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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer ( )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital Mono
  • French: Dolby Digital Mono
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono
  • German: Dolby Digital Mono
  • Italian: Dolby Digital Mono
  Subtitles
    English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Hebrew, Czech, Greek, Polish, Hungarian, Dutch, Arabic, Portuguese, Turkish, Icelandic, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Hindi, Bulgarian
  Extras
  • 3 Theatrical trailer
  • 2 Featurette
  • 6 Filmographies

Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger

Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 109 mins . PG . PAL

  Feature
Contract

A couple of my old animation cronies were so envious when I told them I was reviewing the box set of Sinbad films. It was a good feeling to know I had all three of these classic oldies to check out, as the last time I saw them I was about 12 years old and it was a Saturday afternoon (not so this time, late Thursday night, thank you very much).

"And what by Zeus and all the Gods, have we got here?"

Our tale focuses on Sinbad (Patrick Wayne) as he returns from a year at sea to ask for the hand of Princess Farah (Jane Seymour) in marriage. She isn’t ready to marry him yet though, not with her brother Kassim transformed by evil into a baboon. Apparently Melanthius can un-bewitch him, though no one is even sure he exists, just that he lives over the sea and far away. For Sinbad, that’s more than enough and he’s off on another great adventure. Naturally there are all the amazing monsters and rumbles we’ve come to expect from these films and the animation is fantastic. Created by long revered champion of animation, Ray Harryhausen, some of these animated sequences are still as great today as they were back then because it’s masterful work (for anyone who thinks the name familiar, the restaurant in Monsters, Inc. was respectfully named after him.)

This film has been crafted with love on a shoestring budget and so we must look beyond the dodgy sets and lower grade acting to get to the juicy innards of the fantastical beasts and adventurous storyline. It’s well worth it. While not being a great think piece, it is a story of olde, and made with talents and abilities rarely seen today. This is rousing adventure on the high seas with the fighting and swordplay against foes real and fantastic equally shonky. This doesn’t stop us loving it, though, but rather has us screaming for more. They sure don’t make ‘em like this any longer.

  Video
Contract

16:9 enhanced widescreen with the full on 1.85:1 ratio gives us the cinema screen at home. Unfortunately, we also get a swarm of film artefacts along for the ride. I like to think of this as contributing to the feel of the film and adding a certain charm, but I’m sure there are others who would disagree. Nevertheless, the picture is mostly good, although night and dark scenes suffer heavily from grainy treatment and compression issues. Occasional shadows go green too and we lose some detail, which is a shame, though nothing that impedes the plot. Fleshtones are alright mostly, but there are moments where the makeup gets just a little too heavy, on both eyeshadows and eyeliner as well as darkening skin tone. Jittering occurs where reel changes would have been and there are also instances of aliasing. Such a shame, but I guess the cheapness of the transfer fits with the theme of a cheaply made film.

An example of cheap: In just the 11th minute (11:56) Sinbad’s earring falls out mid-conversation and nothing is said, before BING! it’s back in the next scene, before disappearing and reappearing until scene’s end. Oh well. Another instance is one baddie’s eyepatch swapping sides continually from left to right! I truly respect cheap filmmaking and all that, but some things should be reshot, I mean, come on. There are also plenty of greenscreen artefacts, in characters’ hair particularly, but on costumes and appendages as well.

  Audio
Contract

This film is presented in glorious mono. Also, bearing in mind that this is cheap flick, the music is just a tad Saturday arvoish. That’s cool, it fits with the film, but it gets a tiny little bit tinny at times. For the most part it is passable and doesn’t overbalance the dialogue or sound effects. The dialogue, however, is a bit clunky at times and poorly delivered. It’s legible at least and clear enough, it’s just that some of the lines are a little thick on the cheese factor. Naturally, we have my old friend the Stock Sound FX Gang making a brutal appearance in everything from monster roars to sword swishes and Punching-Sound A through Punching-Sound G. It’s still good, though.

  Extras
Contract

Here’s where the DVD shines. Featuring no less than three Theatrical Trailers (for Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad and Jason and the Argonauts) there’s a Dynamation preview for everyone! There are also six comprehensive Filmographies of cast and crew and a three and a half minute Featurette called This is Dynamation! This is little more than a brief description of how they make their animation and effects work so successfully and is quite interesting, if a little short. Finally, the Featurette piece de resistance: The Ray Harryhausen Chronicles. Narrated by Leonard Nimoy, this is a 58 minute trip into Harryhausen’s world, covering the hows and whys of his animation and life. This is mesmerising stuff for me, but would also interest anyone enthralled by learning from the wealth of information and techniques on ‘just how they did that.’ The definite highlight of the extras, without contest.

  Overall  
Contract

At times during this review I’ve sounded like I’m having a go at a cheaply produced film from the ’70s. Not true - I loved this film very much, perhaps all the more for its inadequacies and its heart on its sleeve. Films like this just don’t get made anymore and this remains as an historical document of a time long gone, but not forgotten. Whenever I mention this or similar films to people, an involuntary smile erupts on their face as they are suddenly whisked away to being a kid and watching with wonder the massive battles between long gone or fantastical creatures. This is pure fantasy, unrestricted by reality and striking us on a level rarely touched in today’s world. Classic material never goes out of style and even today’s kids will enjoy it, because it has all the factors that appeal to them - action, adventure, bright colours and costumes, killer animation and romantic tales of long ago. Dads will love it because they remember it and they’ll want to share it with their kids today, showing them a time when people used stop motion and models rather than computers. It’s much harder to animate using models and takes a lot longer, but the skill level of someone like Mr Harryhausen shines through, eclipsing a lot of today’s industry standard stuff.

Don’t expect science, just enjoy the fantasy.


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      And I quote...
    "Now I’m singing that stupid Rocky song and it’s not even in this movie! (Thank God!)"
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
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    • Video Cables:
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