UK Release date: 15th August 1963
Watched on Sky+ Friday 13th January 2012.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
This is a film I remember well from my childhood; it seemed whenever there was a wet Sunday afternoon this was on… And as I child I absolutely loved it! Since it was airing again on TV recently I thought I would give it another look now that I’m all growed up. Well, I have to say that, as a film, it hasn’t faired all that well, but the excellent stop-motion effects by Ray Harryhausen are still the best thing about it. I will give you more of my thoughts after this very brief summary.
The Gods of Greece are always meddling in the affairs of man and having wagers with each other about the outcome. Zeus and his wife Hera have one such arrangement concerning a young man called Jason. He has been tasked with travelling to the ends of the Earth in order to retrieve a golden fleece, a prize of the Gods. He commissions a ship, the Argo, and holds games to select the bravest and strongest men in all Greece to join him on this epic adventure. As they set sail Jason knows that Hera will protect them, but he can only call on her a certain number of times… Many adventures bring them to their goal, but a protective king will not give up the fleece without a fight! I will leave it there or the Spoiler Police (Greek Gods Division) will have me fighting Titans (again).
I have to admit I do have a bit of a soft spot for this film; as a child I loved all the action sequences and me and my brother would re-enact them afterwards. Today though, it doesn’t quite hold together as well as it did when I was young. I guess I’ve seen too many films that are better made (effects aside). As far as performances go, well nobody really stood out and so honourable mentions go to; Todd Armstrong as Jason, Nancy Kovack as Medea, Gary Raymond as Acastus, Laurence Naismith as Argos, Niall MacGinnis as Zeus, Michael Gwynn as Hermes, Honor Blackman as Hera and Patrick Troughton as Phineas.
I’ll cut to the chase here, the effects were brilliant in their day, brilliant when I was a kid and they have stood the test of time well… I still think they’re great! The problem I have is with the narrative, far too much is taken as read and I think the writers found it far too easy to us the ‘gods’ to get them out of a situation. For me, there are islands if brilliance in a sea of mediocrity I’m afraid. It seems to drag on and that is never a good sign. I have given it a half decent score, but that’s mainly for the groundbreaking effects, for which I’ll deem it recommended.
My score: 6.8/10.
IMDb Score: 7.3/10 (based on 9,262 votes at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 96/100 (based on 26 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 71/100 (based on 20,999 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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Zeus: If I had to punish *every* blasphemy, I would have *no followers*!
Phineas: Zeus, I was a sinner. I've never tried to deny it. But I didn't sin every day. Why then do you punish me *every day*?
Argos: Pray to the gods, Jason!
Jason: The gods of Greece are cruel! In time, all men shall learn to live without them.