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The 7th Voyage of Sinbad

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad -

I decided to take a detour from the '80s fantasy binge I've been doing to classic fantasy and I'm very glad I did. This has the potential to be one of the best fantasy movies I've ever seen, or at least the most fun one. In this Sinbad (Kerwin Matthews) story, he runs afoul of evil magician (is there any other kind) Sokurah (Torin Thatcher) while on the mysterious island of Colossa, an encounter that leads to a cyclops confiscating the magician's magic lamp. Incensed by Sinbad and the Caliph's decision to not return to the island to get it back, he enacts revenge by shrinking Sinbad's fiancée, Parisa (Kathryn Grant), andh the only known cure is found on - you guessed it - Colossa.

Nathan Juran's direction is a well-oiled machine for how every scene has something enjoyable in it. There's also a welcome buildup and release between each moment of fun so you never feel like it's being crammed down your throat. In other words, Michael Bay must have skipped the showing of this movie while he was in film school. The cast are no slouches either, the highlight for me being Torin Thatcher's scenery-chewing performance as the devious Sokurah, which must have been a fun role to play. Also, with its vibrant Technicolor, detailed sets and Spanish shooting locations, the movie is simply a joy to look at. Now, let me finally praise the movie's secret weapon: Ray Harryhausen. Not only is each of his claymation inventions from the cyclops to that poor baby roc to my favorite, the skeleton knight, impossible to look away from while they're on screen, they have near-seamless integration with the performers. Then again, is Bernard Herrmann the real MVP? The movie has one of his best scores, particularly during the skeleton knight battle, which features an instrument I would describe as a bone xylophone.

Are there any noticeable flaws? Not really. While I could mention that Sinbad is never properly introduced - I'm much more familiar with the one who was in Houseguest, I might add - it's because he doesn't need to be; after all, the character is in three feature films released not too long before this one, so he was sort of a superhero of his era. Not to mention, early on, I expected to criticize the marginalization of Parisa's character - no pun intended - as a mere damsel in distress. Thankfully, she's more than that and actually uses her new size to her advantage. All in all, it's a very fun fantasy adventure that stands alongside several that came after it that have more advanced and/or larger budgeted special effects. Oh, and if you don't think a scene with a claymation creature can bring you to tears, watch this.