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Jason and the Argonauts
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The myth of Jason's quest to find a magical golden fleece comes vividly to life in this 1963 classic. Although plodding at times and bereft of humor, the movie will enchant grade-school children with its Greek gods and stop-motion creatures. Worth seeing for one of Ray Harryhausen's best-remembered effects sequences, a climactic battle against sword-wielding skeletons. If you haven't seen this one since you were a kid, you won't recall Todd Armstrong's Jason, or that the goddess Hera was played by Honor Blackman, who garnered attention the following year as the villainess with the suggestive name in Goldfinger. You won't remember the spectacular temple ruins of Paestum, but you'll be able to envision the winged harpies that swooped through them, not to mention the seven-headed Hydra and the enormous bronze statue of Talos that comes to life.
Before computers did a lot of this stuff, there were guys who built jointed models and spent months animating them by hand, frame by monotonous frame. Their creatures are the real stars of this picture. Though crude by today's standards, they have an enduring charm that will still excite kids today. Those willing to suffer through the first half hour's monster-less Greek plot development will find their patience more than rewarded by the climactic skeleton battle. Because the story revolves around Jason's quest for and subsequent pilfering of a magical Golden Fleece, parents may wish to reacquaint their children with the concept of stealing. While Jason isn't punished for his actions, Hercules is earlier on for robbing from the gods. That's a lesson no child will soon forget.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.