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Ignore pointless comparisons about how it pales in comparison to Lord
of the Rings. This isn't Lord of the Rings, nor is it Citizen Kane. Why
some fools insist that every movie must be measured by the yardstick of
their own personal favorite I will never understand.
If you're so spoiled by state-of-the-art computer graphics where each creature has an entire team of people working on it, and can't appreciate the human creativity and craftsmanship of great stop-motion animation, don't waste your time on this movie, go watch the latest Pixar release.
Harryhausen's work is remarkable not because it's the most realistic animation ever, but because he was able to achieve remarkable things with sculpture and movement on a budget comparable to today's 30 second ad spots.
Tom Baker steals the movie. He's terrific as the evil sorcerer, villainous but with enough humanity to his character to make him at least somewhat sympathetic.
After Sinbad (Jon Phillip Law) happens upon a strange gold "bauble"
while at sea, his ship ends up at a town where a similar gold piece is
kept by a Vizier (Douglas Wilmer), whose city is threatened by the evil
prince Koura (Tom Baker). Sinbad, his crew, the Vizier, and two other
people from the town begin an adventure to solve the mystery of the
This is a fine fantasy/adventure film, and definitely one worth watching by any fans of the genre, as well as Ray Harryhausen fans. Mostly excellent, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad also has a couple of flaws that brought my score down to an 8 out of 10.
The main problem is that the film tends to meander at times. There are also a few minor problems with direction or editing, such as the less-than-convincing sword fight in the cave near the end of the film. Also, the mostly episodic nature of the script lessens the overall impact. It often feels like a string of short stories arbitrarily strung together, although in the end, the overarching goal ties the film together well enough.
But what "short stories" those are! The script, production/set design and costumes easily propel you into a captivating fantasy world, and Harryhausen's creatures, as always, are a delight to watch. No, they're not exactly realistic--no more realistic looking than cgi, in my opinion--but I'm not looking for realism when I watch a film like this. I'm looking for brilliant artistry, especially if it has a horror edge, and Harryhausen's stop-motion animated creatures fit the bill.
Most of the scenarios in the film are cleverly conceived. They're constantly leading to intriguing puzzles that have to be solved by our heroes, somewhat similar to a fantasy role-playing computer game, which films like this surely influenced. This maintains a gradually heightening suspense throughout the length of the film, as each puzzle tends to be more difficult than the previous one, and most are accompanied by fascinating beasties of some kind.
Although this genre is not usually noted for its fantastic performances, everyone in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad does a great job. Even as a Doctor Who fan who grew up watching the Tom Baker era of that show, it took me awhile to figure out who Baker was here. He is a joy to watch as a slightly campy villain. An even bigger joy to watch was Caroline Munro, who is breathtakingly beautiful. And Law, as Sinbad, is completely convincing and cool.
As long as you don't expect a masterpiece, you should have a lot of fun watching this film.
'Golden Voyage' is much better than the later 'Sinbad and the Eye of the
Tiger' and equal to the earlier 'Seventh Voyage of Sinbad'.
The Harryhausen creatures are impressive. Stop motion animation does give solidity to the image, more so than the usual CGI effect. There are some fine ones here including a one eyed centaur, a homunculus, a griffin, a six armed statue, a ship's wooden figurehead. The story is standard but the effects, the locations and the plot weave together well. There is also a dry humour in the dialogue which is entertaining. Scenes like the sword fight with the six armed statute (with six swords!) or the final confrontation at the fountain of wisdom (or something like that) are exciting. The great Miklos Rosza's music adds considerably to the atmosphere.
John Philip Law is OK as Sinbad and does attempt an Arabian accent unlike the usual English one, but the role isn't Shakespearean and he does well enough. Caroline Munro looks splendid in her costume, low cut almost everywhere. The rest of the cast support well.
Tom Baker is excellent as the villain Koura. He makes him sympathetic; what drives him is common to all people. He just uses different means to gain his ends. He dominates the scenes he is in and it is a pity that more big screen roles never came his way. He was the best 'Doctor Who' in the BBC series, in my opinion of course.
A good fantasy romp to appeal to the adventurer in all of us. Did I mention Caroline Munro's costume? Oh, I did.
Made 14 years after The 7th Voyage Of Sinbad, this follow up is
,unsurprisingly, not as good, but that WAS a ground breaking classic.
Perhaps sensing that they could not top the first film, the filmmakers
give this movie a slightly different feel. If 7th Voyage was full of
colour and size, Golden Voyage is somewhat darker and less spectacular.
Most of the action occurs at night or in caves, while none of the
creatures are especially large. This makes Golden Voyage slightly less
of a delightful romp, but it's certainly not just a rehash. There is a
strong sense of the uncanny to some scenes,such as the villain's
resurrection of the tiny humunculus, or the coming to life of the
The pace is possibly a little two leisurely, but the action is still terrific, the showstopper being Sinbad and his men battling the 6 armed statue of the Indian goddess Kali, a masterpiece of effects and editing. Tom Baker is the most sinister of all Harryhausen's villains, and Miklos Rozsa's wonderfully rich and grand score never fails to provide excellent backing. It's very different from Bernard Herrmann's classic Harryhausen scores, but as effective.
Despite their flaws, there is a wonderful innocence to these Harryhausen films. A modern version would be filled to the brim with CGI, hyperactive editing, 'clever' laughs that show that no one is bothering to take any of this seriously ,etc....... Is that really an improvement?
