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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Nathan Juran
Cast:
Kerwin Mathews, Kathryn Grant, Richard Eyer, Torin Thatcher, Alec Mango, Danny Green, Harold Kasket, Alfred Brown
Writing Credits:
Ken Kolb

Tagline:
8th Wonder of the Screen!

Synopsis:
Sinbad travels the seven seas and faces just about every horrific demon under the sun, including the wicked magician Sokurah, as he battles to free his love, the beautiful princess Parisa, from an evil spell.

Box Office:
Budget
$650 thousand.

MPAA:
Rated G

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.85:1/16x9
Audio:
English Monaural
Portuguese Monaural
Spanish Monaural
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Portuguese
Korean
Thai
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 88 min.
Price: $19.94
Release Date: 11/30/1999

Bonus:
• “The Ray Harryhausen Chronicles” Documentary
• “A Look Behind the Voyage” Featurette
• “This Is Dynamation!” Featurette
• “Ray Harryhausen Interviewed by John Landis” Featurette
• Trailers
• Talent Files


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Harman/Kardon DPR 2005 7.1 Channel Receiver; Toshiba A-30 HD-DVD/1080p Upconverting DVD Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


The 7th Voyage Of Sinbad (1958)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 31, 2008)

Would anyone not actually involved with the project remember 1958's The 7th Voyage of Sinbad were it not for the involvement of legendary special effects creator Ray Harryhausen? Not a chance! Harryhausen's groundbreaking work aside, this movie's an absolute stinker.

Yes, I say that from the vantage point of 50 years’ cinematic development. Luddite film buffs will try to convince you that it's a classic, that newer movies are soulless and can't touch it, blah blah blah. You know something? Just because a movie's old doesn't make it good, a fact that Voyage proves in spades.

Omitting Harryhausen's work from the equation - more about that later - Voyage has nothing going for it, and not just because it's dated. It offers extremely poor acting across the board. Stars Kerwin Mathews (Sinbad) and Kathryn Grant (Princess Parisa) are stiff Valley kids who seem completely out of place in this movie. I must acknowledge that Grant's quite sexy in an apple-cheeked Fifties kind of way (as Der Bingle obviously agreed, since he later married her). Torin Thatcher is all wild-eyed hamminess as evil magician Sokurah, and the less said about the bizarre casting of thirteen-year-old Richard Eyer as the Opie-esque Genie, the better. I'm sure there are movies out there with worse acting, but I can't think of any right now.

The story itself has potential for excitement, but the production values seem so fantastically cheesy that it was impossible to suspend disbelief. The broad acting makes it hard enough to invest any emotion in the story; the crudeness of the remainder of the film causes it to be virtually impossible. Add to this some pathetic dialogue and you have a true loser of a movie.

Harryhausen’s effects do hold up pretty well, though. No, modern audiences won’t find themselves fooled by the stop-motion animation, but that doesn’t matter. Harryhausen’s creations show a personality and charm that makes them effective, and they give the movie whatever minor signs of life it shows.

Is it unfair for me to slam this movie because its Fifties standards don't match those of today? Perhaps, but lame is lame is lame. I can allow for difference in standards all I want but it won't make this stinker any more entertaining.


The DVD Grades: Picture D/ Audio C/ Bonus B

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. This erratic transfer came with a number of problems.

My main complaint came from the excessive grain that affected much of Voyage. This was a virtually constant presence that made the entire image rather messy. I didn’t mind the grain so much during interiors or effects shots; I expected them there. However, even daytime exteriors suffered from an awful lot of grain, and that left us with cloudy visuals that tended to mar every other aspect of the image.

Other source flaws caused distractions, though not to the same level of severity. I noticed specks, marks, hairs and nicks on occasion. Black levels seemed okay, though they tended to be a little too dense. Shadows were fairly smooth and well-developed much of the time, though some ugly “day for night” shots looked rather opaque.

Because of all the grain, colors varied. At times they could be pretty dynamic, but since the grain often made it look like we watched the film through gauze, the hues usually suffered. Much of the time they were flat and runny.

Sharpness was erratic. The messiness caused by the grain could make things seem tentative, and since that was such a big factor, much of the movie looked moderately ill-defined. Some shots featured nice delineation, but the transfer lacked consistency. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement remained minor. Honestly, without the excessive grain, this probably would have been a decent transfer, but as is, it looked pretty bad.

7th offered a passable monaural sound mix that did some things right but nonetheless had a fair number of flaws. Actually, only one major problem affected the audio: the fact that all dialogue was so obviously and poorly dubbed. I can't recall the last time I heard such artificial-sounding speech; it seemed so fake that it sometimes resembled the stereotypically bad dubbing of foreign martial arts films. While the dialogue was always intelligible and lacked other problems, I couldn't help but feel extremely distracted by how poorly it got integrated into the action.

Otherwise, overall audio quality was relatively decent for the film's age. Dialogue, effects and music seemed thin and shallow, and the mix lacked balance - speech really dominated - but the track to display any prominent examples of distortion or any other source flaws. This ended up as an average track for its age.

The one saving grace of this DVD comes from its fine assortment of supplements. The prime attraction is a terrific 58-minute documentary called the Ray Harryhausen Chronicles. The program features narration from Leonard Nimoy and also presents interviews with Harryhausen, producer Charles Schneer, Ray Bradbury, George Lucas, special effects master Dennis Muren, and stop motion filmmaker Henry Selick (James and the Giant Peach and Nightmare Before Christmas).

We also see a lot of great archival footage from literally every stage of Harryhausen's career, including some wonderful material he created as a teen. This program offers an excellent chronological history of Harryhausen's career (and essentially the evolution of movie effects, as well). It's very nicely paced and quite charming; overall, it's an absolutely fascinating feature.

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad DVD provides a few other shorter programs also. We get Interviews: A Look Behind the Voyage, an 11-minute and 40-second piece that features comments from Harryhausen, Schneer, and actor Kerwin Mathews. This is a pleasant and entertaining feature that offers some interesting details about the creation of the film.

This Is Dynamation! is a three and a half minute featurette that comes from the era in which the movie was released. It's short and frothy fun, in a campy way.

Jason and the Argonauts is another documentary, but this one focuses on the film of that name. Director John Landis interviews Harryhausen and has him demonstrate some aspects of his effects work. The piece lasts for almost 12 minutes and essentially provides an abridged history of Harryhausen's career. It shows nothing particularly crucial that we don't hear elsewhere, but Landis' obvious affection and semi-awe help make it entertaining; ultimately, it helps give us a better appreciation for Harryhausen because we can see him through the eyes of those who really learned from him.

In addition to all these features, we receive an abundance of trailers. We get promos for 7th Voyage of Sinbad, 20 Million Miles to Earth; Earth Vs. the Flying Saucers, The 3 Worlds of Gulliver, Jason and the Argonauts, It Came from Beneath the Sea, and The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (not to be confused with the porno film, The Golden Showers of Sinbad). Talent Files for Harryhausen, director Nathan Juran, and actors Mathews, Grant and Thatcher appear; as is typical of CTS DVDs, these offer very little information and are nearly useless. The DVD also shows a reproduction of the theatrical poster and contains a booklet with basic but interesting information.

While I really respect the pioneering visual effects work of Ray Harryhausen, many of the flicks on which he worked weren’t good. The 7th Voyage of Sinbad boasts some cool visuals but otherwise stinks. Packed with poor acting, bad dialogue and a host of other problems, it’s a pretty bad movie. The DVD offers flawed visuals, pretty good audio, and a very nice roster of supplements. This is a passable release for a silly movie.

To rate this film, visit the 50th Anniversary Edition review of THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD

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