Outstanding DVD Collection! Ray Harryhausen At His Best!
Erik Morton | Carmel, CA United States | 04/27/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"THE 7th VOYAGE OF SINBADBy far the most "classic" of the three, this spectacular piece of cinematic adventure may very well be Ray Harryhausen's masterpiece. Legendary sailor Sinbad (Kerwin Matthews, in his signature role) is on the verge of marriage to Princess.....uh, I forget (a beautiful Kathryn Grant), and uniting their two countries. But not before the evil magician Sokurah (Torin Thatcher, in an extremely amusing performance) can shrink the princess to a doll's size in order to get Sinbad to return him to the Island of Colossa. There, Sinbad battles a giant Rok, a fire-spewing dragon, and (my personal favorite), the Cyclops...all brilliantly achieved by the greatest FX pioneer of all time, Ray Harryhausen. Oh, and there is the classic duel with the skeleton. Now I constantly hear people say, "Oh, like in 'Jason & the Argonauts'?", and it drives me crazy! Though the battle was far more elaborate and, well, better in that film, this is the original, people, the one that started it all! Indeed, this type of fight would appear again, and again, and again in subsequent Harryhausen films, ever improving (which really showed the true ingenuity of the man). "The 7th Voyage of Sinbad" is most likely, THE fantasy-adventure classic of all time, though some people say the same for the original "The Thief of Baghdad". But, I haven't seen that film, so I couldn't say. Plus, it doesn't have special-effects wizard Ray Harryhausen behind the camera to provide dazzling creatures right out of a dreamworld! A rousing, witty score by Bernard Herman, too!
Rating: 5/5THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBADMy favorite of all three films, even if it doesn't really deserve the title "classic" as much as "7th Voyage" did. John Phillip Law replaced Kerwin Matthews in the title role, and proves to be less impressive, but only by a little. And, hey, he actually has an accent! This time 'round, Sinbad discovers a strange map disguised as a golden treasure of sorts, and with it sets off to the magical isle of Lemuria, where legend has it that if you place the map/trasure in the Fountain of Destiny, you will be granted all-powerful, all-knowledgable, and eternal youth. But he'll have to reach the isle before the black sorceror, Koura (played to perfection by the sinister Tom Baker), who has more than a few tricks up his sleeves to stop Sinbad and his crew! This is a much different film than the first; the swashbuckling attitude is replaced by a darker, but more mystical atmosphere, which I find very cool! The score by Miklos Rozsa perfectly matches it, too (just check out the music during the scene with the Oracle; it's awesome!). The story is very inventive, with more twists-n-turns than you would guess. There is lots of suspense, too! And there is also Caroline Munro as the love interest for all you teenage boys out there! Ray Harryhausen once again provides a massive array of imaginative and expertly constructed creatures, including a flying homunculus (a spy of koura), and a six-armed statue of the goddess Kali, which is the showcase for a masterfully-choreographed sword fight sequence. As well, there is an exciting battle between a one-eyed centaur and a griffin! A first-rate fantasy-adventure.
Rating: 4.5/5SINBAD & THE EYE OF THE TIGERBy far the least of the three, it's still enjoyable, nonetheless, though not for all the same reasons as the first two. First off, the acting is atrocious, but it is in a bad way; rarely do you feel the need to laugh out loud at its campiness. Second, the plot is pretty lame, and recycles quite a bit from the preceeding voyages. Sinbad is now played by Patrick Wayne, the son of John Wayne, though it really doesn't show. He has none of his father's prescense on screen, nor does he possess any acting abilities whatsoever! He is now on a quest to the land of *it's a really long, utterly forgetable name*, in order to return the Prince Kassim back to his human form. You see, he has been transformed into a baboon (?!) by the evil sorceress Zenobia (Margaret Whiting), but Sinbad must have the prince's permission to wed the Princess...once again, I forget her name, but it's a really hot Jane Seymour. They are joined by the wize man Melanthius (Patrick Troughton, I think) and his lovely daughter (Taryn Power). Like I said, the story is weak, so it's up to the craftsmanship of Ray Harryhausen to save the day, and he does it very effectively! The giant walrus isn't menacing in the least, but the fight between the Troglodyte and Saber-toothed Tiger is suspenseful and exciting. Indeed, the creatures (such as Kassim the Baboon) produce more emotion than the actors themselves! All except for the Minaton...I mean, he's supposed to be this unstoppable colossus, right? Well, all he does in the entire picture is row a friggin' boat! That we are deprived of seeing this brute giant in action is all but devastating. The music is overall mediocre, but the backgrounds are beautiful and mystical. In fact, the production crew shot the film in places that had never been used in any film before it, and it shows! (P.S. Why the hell is it called "The Eye of the Tiger"? It has nothing to do with any tiger, nor any eye...at least, not enough to put in the title.)
