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They sure don't make 'em like they used to. The 7th Voyage of Sinbad is a high adventure film full of spirit, vigor, and then-groundbreaking special effects. What makes this film, and so many like it, superior to many of the adventure films of today is its straightforward, easygoing nature. Its plot is simple, its story direct and genuinely awe-inspiring, the action and dialogue are presented with tongue firmly planter in-cheek, the acting is never pretentious, the directing never heavy handed. The film is pure escapism, with no pretenses of anything more and therefore a lessened expectation from its audience. It certainly delivers what it promises, though, and does so in a neat, tidy, and compact package. The 7th Voyage of Sinbad is not as glossy and robust as many of the films today, but its heart and easygoing spirit more than make up for any other shortcomings it may have, particularly viewing it some 50 years after its initial release.
Sinbad (Kerwin Mathews) is a respected ship's captain, adventurer, and leader, engaged to marry the beautiful Princess Parisa (Kathryn Grant), daughter of a great Sultan. When Sinbad and his crew venture to the seemingly uninhabited island of Colossa, they meet a terrified magician by the name of Sokurah (Torin Thatcher) who is being chased by a giant cyclops. Sokurah calls on a genie (Richard Eyer) from his magic lamp to protect himself and Sinbad's crew from the dangerous beast, and they manage to escape, but not before the cyclops retrieves Sokurah's lamp. Returning to Bagdad, Sokurah is denied the men and material needed to return to the island to retrieve his lost treasure. He secretly shrinks Princess Parisa to miniature scale and informs Sinbad that the only way to return her to normal size is to retrieve an eggshell found only on the island of Colossa. Sinbad must form a ragtag crew of anyone willing to return to the deadly island, and they can only hope to retrieve the eggshell before running into the cyclops again -- or any other wondrous and deadly creatures.
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad is one of Ray Harryhausen's finest efforts, and the special effects have never looked better than they do on this Blu-ray disc. There is a charm to the simplicity of the effects, and while they are certainly out of date and not nearly as fluid and seamless as those found in something like Transformers, they are easy to embrace, fit the tone of the movie, and most importantly, never pull audiences, even audiences used to 21st century effects, out of the film. Various shots actually look great, particularly the first time the miniature Princess Parisa is seen standing atop her pillow. Such scenes are covered in scratches and debris, but never to the drastic impairment of the movie. The 7th Voyage of Sinbad offers audiences a fun thrill ride, making for an extremely watchable old-fashioned adventure but with a plethora of cheesiness to go along with it. The acting is certainly over-the-top, particularly between the Sinbad and Parisa characters as they seem to be reciting Hallmark cards to one another rather than heartfelt affections. The remainder of the cast and the delivery of the action dialogue is certainly second-rate in many cases, but because of the film's unabashed way that it revels in exaggerated yet simple storytelling, it all fits right in with the tempo of the film.— Martin Liebman, Blu-ray.com
Thu October 17, 2013, 7:30 only, VAC Basement Auditorium (1B20)
USA, 1958, English, Color, 88 mins, 35mm, 1.85:1, G