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|Index||71 reviews in total|
Many Adventure films before RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK are great films but
perhaps do not gel with our current conception of "adventure". This is
one that does. It is an old-fashioned tale certainly, but it was
deliberately retro in 1974 too. The action scenes are exciting and
imaginative. Harryhausen's effects are vivid, tangible and fluid; a
world apart in artistry to the effects in something like last year's
joyless CLASH OF THE TITAN update. The characterisation and
performances are above average for the genre too; John Phillip Law is a
charismatic and photogenic Sinbad, and it's a great shame he didn't
stay on for SINDAD AND THE EYE OF THE TIGER. Tom Baker is a marvellous
villain, who under the circumstances is rather restrained. Kurt
Christian does brilliantly with a role that could have easily been lazy
comic relief, but ends up as more, holding his own in the drama and
fight scenes. And Caroline Munroe was one of the best Bond girls and is
simply stunning here.
All in all, THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD is a great watch for anyone of any age who wants some good old fashioned adventure fun.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This story is based on The Thousand and One Arabian Nights and on the
imaginations of Brian Clemens and special effects artist Ray
Harryhausen. The Arabian Nights were a Medieval collection of stories
in the Middle East that borrowed from all kinds of sources -- Persian,
Greek, Indian -- and they all established a certain undeniable
You have to hand it to the Medieval Middle Easterners. The stories are full of magic, adventure, mystery, and beauty. Jasmine is mentioned often. It is sometimes used as a girl's name. It was the name of Rita Hayworth's daughter by Aga Kahn, and there is, or was, Yasmin Bleeth. I don't know who else has grown jasmine but there is no other scent like it. But the Arabian Nights evokes all kinds of perfumes, as well as melons, turbans, bloused pantaloons tucked into boots, sandals, pomegranates, and monsters. It's an entire iconic universe.
Then there is the Wisdom Of The East as reflected in the dialog of this fantasy. "He who walks on fire will burn his feet." And "A live dog is better than a dead lion." And "Always trust in Allah, but tie up your camel." The writers omitted one passage from Richard Burton's translation that's puzzled me for years: "Her navel was so capacious that it could easily contain an ounce of ointment." Anyway, Sinbad comes into possession of part of a small golden charm which, when fitted together with two others, will give him "absolute power". He sets off in pursuit of the other two pieces, not recognizing the danger of absolute corruption. He's pursued by an evil prince who can make statues come to life and do his bidding, and he runs into a couple of Harryhausen's creations. The most effective monstrosity, I thought, was the figurehead on Sinbad's ship. The wood suddenly acquires life and tears itself away from its wooden prison to fight Sinbad and the crew. It moves slowly, wears a puzzled expression, and creaks and groans with every motion, rather like Dolph Lundgren trying to act.
Mention should be made of this young woman Sinbad picks up along the way, the delicious and hypermastic Caroline Munro. She doesn't have much to do. She's given only a dozen lines at the beginning and the end. She spends most of her on-screen time cowering against walls, wearing an expression of distress. Sometimes her expression changes to one of disgust, as if someone had just offered her a jellyfish to hold. Her chief job seems to be following Sinbad and her bosom around from place to place.
Harryhausen's effects always have an appealing fey quality, but here they seem a little crude. A bat-like creature spies on the hero and his body resembles that of the Ymir in "Twenty Million Miles to Earth." When an organic creature is killed, it often quivers realistically, which gives me the creeps. One of the inorganic creations is a direct copy of the famous Hindu dancing Shiva or Nataraja statue, here called "Kali" because everyone knows the evil Kali from "Gunga Din." Most of the creatures have a garish color. The little bat, for instance, is a sort of magenta. I wonder if Harryhausen's best days weren't behind him by this time.
It's not an insulting movie, and these days that's saying a lot, but it seems mainly for kids or for moments in your life when you're looking for entertainment that's less than challenging.
Does Sinbad get the crown that brings absolute power? Does he give it away because he enjoys his freedom and doesn't want the responsibility that kingship would bring? Does he get the girl? Is she bursting out of her bodice with love for Sinbad? Are we kidding?
This story unfolds effortlessly with noble characters who take us on a spontaneous adventure. It is a spin on the original story from "1,001 Arabian Nights." John Philip Law makes a dashing Sinbad, and he and his costars do a great job of underplaying. Even the villain is likable. This movie is a feast for the eyes with amazing costumes, sets, and Ray Harryhausen's legendary special effects. I love the historical and anthropological references to the evil eye, the temple of faces at Ankor Wat, the Gryphon, and a multi-armed Kali doing best version of Bharata Natyam. I also appreciate the message of fighting evil with bravery, positive attitude, etc. This is a great movie for kids.
'The Golden Voyage of Sinbad' is not a great movie, but it is one that
you can sit and watch one afternoon and enjoy the adventure unfolding
on the screen. There's just enough to keep you preoccupied and seeking
more with plenty of fantasy, monsters, and even a little bit of
This film is packed with special effects, and there's always the interaction of these 'special effects' with the actors and actresses. I think the special effects made in this film were ahead of their time. (Sure, they may not look like much now with computer animation, but they still look good and do enough to contibute to the story without distracting from it like some of the effects do today).