Rating: 3.5/5CONCLUSION: This a great trilogy to add to your Ray Harryhausen collection. All three films are digitally remastered, and they're all beautiful (especially "The Golden Voyage"). They all feature the excellent documentary "The Harryhausen Chronicles", too. On a little side note, the DVD covers and great production notes inside are awesome!"
Hooray for Sinbad (and Bernard Herrmann, too)
Avrohom Leichtling | Monsey, NY | 07/18/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ray Harryhausen's primal importance in the realm of science fiction and special effects goes without saying. These are marvelous adventure films, truly entertainment for the whole family.As a musician, however, I must point out that one of these films, The 7th Voyagoe of Sinbad, contains what is without question the single most important piece of music every written for a film- and that is, of course, Bernard Herrmann's score.Herrmann, who is by now well known to most people as one of the prime movers in the realm of adventure and science fiction musical scores, wrote one of his best for this film.Back in 1958, as an eleven year old, I remember seeing this film at the old Roxy Theater in NYC. I was entranced by it, but most of all by the music. It had such an impact on me that it decided the direction my life would take, that is, as a composer. If music could have such a terrific and powerful effect on people, then I wanted to take my fledgling efforts "all the way." This lead me to NYCs High School of Music and Art and, eventually, to a Bachelor's, a Master's and a Doctoral degree in composition from Juilliard. I have never regretted that decision, nor forgot the impact of that moment.I've been able to share this with my own children. There are few films so relatively pure in their fantasy. Enjoy, but listen, too."
"From the land beyond beyond... from the world past hope and
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 08/16/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This set collects all three of the Ray Harryhausen/Charles H. Schneer Sinbad films on DVD, for better or worse. The cast and crew may have changed over the years, but one thing remained constant, that being a genuine sense of fun and excitement inherent within all three films, assisted by Ray Harryhausen's dedication to his craft of bringing to life fantastic, mythical and imaginative creatures through his process of Dynamation. All in all a highly enjoyable set at a decent price.
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)
Co-written by Ken Kolb ("The Wild Wild West") and Ray Harryhausen, and directed by Nathan Juran (The Brain from Planet Arous, 20 Million Miles to Earth, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman), the film stars Kerwin Mathews (The 3 Worlds of Gulliver, Octaman) and Kathryn Grant (The Night the World Exploded, Operation Mad Ball), who would later be known as Kathryn Crosby, after her marriage to Bing `Der Bingle' Crosby. Also appearing is Richard Eyer (The Invisible Boy), Torin Thatcher (The Crimson Pirate, Jack the Giant Killer), Alec Mango (The Strange World of Planet X), Harold Kasket (Moulin Rouge - the original, not the popular remake), and Alfred Brown (Crack in the World).
Sinbad (Mathews) must rescue the fair Princess Parisa (Grant) from the spell of an evil magician named Sokurah (Thatcher), who looks a lot like Albert Finney playing Daddy Oliver Warbucks in the 1982 film Annie. Along the way he encounters a giant Cyclops (perhaps more than one), a snake woman, an overgrown, two-headed, eagle-like bird and her two-headed offspring, a sword fighting skeleton, a ginormous fire-breathing dragon, and a genie named Baronni (Eyer).
The anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) looks sharp and clean, and the Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio comes through clear and defined. There's a healthy assortment of extras including an image display of an original theatrical poster, two interview segments with special effects creator Ray Harryhausen titled `A Look Behind the Voyage' (11:45) and `Jason and the Argonauts' (11:47), two featurettes titled `This is Dynamation' (3:26) and `The Ray Harryhausen Chronicles' (57:53), talent files, and a whole mess of trailers, including one for this film, along with 20 Million Miles to Earth (1957), Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956), The 3 Worlds of Gulliver (1960), Jason and the Argonauts (1963), and It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955). 5 stars.
The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974)
Co-written by Brian Clemens ("The Avengers") and Ray Harryhausen, and directed by Gordon Hessler (Scream and Scream Again, `KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park'), the film stars John Phillip Law (Danger: Diabolik), Caroline Munro (At the Earth's Core, Maniac), and Tom Baker, who would find his niche in his next role as the lead character (played by many over the years) in the long running BBC television series "Doctor Who". Also appearing is Douglas `Nayland Smith' Wilmer (The Brides of Fu Manchu), Kurt Christian (Horror Hospital, Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger), and Robert Shaw (From Russia with Love, Jaws) as the floating, larger than life, gangrenous, disembodied, riddle speaking, horned head of The Oracle of all knowledge...seriously, you have to see, fizzy bubbles and all, it to believe it...
