think it goes without saying most of us like being invisible - we prefer working behind the scenes to being in the spotlight, though some of us doubtless are frustrated actors or wannabe stars. And the crown - well of course Ray is the king of stopmotion animators, though that crown was handed to him by O'Brien. 

I'm of course not saying that Ray secreted hidden meanings in this film, I think he was mostly just having fun with it, but it is interesting to think about. 

To go way out on a (doubtless flimsy) limb with it - how about Sinbad, and Koura as two part of a single psyche? Koura the Shadow, magician using his powers while Sinbad and his men attempt to destroy everything he brings to life. Or better yet (more fun and even more unlikely!) throw in the Grand Vizier as a third component. 

Symbolically, there's the sundered halves of the amulet, the Vizier being in possession of one and Sinbad/Koura fighting for the other. It's only when the two halves are brought together they become whole and reveal their meaning. And they all vie for the crown - Koura wants it for himself, Sinbad takes it from him and gives it to it's rightful owner, setting everything aright and in the process vanquishing the shadow-self. 

Lol ok, I know - Ray definitely didn't intend anything so literal, but it is fun to play around with these ideas. 

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Yeah, I would liked to have seen  Trog and the Minoton duke it out, but, that really would've been too predictable, I think. I believe that the audience was expecting that fight, so I can live with it not happening. For story sake, that is. 

I like the way Minoton went down, crushed under the stone. It helped make Zenobia more evil, because she was willing to sacrifice Minoton to achieve her goal, her complete tunnel vision. She wasn't upset in the least by losing him. I think she even said, " he served his purpose." She also didn't care about ruining the temple, or whatever it was by just busting in. Besides, Minoton would-a kicked some serious Trog ass, sorry!

What I didn't like much was the sabre tooth as Trogs nemesis, 'cause he screamed stuffed animal. I'm sorry, he was right on the edge of being really cool, but it just came off too cute and fluffy. He had his moments, and I don't mean to insult him, or Ray. He was a beautiful creature, and well animated.

I loved the walrus. I really did. It was shot too much in profile, possibly, but I thought that he was cool, none the less. And composited in with the snow. I didn't think he slowed the story down, I think it was time for another monster in the story at that point, so as not to disappoint us viewers. And if he hadn't been there they just would have walked through snow until they got to Trog land. He did appear from nowhere, and had no real motivation, but he was just a critter, ya know?

I think that the only thing that really messed up the movie were the actors, and it probably wasn't their fault as much as the director's. Except for Patrick Wayne, who was, or is, To my knowledge, John Wayne's son. Dr. Quinn, well I have a story about that one too, but don't get me started...OK, I was an extra on Medicine woman for a couple weeks back in 1994, I think it was, and kinda ruded her, about being upstaged by Ray's animals, from another table at lunch time with a friend of mine so that she could overhear us, but I digress...

To me, the golden voyage was my absolute favorite Ray picture, even above Jason.

But I love, absolutely love, every single frame that Ray ever shot. Ever. Period.

Why does no one make mention of Charles Schneer, when he believed so completely in Ray's abilities, that to my knowledge, he never made any other movies that he didn't produce for, or with, Ray. If I'm wrong, I'd like to know, because I would like to see them. Seems to me, Charles is the real unsung hero. Ray must-a thought so, don't ya reckon?Maybe he was no Robert Evans as a producer, but still...

And as far as the walrus being cut so that we could see some more cute tail bathing in the river, what are you nuts? Hot girls are a dime a dozen, just turn on any channel any time of day, or walk outside and talk to one. You can't go outside and just kill a giant walrus everyday!



Oldschooler said:

I think that the only thing that really messed up the movie were the actors, and it probably wasn't their fault as much as the director's.

Oh there was so much more wrong with Eye of the Tiger than that!! To start with the story was basically a simple rehashing of Golden Voyage - the Royal Dude got messed up by the Antagonist, they race to a distant land where they meet up in temples that look suspiciously similar, where the Royal Dude is restored and the final showdown commences. 

Also, Zenobia was the only one of Ray's villains to be truly villainous in an over-the-top melodramatic way. I half expected to see her twirl a handlebar mustache!! And I use the term villain loosely - really as Nick explained earlier, the antagonists were never simple evil villains, they were people who were misunderstood and who had goals at odds with the main characters. Not so for Zenobia - she was just flat out villainous! 

Also, why were there so many shots of the actors supposedly walking in a landscape that were obviously badly done composites? I mean, for about a third of the movie I never felt like they were actually in any kind of real environment, sometimes like in the wasp scene the background seemed to be just a huge still blowup. 

The compositing (or whatever it was) was also poorly done or poorly set up - frequently the front row of actors were in focus, the next row out of focus, and then the background in focus. A physical impossibility! And these are often shots with no animation, just human actors. But I know none of this was Ray's fault - apparently the director was at odds with Ray over a lot of things and just decided to shoot things however he wanted and not at all the way he had discussed with Ray. 

Heh - I agree about the cute stuffed sabretooth tiger! In fact I'll go so far as to say - totally just my own personal preference here, but I don't care so much for Ray's furry or hairy creatures. Give me the dinosaurs and the other ones with warty, scaly or wrinkly hides! 

