Jason and the Argonauts (1963) review

A film about the legendary Greek hero, Jason, and his quest to find the legendary Golden Fleece.

The film differs from the actual Greek tale, but things like this are to be expected when adapting to film, the traditional tale might have been too long for film. Still different telling’s aside, the film manages to be entertaining and easily watchable throughout.

The film is pure adventure, a quest of gigantic proportions and impossible odds; featuring monsters of all kinds, bravery, magic, kings and Gods, and betrayals. Yet the characters remain undeterred throughout their quest, even when faced with all of this.

I once read that Stop-motion artist Ray Harryhausen took about 5 months to finish the scene when the small group of skeletons attacks Jason and his friends. This shows how dedicated he was in his craft, and his passion shines through here, seeing some of the greatest stop-motion I’ve seen in a film, especially for this era. While compared to the effects of 2016, it’s easy to see why people laugh at older effects, their eyes more used and trained by CGI to spot green screens, wires, and dummies, but the effects here more mesmerise me than not.

The film’s plot is simple, much like its original story, it is Jason sailing to Colchis to retrieve the Golden Fleece. It’s an adventure story which focuses on the journey itself, the hardships and obstacles that they must face, and we look forward to seeing each one and how they succeed, the characters take a backseat to the main quest. We sit back and enjoy the journey, we want to see what monsters or magic they will overcome next, we watch the effects and want to see how Jason and his crew take down an impossible foe, Talos. How much further and if they will have any losses before they find what they seek?

The film is straight adventure through and through, an enjoyable film which has now found itself in my top 10 films. It’s an easy watch, it doesn’t ask you to think deeply, or to concentrate on a subject, and to just sit back and enjoy the journey.


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