|Page 7 of 7:||     |
|Index||66 reviews in total|
While sailing ancient Arabia, heroic John Phillip Law (as Sinbad)
happens upon a golden amulet, which turns out to be one-third of a
magical medallion. Part two is easily located, but villainous Tom Baker
(as Koura) wants a piece of the action. Helping Mr. Law are curvaceous
Caroline Munro (as Margiana), disfigured Douglas Wilmer (as Vizier),
kidlike Kurt Christian (as Haroun) and the Ray Harryhausen special
effects crew. This long-awaited follow-up to "The 7th Voyage of Sinbad"
(1958) lacks that film's spirit and spark. Here, the highlights are the
Harryhausen creatures and the leading lady's tightly prominent bust.
***** The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (12/20/73) Gordon Hessler ~ John Phillip Law, Tom Baker, Caroline Munro, Douglas Wilmer
I vividly remember reading and listening to the tales of the courageous "Sinbad the Sailor" as a child, but for some reason I never watched any of the acclaimed movies until now. Well, to be entirely honest, it's mainly the work and involvement of special effects wizard Ray Harryhausen what makes the Sinbad movies acclaimed, as his legendary name is linked to the production, the special effects and the scripting. Harryhausen undeniably delivered great craftsmanship here, but the success of "The Golden Voyage of Sinbad" also relies on the superb work of others, like the competent direction of Gordon Hessler (the underrated horror director of "The Oblong Box" and "Cry of the Banshee") and the magnificent casting choices of John Phillip Law ("Diabolik", "Barbarella"), Caroline Munro ("Maniac", "Captain Kronos") and Tom Baker ("Dr. Who"). Last but not least there's Brian Clemens terrific script, which is fast paced and plentiful of adventurous action. The movie opens with Sinbad obtaining a golden amulet by coincidence, when a winged gargoyle drops it on his ship. Later on, a lively nightmare and a heavy thunderstorm cause Sinbad and his crew to go off course and arrive on an island where the sailor's courage and knowledge are desperately needed. The amulet Sinbad holds is just part of a puzzle and there's still one piece missing. The island's Vizier wearing a golden mask since a fire destroyed his face searches for the third piece, but so does the malignant sorcerer Prince Koura. Sinbad and his crew embark on a dangerous and long journey to find the missing piece, along with Vizier and a ravishing girl slave with a mystical birthmark on the palm of her hand. The evil Prince Koura follows the trail and practices his black magic art against them, but every magical effort weakens him. "The Golden Voyage of Sinbad" is the prototypic example of a versatile mythological fantasy flick. The heroic titular protagonist consecutively battles against a ship's figure siren come to life, a Vishnu-like deity holding no less than six swords in each arm, a centaur, a griffin and his nemesis when turned invisible. Harryhausen's stop-motion effects are extraordinary and perfect to the smallest detail. The battle sequences as well as several others (like the escape from the ruined temple, for example) are very suspenseful and the set pieces are enchanting. Caroline Munro has the yummiest cleavage ever (another highlight in the movie) and Tom Baker makes a perplexing bad guy.
Sinbad and his crew find a mysterious golden plate which may or may not
be the key to the legendary island of Lemuria, once part of a
prehistorical continent that sank into the sea. The crew sets out to
find the island. Sinbad gets aid from a certain Grand Vizier who
carries an iron mask, but there is also Koura, an evil wizard who wants
to gain control of Lemuria, and he always gets in Sinbad's way.
Ray Harryhausen wrote the screen story and produced this film. Of course he also created the visual effects. They are the best part of the film, which otherwise is rather tame and formulaic. It's miles - even nautical miles - away from great fantasy masterpieces like Lord Of The Rings and The Never-Ending Story.
Ray Harryhausen is a special FX god who knocks todays CGI wizards into
a corked hat . Compare the skeleton scenes of JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS
with many of today's movies and tell me what effect is more convincing
? No contest is it ?
Unfortunately the problem with THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD is that the audience is sitting there waiting for some great stop frame animation to come along and the film drags its feet in this respect . Twenty five minutes into the running time and there's only one small sequence featuring the Harryhausen effect , instead the audience have to put up with a bunch of not unknown British television actors standing around talking . The stop frame animation sequences do eventually come but how many children would have been bored senseless by this time ?