Ah, yes; Ray Harryhausen and Sinbad. This is my favorite of the Sinbad
films. Yes John Phillip Law is not an a-list actor; but, for once, he's not
bad. Tom Baker is outstanding as the evil wizard. Carolie Munro is the
breast, er, best sight in the film.
Harryhausen really captures the atmosphere of the Arabian Nights. There is adventure, mystery, terror, love, comedy, and some pretty good sword fights. I'll put the six-armed Kali up against the skeleton from the Seventh Voyage of Sinbad any day. And Tom Baker's wizard is far more evil.
Look, forget about CGI and enter the world of Dynamation! You'll have a good time. Now, where's that scene where Caroline Munro.........
How can you not love this film .. it's difficult to imagine that anyone
could pan the astounding performance of John Phillip Law as Sinbad ..
His turn as the beloved Arabic pirate is more adventureous than the boring and cardboard studio fave, Kerwin Matthews and far better than the bland and horrific Patrick Wayne ..
The special FX of Ray Harryhausen are his best to date ..
The plot is solid and the talent pull this tale off without a hitch or glint of camp which is generally the norm in a cult film such as this..
This is Saturday afternoon television at its best ...
Onward and upward with John Phillip Law all the way ..
I've said it before and I'll say it again, "Love that Ray Harryhausen". As far as Harryhausen's effects go, this is a very adventurous effort for him. The animated ship figurehead,AWESOME!, the six arned statue, BRILLIANT!, and the epic monster summoning battle at the end is a dream come true. I can't believe the griffon got beat by that brain-dead centaur. And Tom Baker! Hell yes! He is my favorite actor. His portrayal of Doctor Who is the best. Someone made the comment that this came out the same year as the dungeon's and dragon's game and that it came out right before star wars and how it doesn't live up to expectations and blah blah etc... Well, feel free to rent the Dungeons and Dragon's movie that came a few years ago done with that oh so wonderful computer animation we have now. What a joke, other than the special fx from star wars, Rob Bottin(The Thing) and a select few others, Harryhausen's effects are the best! Buy this movie!
Contrary to a previous viewer's opinion, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad is a wonderful, exciting film. The plot is a bit complex as a malevolent sorcerer races with Sinbad against time to secure a missing piece of an amulet that will insure the holder of powers beyond imagination. John Phillip Law is a pretty decent Sinbad, and the rest of the cast is quite adequate with Caroline Munro busting out of her outfit as both a figurative and literal standout and Tom Baker is very good as the evil magician. The real star once again, however, is Ray Harryhausen. His stop-motion creations are all very good. This time round we get a gargoyle-like homonculus, a wooden siren, a griffin, a centaur, and the image of six-armed Kali. The action sequences are riveting and the pace of the film is nice and brisk. Very entertaining!
This film was a big hit in 1974 and many other Sinbad films have been made and there is no comparison to our new films today, it was a great success in the 70's and is enjoyable to view and enjoy the great acting of John Phillip Law (Sinbad) and his woman companion, Caroline Munro(Margiana) who battle all the evil spells and evil powers that Tom Baker,(Koura) tries to use against Sinbad. Every time Koura uses the Evil Powers, his face begins to look like an old man and he even gets weaker and weaker. There is clashing of swords and deep pits of hell Sinbad falls into and he still manages to fight the bitter struggles of Evil vs. Good. Caroline Munro gives a great supporting role and Tom Baker is completely in control of his role as a very EVIL Demon. Enjoy this Sinbad from the Past, it is worth watching.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This truly is a great adventure film.
Like many others, this Film was part of the canon of my childhood's imagination and fascination, now more or less mature or at least bearing a manly hair on my chin, this movie still captivates me. In fact it has aged like a fine whine, to use a snobbish metaphor.
The movie's plot is decent but a little rhapsodic, nevertheless the story progresses in such a way, that it keeps your attention. The Script is witty and spiced with enough simple poetry to create the world of medieval middle-eastern lore, despite creating characters that are slightly void but still serve as interesting players in this tale.
Of course there's the mouth-watering Carolin Munro, whose customs only seem to grow more revealing as the movie progresses. Her sweaty, glistening décolleté during the climactic battle between good and evil, seems almost to "doubly" upstage Harryhausen's effects.
But of course the special effect take center stage in this film. This movie still features one of the most beautiful scenes of stop-motion animation. The dance sequence of the Kali statue (To all those who have critique that it is not Kali but Shiva: go burn some incense and watch boring fantasy-trilogies, ye hippies!) and subsequent fight between Sinbad and the six swords wielding Goddess is simply breathtaking. (I still get little jolts of pleasure every time I see Kali descending the stairs from her shrine and hearing the metallic clangs of her feet as she slowly dances down the steps, her arms sensually moving.)
Not only are the effects beautifully executed,the entire cinematography surrounding the creatures is brilliantly done, building suspense and delivering an exciting sequence when the "monsters"(Sorry Ray) appear. (There are no ill-filmed scenes of ugly designed monsters simply bursting through doorways with out tension-building here, thank God)
And Miklos Rosza's golden-age film score only adds to the enjoy of this Movie
I highly recommend this movie to those, whose senses aren't dulled and surfeited by decadent CGI effects of these days and would like to see a stimulating visual feast.
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