Legendary movie effects guru Ray Harryhausen passed away today, and so it becomes a day for all of those who grew up watching movies to reflect on his legacy. I was just old enough to have seen two Harryhausen films in a theater as a lad, Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger and Clash of the Titans (the original, problematic film that still looks a lot more charming than the recent computer-regurgitated, heartless, pointless remake). At any rate, one of Harryhausen's most famous stop motion is this still-delightful sequence from Jason and the Argonauts (1963), which set the table for everything from Star Wars to Army of Darkness, among hundreds of other films.
Here's a clip of Harryhausen talking to the Gentle Giant crew about his work.
While we've made great strides in computer-generated action and characterization, there's something about the human-generated stop-motion animation perfected by Harryhausen that still works so much better--it has a tactile, palpable, if quaint, quality. Harryhausen was a legend--and also the nicest gentleman. May he rest in peace.