Sinbad (Law) races against an evil wizard (Baker) to collect the most fabulous prize in the world and save the Kingdom of Marabia, encountering such fantastic creatures as a homunculus (a tiny, winged demon looking creature), a lively ship's masthead, a six-armed statue of Kali a sickly cycloptic Minotaur (half humanoid, half bull), and a griffon (wings and head of an eagle, body of a lion), with slave girl Caroline Munro and her heaving cleavage in tow.
The film is presented in both widescreen anamorphic (1.85:1) and fullscreen format, both looking very clean and clear. The Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio comes through well enough to satisfy most. There's a good amount of special features available, including three featurettes titled `Mysterious Island' (9:04), `The 3 Worlds of Gulliver' (5:21), and `Earth vs. the Flying Saucer" (8:37), vintage advertising, an original theatrical trailer, and production notes in a insert booklet. 4 stars.
Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977)
The third and final Sinbad outing co-produced by Ray Harryhausen and Charles H. Schneer, co-written by Beverley Cross (Clash of the Titans) and Ray Harryhausen, the film was directed by actor/sometimes director Sam Wanamaker (Irreconcilable Differences, Raw Deal). Starring is Patrick Wayne (Beyond Atlantis, The People That Time Forgot), son of The Duke, and Jane Seymour ("Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman"). Also appearing is Taryn Power ("The Count of Monte-Cristo"), Margaret Whiting ("Shroud for a Nightingale"), Patrick Troughton (Scars of Dracula, The Omen), and Kurt Christian (Horror Hospital, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad). An interesting note...the actor credited as playing the Minoton (the robotic Minotaur) is Peter Mayhew, who's probably most famous for his role as that big, hairy, lovable wookie Chewbacca in the Star Wars films.
Sinbad (Wayne) must rescue a prince from the evil spell of a scheming witch, encountering along the way some emaciated demons, a bronze colossus, a larger than average bee, a ginormous prehistoric walrus, a giant troglodyte, and a vicious sabretooth tiger. The luscious Jane Seymour and Taryn Power tag along for the ride.
The DVD presents an excellent looking widescreen (1.85:1) anapmorphic print, and features a decent Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio track. There are some special features available, including two featurettes titled `This is Dynamation' (3:26) and `The Ray Harryhausen Chronicles' (57:53), along with production notes within an included booklet, and a trailer for this film, along with ones for other Harryhausen works like The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), 20 Million Miles to Earth (1957), Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956), The 3 Worlds of Gulliver (1960), and Jason and the Argonauts (1963). The special features here are nothing new, especially if you own other releases in the Ray Harryhausen collection. 3 stars.
By the way, if you really want to go hog wild on Harryhausen, there's a five DVD set entitled The Fantastic Films of Ray Harryhausen - Legendary Monster Series that contains not only these three films, but also includes Jason and the Argonauts (1963), one of his best films, and 3 Worlds of Gulliver (1960). "
Paul J. Moade | Jacksonville, FL United States | 08/24/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A good trio of films which will take older audiences back to the days of Saturday afternoon matinees and the younger folks can have a taste of the work of one of Hollywood's greats -- Ray Harryhausen. The stories are the typical hack and slash, rogue magician, rescue the damsel or get the jewel kind of fare which we're all very familiar with. The imaginative effects of Mr. Harryhausen and Mr. Hermann's musical score are what make these films stand out from others such as, say, Sons of Hercules. In my own personal opinion, the best of the films is the second -- The Golden Voyage. There is much mystisism and adventure which will delight even the most jaded of fans -- and the plot is a bit more involved. As to the set -- well, DVD is most always perferable over VHS if for no other reason than it will outlast tape. Especially if you have kids who like watching this sort of film again and again. The films are a bit 'pricey' considering their age and all -- and the set doesn't offer you much in the way of a savings. Still, These are classics and can be enjoyed by young and old alike. By the way, if these three films capture your interest, check out the '60s version of 'Jason and the Argonauts'. Same type of storey -- different main character. If you're not sure whether these are your type of entertainment, rent one of them (again, I'm partial to 'The Golden Voyage'). If you enjoy that, you'll enjoy the others.~P~"
Some of the greatest fantasy films of all time
Alan Olsen | Portland, OR USA | 11/21/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Will someone please tell me why Ray Harryhousen has not won an Oscar for lifetime achevement in special effects?There are great films. They are the kind of films that you used to go to see for the pure enjoyment of them. They had heroes, villians and cool looking monsters.They were creative. They were not carbon copies of whatever was the "current trend in movies". They were fun films that you remembered long after you saw them.Unlike the "family fare" of today, they were not preachy. There were no morals rammed down your throat. And they were never boring.I won't spoil the plots. If you are looking for good fantasy fare, these are the films you are looking for.They should have made this a four pack with "Jason and the Argonauts". (One of the other memorable Harryhausen fantasy films.)"