(1977) dir. Sam Wanamaker
With the kids back from England, I querried them on what to rent for Friday night movie night. Felix was pretty clear: Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger. Or rather semi-clear: Sinbad and the Golden Eye. Eventually we worked it out.
The third and final Ray Harryhausen animation-effect Sinbad film after The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958) and The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974) is certainly the least interesting of the three. Harryhausen, of course, would produce the visual effects for on more film, 1981’s The Clash of the Titans, which I reckon that we’ll queue up before too long. It’s interesting timing for Harryhausen, coming out the same year as the original Star Wars (1977), it is the end of an era of stop-motion animation, the end of an era only truly ear-marked by the beginning of a new era, one in which the visual effects folks were the progeny of Harryhausen.
For Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, I distinctly remember when this film hit the theaters, was already a big Sinbad and Harryhausen fan. It was less inspired than its predecessors, and while Harryhausen would attempt one last shot at a major special effects film, this one was not his most interesting.
Just simply the monsters in this film are less interesting. Starting with three bug-eyed demons (a poor man’s versions of the skeleton warriors, not so well-designed), and then a giant walrus, giant bee, a baboon, a giant sabre-tooth tiger. The “minotron”, the all-gold robotic minotaur, doesn’t really get to do a whole lot. He stabs a sailor and then ultimately gets crushed by a big stone that he clumsily pulls on top of himself. The best beastie in this film is the trogolodyte, the humanized good guy with a horn and scaly skin. He’s the most aesthetically pleasing and nice to see a good guy monster.
The film doesn’t feel too inspired. Some of the effects look less effective, color-challenged transposition of Harryhausen’s DynaRama. It’s not abysmal. It’s just weaker. Felix did enjoy it. Clara and Victoria were frightened by the minotron, so they skedaddled to watch Felix the Cat upstairs.
I am sure we’ll see more of Harryhausen’s work. This is one cycle, the Sinbad films, that is now complete.