Well, Strider, I agree that Eye was a re-hash of Golden, but I remember Ray saying somewhere that they started off as a single script that got too convoluted, so he split it into 2 scripts.  And, yeah, there were some awful live actor composites, I agree. And Zenobia had her moments, like putting the heart into minoton, and not having enough potion to completely regain her human form. Tom Baker is hard to top as an evil sorceror, absolutely. But in Golden, it felt Arabian, and eye felt American. And of course, Nick's observations were bang-on, as always.

I saw the worst movie in the world on cable last night. It was called 2012. Effects, cdi as they were, were truly mind blowing. But boy did it SUCK!

I'll be back tomorrow.

Strider said:

Heh - I agree about the cute stuffed sabretooth tiger! In fact I'll go so far as to say - totally just my own personal preference here, but I don't care so much for Ray's furry or hairy creatures. Give me the dinosaurs and the other ones with warty, scaly or wrinkly hides! 

I guess I agree as far as the sabretooth and puppets like Dioskilos but I definitely have a big place in my heart for this furry critter…

D'Awwww!! Ok, yeah I forgot about Joe!! I love Joe!! Somehow I often forget about Mighty Joe Young when I'm thinking about Ray's films. I think of it more as an O'Brien film where Ray helped out, since Ray didn't design the overall movie. Nor did he design or build the puppets, did he? 

I would have to give credit to Ray for one furry creature he built himself, and covered in raccoon fur -  the baboon in Eye of the Tiger.  It somehow isn't one of my favourite creatures, but technically he did a great job of both making and animating something with all that long fur.

The hairy-legged cyclops only half qualifies I guess!   My own preference for making and animating is definitely for bare skinned, wrinkly or scaley creatures, and I guess I feel the same about Ray's puppets.  

I always felt that Pegasus could have been much better if he hadn't covered it in fur.  Horse hide, except on shaggy mountain ponies, has such very short hair that it reflects the light and shows muscle and bone more like bare skin than furry hide.  No actual hide you could use, or fake fur either, really looks right.   I'm working on a 1:6 horse at the moment myself, and it will either be bare latex, or possibly covered in short flocking (to hide seamlines mainly), I will decide after I've patched all the seams and put on a first coat of brown PAX.   

I think the same is true of the sabretooth - the fur is too long and thick and obscures the sculpting too much, and the hide possibly restricted the movement too.  Most of the movement was in the limbs, the torso stayed fairly stiff, without the fluid spine that all cats have.  I think with the methods he had available for applying fur, there was an inevitable compromise.

I didn't mind Dioskilos though, except of course it should have been Trioskilos!  Leaving out a couple of tentacles on an octopus isn't noticeable, one less head on Cerberus is hard to miss. 

At the risk of having my surface gauge ceremoniously snapped in half, I'm probably willing to concede that CGI can handle fur better than stop motion.

I think you nailed what it is I dislike about Ray's furry critters. In general I always thought the fur was too long or thick. I don't actually feel that way about the Cyclops - maybe it's because it's only on his legs and lower body so it doesn't obscure most of the body. 

Trog is a special case - he doesn't have fur so much as some sparse hair that doesn't obscure the skin, and I really like the skin texture and Ray's approach on his anatomy. 

But of course, as with all my comments on this thread - always keep in mind that it's relative. I may like some of Ray's critters less than others, but they're still Harryhausen critters, so have a magical place high above just about everything else. 

To back up a moment to an earlier topic - Oldschooler, I agree a straight-up Trog/Minoton fight would be pretty predictable, but the dynamics would change if Trog's human buddies joined in. Or if Trog would use some natural advantage like greater mobility or something, maybe leaping from rocky outcrop to rocky outcrop and when the Minoton tries it he crashes to the ground and has to clumsily get up again. Or how about they're fighting, it seems inevitable Minny is gonna win  when suddenly Dues Ex Machina here comes a miraculous thick-haired saber-toothed tiger to help him out.. 

I like it! Possibilities... All great options, Strider. And in keeping with the way the centaur and griffin battled...

"For it is the deeds of weak and mortal men, ' may tip the scales one way or the other.' "

And of course, Trog  would've had superior intellect over Minoton that coulda  played a factor.

Nick,

I liked the hair on Pegasus...after all, he's mythological, and nothing says his hair couldn't be longer. I like the tiger, and if you look at the sequence frame by frame, you can really appreciate the very strong and sculptured poses....that get lost in motion. I think the main problem with the tiger was the face. It is hard to get the necessary detail and hair work in that size model. And the problem with any animal, let alone a cat, is that we don't have materials that can replicate the elasticity of skin, as well as the way it lays, and the way muscles move underneath it. Yes, we have fakes, but they never really work as well as we wish. I think Ray did an amazing job considering.

On another note, I wonder what Marcel used on the horses in MJY. You can see what appears to be a fur and sheen, and more amazingly, you can see the leg and body muscles clearly.

Best,

Rick

Hey Oldschooler,  I don't think I'm nuts, I just like good movies, and girls are Okay too, by the way, I don't consider Eye If the Tiger a good movie. So I disagree with you, I think the Walrus scene adds nothing to the movie, except boredom, at that time in the movie we need to get to the valley, not waste time in the snow, where characters we do not know or care for, can be squashed by a walrus, which comes up from the ice, walks around for a minute, then goes back under the ice. Trog is important to the story, so yes I would cut out the walrus, and give Trog and the bathing beauties more screen time, heck they did shoot more footage of the girls, why not use it.

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