Friday, January 31, 2020

Ray Harryhausen and Godzilla

I was watching a short documentary on Ray Harryhausen last night and it mentioned an interesting point that I'd never thought about before: that Harryhausen apparently didn't think much of the Godzilla series because it relied too much on men in rubber suits gracelessly crushing model cities.

Thinking about it, this might be why I never had as much affection for the Godzilla movies as I did for the creations of Harryhausen. Perhaps they just lack the handcrafted artistry and intricate design that I admire about Harryhausen's films. I was always struck by the design and personalities of Harryhausen's characters, which are certainly memorable and stick in your imagination years after seeing the films.

Looking back on it, a lot of my earliest efforts at making amateur movies were in the sci-fi/fantasy vein. I even tried making a couple of stop-motion animated films using model dinosaurs. I don't know why I abandoned it after some point, other than possibly feeling like I'd outgrown the genre, and certainly the issue of resources quickly became an issue in terms of being able to do anything like this on a zero-budget. I think even as a kid I recognized how hopelessly out of proportion my ambitions were in relation to what I could realistically achieve when it came to attempting this kind of movie, which is probably why I moved on from it early on.

I remember seeing a documentary about Baltimore horror filmmaker Don Dohler. He said that he always wanted to make romantic comedies, but that he recognized very quickly that they were almost impossible to do on a low budget. Audiences expect glamorous Hollywood stars, locations, etc. when it comes to romantic comedy. He said that horror films were the types of movies that could best be done on a low budget with local actors.

It makes sense. You have to adjust your expectations to what an audience will accept if you want to have any hope of connecting with them.

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