It's not the best film, but it's a film that you can watch if you are looking for a no-brainer with some adventure.
It's entertainment for entertainment's sake but perhaps best taken with a
pinch of salt.
For more authentic Arabian Nights entertainment, read a few stories from one of the many English translations of the book (Burton 1880s or Husein Hadawy's 1990s have excellent translations of Sinbad's voyages)
Sure, my keenly-developed sense of aesthetics tells me Golden Voyage of
Sinbad isn't a very good movie. John Phillip Law basically just stands
there, as does Caroline Munro (though, to paraphrase John Lennon in
"Backbeat," what's important is the *way* she stands there), and most of
other characters are nameless ciphers. The plot is rudimentary and even
characters don't seem that concerned with it. The dialogue, with the
exception of one line ("Trust in Allah--but tie up your camel") that is
repeated constantly, pretty much sucks.
But I like it. For two reasons.
One, it's a nice example of an average, low-budget late-60s/early-70s kiddie yarn. Not a superior example; in fact, it's its averageness that lends this movie its charm. It brings you back to an era before flashy editing permanently shredded children's attention spans, when audiences allowed a movie to simply show them things: a ship drifting toward the horizon, a line of men trudging through some immense exotic locale. Sinbad takes you back to a time when they still made "adventure movies" rather than "action movies," when it was understood that you could hold viewers' attention through more than simple hyperkinesis. Sure, Sinbad may be pretty much crap, but I'll take it over today's crap any day.
Second reason: Tom Baker. Of course any Doctor Who fan is going to enjoy this movie, but I think I'd be just as taken with Baker's performance had I never seen him don a hat and comically long scarf. He goes all out at every opportunity, grinning, scowling, popping those huge blue eyes, wielding that deep, weird voice of his like a cowpoke handling a lariat. It makes you wonder what great character performances we missed in exchange for seven years of the Fourth Doctor.
Summary: It's not a great movie, but it has a great performance and is a solid reminder of an era of moviemaking where even the crap films were better than what we have today.
Ray Harryhausen brings this tale to life (as always) through his wonderful
stop motion creations. There are plenty go around here: a centaur, a
griffin, a 6-armed fighting statue and a ships figure head come to life.
They aren't the best Harryhausen creations but still have a sense of awe
wonder about them. Kali, the 6-armed fighting statue is good and the
choreography for the fight scene with the sailors is very well done.
As for the actual film, I wonder why Sinbad actually bothers to go on these quests any more. He is more of a hired gun now than a true explorer and adventurer. John Phillip Law doesn't really make a good Sinbad - that honor is for Kerwin Matthews! Caroline Munro looks fine in revealing Asian clothes but does little to warrant a pay cheque. Tom Baker is the only one putting any effort into the acting side and he makes Koura seem quite evil, if somewhat over-the-top at times.
Finally what happened to the bald crew member? Sinbad and his men stood facing the centaur. It charged at them. The next thing you know the poor bald bloke is lying on the floor, presumably dead. Does anyone know what happened to him?
Tom Baker clearly relished the rare opportunity of playing the villain of a movie, and delivered the best performance of the film and one which earned him a starring role in a popular BBC television series. Martin Shaw has since become one of the most bankable stars of British television but his role here will have paid his bills but is otherwise forgettable.
This movie is a pretty entertaining sword and sorcery film. The stop-motion effects are pretty good, especially for 1974. Not a classic, but a pretty entertaining film to watch one night. Features Tom Baker just before being cast in "Doctor Who" and Caroline Munro in her prime.
Saw The Golden Voyage of Sinbad yesterday...hmm...well what can i
say...one thing is for sure its no Lagaan or for that matter even
JAkbar ...its like the movie lacks a soul...the director has dealt with
not just one matter/topic/issue...its neither just a story of their
love nor just a story of Sindbad...Harryhausen has not been able to do
justice to any one particular topic...this plus its 200 mins viewing
time doesn't make u feel satisfied at the end of the
show...nevertheless its a magnum opus in terms of the detailed sets,
costumes, jewellery, etc. which add to its larger than life
image/feel...the effort gone into making the movie is really
commendable but then again the war scenes are very average...nothing
much to write about on this front and the plot is also not very
exciting...while watching the movie u will not feel bored but at the
same time the proceedings are not exciting enough to keep u engrossed.
On the acting front full marks to John Nelson...splendid stuff from him...speaking abt aishwarya...hmm...did her part decently well but has much less screen time as compared to others...rest everyone is average to good.
Final Suggestion: if u have 1.5 hours(and more if u consider the entire act of movie watching) to spare its worth a watch or u can just re watch Troy/Kingdom of Heaven/Braveheart or any other war movie on a DVD at ur home...u will not be missing much. But a must for die hard Sindbad fans.
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