Harryhausen: The Early Years Collection (2005) He dreamed of putting dinosaurs on screen. But fledgling effects wizard Ray Harryhausen couldn't get much feature-film work back in the 1940s and early '50s.…
DVD Review

Harryhausen: The Early Years Collection (2005)

EW's GRADE
A-

Details Release Date: Feb 01, 2005; DVD Release Date: Feb 01, 2005; Movie Rated: Unrated; Genre: Animation

He dreamed of putting dinosaurs on screen. But fledgling effects wizard Ray Harryhausen couldn't get much feature-film work back in the 1940s and early '50s. So before and after 1949's ape-on-the-loose spectacle Mighty Joe Young, he turned out five puppet-animation short films (one more, The Tortoise & the Hare, was recently completed by a couple of younger animators). Previously unreleased on video, these endearingly herky-jerky efforts form the core of Ray Harryhausen: The Early Years Collection. Sure, it's fun to see Little Red Riding Hood with a wolf who appears to actually salivate, but the voluminous extras are what make this two-disc set indispensable for fans of Jason and the Argonauts and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad. There's test footage of early, made-in-the-garage dinosaur opuses, scads of conceptual drawings, and nakedly emotional tributes from F/X filmmakers, including Tim Burton sagely observing ''His characters had more personality than a lot of the actors in those movies.''

Originally posted Feb 14, 2005 Published in issue #807 Feb 18, 2005 Order article reprints