Photos - Horus, Prince of the Sun

A series of snapshots from the harrowing opening minutes from 1968's Horus, Prince of the Sun. I think this happens to be a spectacular action sequence. Isao Takahata wanted to start a revolution. He got his wish.

The opening battle in Horus never ceases to amaze me. I find it absolutely astonishing that it even got out the door. Remember that until this moment, Japan's animation was squarely aimed at children. Toei Doga was founded specifically to create animated features in the style of Walt Disney, and over the course of a decade, Toei did just that, with classics like Hakujaden (1958) and Little Prince & the Eight-Headed Dragon (1963). Then an aspiring film director and his band of young radicals took over the Dean's office and vowed to topple everything.

Horus is revolutionary for many reasons, but it's this opening scene where it's at its most shocking. And this moment is meant to shock. This is Jimi Hendrix setting his guitar on fire. The camera opens on some birds in a distand background, and then is nearly stampeded by a flurry of feet, claws, teeth, blades. If you were a parent expecting the latest, safe entertainment for little Timmy and Suzy, you just got hit in the head.

Notice in that first cut how the camera is caught in the middle of the action. It's damn near topped over and crushed twice. It's not Horus or the wolves who are the intended targets. It's us. Armageddon is in effect...STAT! Consider yourselves...WARNED!


asuka said...

it is a great, great start. (good old prince valiant!) i always wonder, though, how the film would be if it hadn't been cut down before release. maybe the introduction and then disappearance of the stone giant wasn't originally so... abrupt!

Daniel Thomas MacInnes said...

Heh, heh, I'm sure you wrote "Prince Valiant" just to rile me up.

If you want to see the full two hours of Horus, you can buy the ekonte book from Japan. The final storyboards show all the scenes and times for all the cuts.

It's actually very interesting to see how Takahata cut the movie down to 90 minutes. Mostly it's down to quicker editing and faster cuts, which is why Horus moves so much faster than Takahata's later work. There are a couple scenes that were cut short but, there were no "lost" scenes.

I'll probably have to pull out the ekonte book and write a post about it one of these days.

asuka said...

ha - interesting to know.

asuka said...

isn't the sky lovely?

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