Jason and the Argonauts was one of my favorite movies as a kid. It's full of great adventure scenes and incredible creatures, and it's just slightly more interesting, to me anyway, than movies if of it's type.
However, movies like this are never quite what you to remember them to be when you were young. I watched the original version recently, and I agree with all of the issues Scribbling Man spotted. It's just not quite what I remembered.
This edit is how I remembered it. I don't know what sort of black magic he used to improve the stop motion, but these creatures now more than ever feel like they're really there. It doesn't feel odd or like it's been changed too much, like a Star Wars SE situation. It's the same effects, just smoothed out just the right amount. The skeleton battle, one of the most magical scenes in all of Hollywood special effects, has never looked better.
The pacing is up, the story moves, it doesn't feel as cheesy. The picture quality is excellent. I only listened to the mono track, but I found no issues.
This is a really special edit, one that I am very glad to have watched.
Owner's replyJanuary 16, 2022
Thank you for the swift review and kind comments, Spence! Super glad you liked it :)
Here's my review of Scribb's Jason and the Argonauts B+ Movie Edition. Having not watched this movie in awhile, I went into this one without looking over the cutlist. Here are my thoughts. Thanks Scribb for a fun time down memory lane!
Audio/Video Quality: 10
I don't see or hear any quality issues in the video and audio. The only moment I saw issues were when Jason is at mount olympus and he's very blury, but that looks to be an issue with the film itself. This matches the best I've ever seen this movie look, so I give this area a 10.
Visual Editing: 9
The visual editing is great. I will admit that I was skeptical about the frame rate approach on the claymation scenes. I grew up watching this movie along with other Ray Harryhausen films and love the claymation. So any messing with that would be a hard sell for me. Well, Scribb did fantastic on this.
My initial review in the project thread has some nitpicky moments, but Scribb let me know those were actually in the source itself. Some of those issues were centered around Talos and sudden stops in movement. The stillness at the end of some shots is actually in the source materials, but as Scribb pointed out, they stick out more now that the original janky movement of the claymation is now smooth. I woud personally prefer to remove some of those few frames, but after the A/B comparison with the source it's really just a nitpicky point. I went back and read through some of the edit notes and was super impressed with the matte you did of Hermes. I watched that scene a few times to see if I could catch the matte lines and it looked completely seemless!
Audio Editing: 8
The audio levels on the mono track sound pretty even across cuts and transitions, however the 5.1 mix did have some issues that I started to notice around the Isle of Bronze. The source audio on these older films isn't always the best, so I'd need to do a fair amount of A/Bing to see if this is just an issue with aged material or if it's a possible slight crossfade imbalance. An example can be heard at 0:34:46 The audio has a slight increase in volume as Talos bends down to grab the ship and almost sounds like it goes from mono to stereo and then back to mono. This happens for about 10 or so seconds and goes back and forth. This is only present in the 5.1 mix though. The mono track levels sound consistent during this scene. A few other sections where the 5.1 mix betrays some cuts is the Posiedon section at 0:56:31, 1:21:47, and 1:23:19. Again, the mono track sounds fine, but the levels of the 5.1 fluctuate noticeably. Medea's dance number also had a few moments that felt like there were some cuts that were noticeable. Monotrack audio score = 9 , 5.1 mix score = 7, average to 8.
I know there are trims occurring, but I couldn't really tell you where most of them are happening in terms of the narrative flow. The movie moves along at a great speed and you don't really ever feel bored or waiting for the next exciting moment to occur. The only real moments where I felt something was missing or rushed were when Jason was saving Medea, when Euphemus dives after Acastus, and when the King of Colchis switches from welcoming to condemning in a blink of an eye during the feast. Overall though, great editing choices!
I was super skeptical at first with the idea of messing with anything Ray Harryhausen, but Scribb really made the claymation characters more lifelike with the visual editing applied to those scenes. It's really impressive what has been accomplished here. There were a few moments that I noticed some missing things and cuts, but this was a fantastic watch that I'd recommend to anyone who loves the original movie. Speaking of cuts, I love how Scribb made cuts that were period correct. The scenes feel natural because the visual editing is spot on for the time period. This subtle nuance is what makes this edit work. You don't notice any visual editing, because it was like Scribb was there 70 some odd years ago in the editing room. Fantastic job!
