I recently watched Jason and the Argonauts because I was attracted to cinematic legend Ray Harryhausen, who is well-known for his amazing work in stop motion animation.
However, despite its revered place among classic films, I have to say that I was not very impressed. The stop motion animation was very interesting and impressive, but I had a difficult time paying attention to the rest of it. After fighting to keep myself seated until the end (where there is a really cool skeleton fight scene), I realized that this movie did not differ all that much from Transformers.
It’s About Effects, Not Story
I’ve been really annoyed with movies that focus all of their attention on their special effects and completely forget to think about the plot, Transformers being the ultimate example (at least the sequels).
In Transformers 2, we watch the effects spin around on the screen for huge segments at a time that do nothing to further the story along. Then we jump to the main character, whose only real personal struggle was whether or not he could say “I love you” to his girlfriend. That’s just not enough for me.
Jason and the Argonauts was not much different, I hate to say. The focus was not on the story, but on the cool monsters and creatures they could animate. The characters seemed underdeveloped, and I found myself not caring whether any of them lived or died.
Plus, Jason went on this epic journey where he faced numerous trials. He should have emerged as a different man, having learned something along the way. Yet, I saw little change in his character development throughout the film.
What Makes a Film a Classic
So if Jason and the Argonauts was deemed a classic film because of its effects, will Transformers one day earn that status as well? I think people look at Jason and the Argonauts and like it solely for the stop motion animation while overlooking the rest of it. And it seems like that should be OK because it’s an older film.
However, Transformers is not an older film, and it’s constantly being ridiculed for its lack of story while Jason and the Argonauts is almost being praised for it.
Bottom line: Just because the effects are cool, doesn’t mean it’s a good movie. No matter what decade it was made in.
What are some other films that focus too much on effects and not enough on story? What are other classics that are not worthy of the title?