Jason and the Argonauts

 
A stop-motion animation masterwork.
  • Review Date: August 9, 2005
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 1963
  • Running Time: 179 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Hercules' stealing imperil his fellow Argonauts. Jason steals, too. Harpies pester a blind man.

Violence & scariness

Some swordplay and fighting. A woman is run through with an arrow.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that some viewers may find an army of screeching, sword-wielding skeletons dismaying. Hercules' stealing imperils his fellow Argonauts. Harpies pester a blind man.

Kids say

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What's the story?

JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS recounts the Greek myth of Jason (Todd Armstrong), who is aided in his quest for the Golden Fleece by the Goddess Hera (Honor Blackman). Jason must overcome several obstacles before reaching his goal.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why stealing is wrong. They also may want to use it as jumping off point to talk about Greek myths. Perhaps it's time to start reading some of them together.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 19, 1963
DVD release date:August 15, 2000
Cast:Honor Blackman, Nancy Kovack, Todd Armstrong
Director:Don Chaffey
Studio:Artisan Entertainment
Genre:Action/Adventure
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures
Run time:179 minutes
MPAA rating:G

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent Written byBigelmer October 13, 2013
age 8+
 

The landmark stop-motion animation film

Considered THE masterpiece in stop-motion movie making. The realism may be lost of today's audience that is used to computer generated special effects. However, the pure spectacle of the special effects in this movie are Hollywood legend. They aren't as real as computer generated effects, but they are more effective. During the Academy Awards in 1992, Tom Hanks stated that he felt this was the best movie of All-Time. Talos, a 100 foot bronze titan, was voted the second most terrifying movie monster of all time by Empire magazine. The scenes where Jason and his crew fight the Hydra and the skeletons inspired a generation of moviegoers. The 3 minute skeleton scene took 4 months to make by the king of stop-motion animation Ray Harryhausen. As I was researching movie history, Jason and the Argonauts was referenced quite frequently. I had never seen the movie, so we watched this movie with my kids when they were in 7th grade - we both loved it. The beginning is a little slow (under 3rd grade will likely be bored). But once Jason sets off on his journey, then kids in 1st grade and up would love every minute.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great role models
Too much violence
Parent of a 6 year old Written byG_from_Paris January 10, 2011
age 6+
 
What other families should know
Too much violence
Educational value
Parent of a 8 year old Written byumanota June 12, 2010
age 7+
 

Good story, lousy effects, but a classic film

My 8-year old son loves the old Harryhausen flicks, especially "Jason and the Argonauts" and "The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad". Of course the story is good, being a classic, so there is some interest for parents.

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