The only thing that took me out of the edit was the 5.1 mix. The monotrack sounds great and I wonder if it could be used to create a 5.1 mix from to smooth out some of the levels on the 5.1 mix? When I turned on the mono audio track the audio level issues were pretty much resolved. Looking forward to your future Ray Harryhausen ventures!
Owner's replyDecember 26, 2021
Thank you for dropping an updated review and again for the kind words, DigMod! I really appreciate it.
I'm already looking into sorting the audio bits you've pointed out and will update as soon as feasible.
Apologies to those that might inconvenience. The mono track should hopefully still provide a seamless experience until the 5.1 is updated :)
SO...this is a case of "this is how I recall this movie", but when you go back, IT's NOT! That is PROOF of a great piece of work.
Audio/Video Quality: 10
There are no issues to report here given the source material drops in quality whenever we hot Stop Frame animation but that is the nature of the beast and using rear-screen for your production backdrop. So no loss compare to the source material, and I have the best version released to date.
Visual Editing: 10
Visual editing is superb and I have to say I was no convinced this could improve on the original BUT it does. The enhancements to the animation are sensitive and not overdone and as such sequences I know by heart look even better. There is still some staccato effect but it is vastly improved and just looks terrific frankly, The visual trims also keep the momentum of the scenes moving naturally without the extended reveals that dragged on.
Audio Editing: 9
I must say, as noted below, apart from medea feeling a tad rushed, I could not spot the trims...and when I went back to the source, OH BOY DOES IT NEED IT by today's standards; having said that, the dialogue still has room to breath and the narrative does flow at a great pace overall without feeling rushed. The foley work is also super and really enhances nailing the reality of the action sequences like never before where applied.
I have to go with a 10 here since the original would be an 8/9 and the trims made really do put this movie into ACE storytelling territory
I am thrilled that Scrib took this on and I can't wait for you to tackle a few more of the stronger entries ("Journey to the Center of the Earth" and "First Men in the Moon" come to mind).
I've watched this twice now, and as soon as my son (grown up son that is) returns from abroad, a third viewing is on the cards.
Owner's replyJanuary 03, 2022
Thank you for the kind words, Wraith. I'm really glad you enjoyed it (and enough to watch it twice!). When you reference Medea being rushed, are you referring to her rescue from the water or her dance (or something else)? You put this under audio editing, so are you referring to a transition rather than the pacing?
I'm not sure when I'll get to them, but "Journey to the Centre of the Earth" and "First Men in the Moon" are both on my list :)
I'm a lifelong fan of Harryhausen films and have seen Jason and the Argonauts dozens of times over the years. It's a fantastic classic Fantasy Adventure! As soon as I read the description for this fan edit, I knew I had to check it out!
In short: EXCELLENT!!
I knew going in that the trims to the movie were extensive, but watching it is impossible to tell and as someone who's seen this movie so many times even I couldn't spot any of the edits. The work done here to tighten up the editing and smooth out some of the already excellent stop-motion effects are, to my eyes, invisible. And, IMO, that's one high accomplishment! It was only reading through the cut list afterwards that I really came to understand just how much was actually trimmed, and even the biggest change to the narrative - Medea no longer confessing her love for Jason - was so superbly removed that I never noticed it was missing. If I have any nitpick, it's my personal distaste for fan edits altering the title but I'm far too happy with this edit to dock even one point for that.
A great companion piece to original theatrical cut, and one I highly recommend!
Do you recommend this edit?
Owner's replyJanuary 23, 2022
Glad you liked it! Thank you for taking the time to review. Much appreciated :)
I have been a Ray Harryhausen fan all my life. But I'm not blind to the fact that, in the non-stop-motion parts, these movies don't always have the best pacing. "Jason" is not the worst at that (looking at you, "The Valley of Gwangi"), but in any case, this B+ Movie edition kept me so highly entertained all through that it was over before I even realized. Not a dull moment, not a wasted bit. This is pretty much what should have been released back in 1963. So very entertaining! And while I don't think the effects themselves needed any kind of fixing, I love how they flow here. They move more naturally now, but they don't feel tweaked at all, they still have that old-timey flavor. If Harryhausen has to be retouched, this is the way.
Needless to say, as usual with the Scribbling edits, video and audio and encoding are first-rate. And being the big classic film fan that I am, I'll always welcome more edits of this sort (Harryhausen or otherwise). A real joy to watch!