A Brief Review of The 7th Voyage of Sinbad
I finally got around to rewatching The 7th Voyage of Sinbad yesterday afternoon. I had been meaning to watch it again after several years, but never got around to it (and TCM seems to really prefer The Golden Voyage of Sinbad [which I will give a review when it reairs on TCM in November, if I remember]). Now back to The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, I really like this great example of stop motion and high adventure.
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (directed by Nathan H. Juran) focuses on an uneasy alliance between Sinbad and the magician Sokurah. The two head to the Island of Colossa to find a roc shell to restore the Princess Parissa (Sinbad’s love interest) and retrieve a magic lamp.
This movie is fantastic and just a little bit different. Indeed, all of the Sinbad films have this unique quality the wizards, sorcerers, witches, or magicians that Sinbad faces are portrayed as realistic characters who are not wholly evil. This is especially true of Sokurah, an at times affable magician who can be as cutthroat as anyone when he needs to be. He is the main antagonist because it is his all consuming passion for the lamp and the power of the genie that drives him to essentially blackmail Sinbad and the Caliph of Baghdad to get back to the Island of Colossa. I sympathize with him a lot, and on viewing the film now, I really do not sympathize with Sinbad that much. Sokurah, who saved Sinbad and several of his crew from the Cyclops, is routinely disrespected and ill rewarded for his efforts. Does he have his own agenda? Yes, of course he does. Is he justified in his actions to achieve his goals? No, but then there would be no film.
For me, the hardest things to forgive Sokurah over is the initial shrinking of Parissa and the usage of the enslaved genie (Barani). Barani’s plight, and the plight of all bound genies, is sad, and he deserves his freedom. But to go from being a powerful genie to just a cabin boy (although whether he maintains his power is unknown) may be a let down. But it is also clearly wish-fulfillment. What kid wouldn’t want to sail with Sinbad, join Batman as Robin, or be Jonny Quest?
My biggest problem with the movie lies in Sokurah’s attack on Parissa that shrinks her down.
Given what happened the night before, the continued refusals of aid, and the banishment, I find it hard to believe that Sinbad would not suspect that Sokurah himself had struck Parissa down in revenge and to get what he wanted. Indeed, there is no mention of any sort of investigation. It is just dropped.
The acting is hit and miss. The best acting comes from Torin Thatcher (Sokurah), Kerwyn Matthews (Sinbad), and (surprisingly) Richard Eyer (Barani). The rest of the cast are hit and miss generally.
But of course, the strongest aspect of the film is in the beautiful sets and the stop motion effects. I always love how the sets and designs of this genre of film comes to look. Even with the technology they had, it looks great. And don’t get me started on the stop motion. Amazing.
In all, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad is a great film and a great example of what could be done with stop motion. They really don’t make films like this any more.