The Golden Voyage of Sinbad

The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974) movie poster

(1974) dir. Gordon Hessler
viewed: 05/09/08

Furthering my watching of my favorite films of my childhood with my kids, we watched The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, the second of the Sinbad films featuring the work of stop-motion animator and special effects legend Ray Harryhausen.  My daughter is actually the one who asked to queue this one up, but mainly Felix and I watched it.  He found it “scarier” than The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958).  I found it somewhat unsurprisingly less satisfying than the earlier film (as I had remembered), though certainly not without merit or charm.

The monsters in this film, Harryhausen’s specialties, are two brought-to-life statues, the first the wooden figurehead of Sinbad’s ship and then the six-armed metalic Kali statue in the oddly pan-pagan/pan-Asian tribal islanders (unusually green-skinned).  The other beasts are a one-eyed centaur and a griffin and a cute little bat-like Ymir-ish creature.

But it takes a long time for the action to build up and the film’s main characteristic other than Harryhausen’s brilliant animation is the excellent performance of a pre-Dr. Who Tom Baker as the villainous magician (channeling Christopher Lee).

My recollections from childhood were that this was the 2nd best of the Sinbad films, not as good as The 7th Voyage of Sinbad but better than its follower, Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977).  I always still enjoyed it.  I didn’t have a problem with it.  But it’s not the film that The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.  I have no doubt that soon we will watch the third of the series.

It’s an amazing thing, watching these films with my kids.  It does fulfill something within oneself that is hard to specify.  Oddly enough, Felix had been looking forward to the just released Speed Racer (2008) film (which has gotten critically panned).  And I am wondering if that is something I should take him to or not, especially when I know that he is much more looking forward to seeing Kung Fu Panda (2008) and WALL-E (2008) more than anything.

Who knows?

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