Watching THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD today is of interest for only two reasons . One is that the heroes are obviously Muslim which you probably won't be seeing in too many movies these days while the other is that the producer of DOCTOR WHO at the time Barry Letts decided to cast Tom baker in the title role after seeing him in this movie
Not by design, it seems I'm watching Ray Harryhausen's films in reverse
order. I've reached "The Golden Voyage of Sinbad", and it's occurred to
Well, perhaps I should reserve judgement on his oeuvre for the present. After all, "The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad" (1958) has a classic reputation, whereas this one doesn't particularly - but all the same it strikes me that...
I'll just say it: it's not very good. In fact, it's downright bad. Sorry, but I'm certain of this. There are just too many reasons for me to be wrong about all of them.
The year of release (1974) marks the start of the Dungeons and Dragons era, and this is the perfect movie to act as its herald. It has a plot only a dungeon-master could love. Sinbad and his crew must search for the golden this to partake in the ceremony of such and such in order to thwart so-and-so; the reasons offered to Sinbad don't strike me as particularly compelling ones, but he sets off without demur nonetheless. Every so often the dungeon-master will drop him a broad hint. There's even an oracle who speaks vaguely in verse - can you believe it?
So the story isn't so great. It isn't well presented, either. I get the distinct impression that Harryhausen is fast-forwarding through the exposition so that he can get to the bit where he does his stop-motion. We have an encounter with the first of the five stop-motion monsters in the very first scene, before we have been properly introduced to the characters - indeed, we are never properly introduced to the characters. (Note, though, that it IS a sequel.) This film is really an older version of the special-effects flick, where the story and everything else is just an excuse. The parallel goes further than you might think. Consider that first monster. It is, as it turns out, just a plot device, by which the wizard can magically spy on the heroes. There was no need for it to have been a stop-motion plot device: a crystal ball would have served. The same goes for some of the later creatures. One of them is even a humanoid, and could easily have been played by a live actor (and since the interaction between humans and stop-motion figurines is often clumsy, this would have been preferable). Or consider the animated six-armed statue. A similar creation actually WAS played by a live actress in "The Thief of Bagdad" (1940), in a better looking and far more memorable scene. And just stop yourself a little, in the final confrontation between stop motion creations, and ask yourself if you can with any certainty say what is going on and what has been going on for the last ten minutes or so. I couldn't.
Harryhausen, in an interview, claimed that the stories of Sinbad and Greek myth have far more "warmth" than, say, Norse myths, and I know exactly what he means. The Mediterranean sunlight makes this seem like a holiday of some kind - a holiday to a cultured as well as an exotic land, for "The Arabian Nights" and Greek myths are sophisticated fictions by highly cultured civilisations. I'm just trying to understand what charm people see in this movie, because I still think the execution fails miserably. Maybe another source of charm is the women. Here we get to see a gorgeous, busty Caroline Munro, although we don't get to see very much of her - either of her body or of her character. If it's the women you're after then check out the next in the series, "Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger" (1977), which has Taryn Power AND Jane Seymour, both of whom at least play some reasonably prominent role in the story AND display considerably more flesh. It amounts to roughly eight times the eroticism.
I mentioned "The Thief of Bagdad" earlier. That it's a far better film than this one I need not bother to say; the interesting thing is that they have in common one Miklós Rózsa, who wrote the score to each. Both times he wrote his very best, most luscious music. I wish he had worked on more fantasy films. If you're after a good reason to see "The Golden Voyage of Sinbad", he's the only one I can think of.
A salty sailor of the seven seas, acting like Indiana Jones with a wraparound do-rag, vies with a venomous demon worshipper for a golden amulet which will allow the holder to rule the world....or some such crap. The story was dumb, the special effects especially non special, and the props looked like they were purchased at Woolworth's end of the year super blowout sale. This may rate as the yawner of the decade.
|Page 7 of 7:||     |
|Plot summary||Plot synopsis||Ratings|
|Awards||External reviews||Parents Guide|
|Plot keywords||Main details||Your user reviews|
|Your vote history|