While it's definitely not the best Ray Harryhausen "Sinbad" adventure, it's sure does stand tall against a lot of its modern competition. Flip on any SciFi Channel or network television remake of any of the wonderful Sinbad adventures, and you'll find that "Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger" is a whole lot more fun. It features wonderful, over-the-top acting and camp from Margaret Whiting as the evil Zenobia and the always excellent Patrick Troughton (the classic "Doctor Who") as the wise and wiley Melanthius. It also features excellent stop-motion animation from the godfather of modern special effects, Ray Harryhausen.
In this adventure, Sinbad (Patrick Wayne, the Duke's boy) and company take port in Charak, where Princess Farah (Jane Seymour) is distressed over the condition of her brother, Kassim, who has been turned into a baboon by stepmother and local witch (in more ways than one) Zenobia. You see, in order for Sinbad and Farah to get married, the Caliph has to bless their union. The only problem is that the would-be Caliph, Kassim, is unable to do so because of his primate problem. With no one to properly take the throne, Zenobia has plans to put her son in power and rule the kingdom through him.
In order to save both Kassim and their love for one another, Sinbad, Farah, and Sinbad's crew set off to find the old mystic, Melanthius. He seems to be the only person capable of helping them. To stop Sinbad, though, Zenobia and her son animate a bronze Minaton (think Minotaur but really shiny) to row their own boat in pursuit. After finding Melanthius and his beautiful daughter, Dione (Taryn Power), the group sets out to find a mysterious pyramid that can save Kassim's life. The only problem is that if they get there too late, Kassim will lose all sense of humanity and fully become a baboon. Can Sinbad save the day? Will he survive the attacks of a giant walrus, a wicked killer bee, demons, a Troglodite, and a sabre-toothed tiger? Stay tuned to find out.
This film is G-rated, but I should note that there is some brief, non-sexual nudity involving Seymour and Power that some may not appreciate their children seeing. To be honest, though, the nudity involves a sunning/bathing scene and will most likely not provoke certain "thoughts" except for in the minds of a particular demographic of young males. Parents should preview this part of the film, though, if nudity is a problem for them. Viewers should also know that the violence in this film is quite a bit excessive in some spots with youngsters in mind, especially when the Trog and the sabre-toothed tiger have a run-in. This might put off some smaller children more than the brief nudity.
This tale, while not up to par with the other Sinbad adventures that Harryhausen oversaw as special effects head, features two of his best creations: the Trog and the baboon. The Trog's emotions bleed through and actually becomes a legitimate character. The same can be said of the baboon. The baboon plays games with his sister, shows fear and anger, and even falls in love with Dione as the film rolls along. Do not let the less-than-spectacular plotline ruin the chance to see these two creations in action.
I recommend this tale to anybody who loves old-fashioned adventures. I highly recommend it to fans of special effects development over the years. Be sure to check out other Harryhausen creations as well. Most of the stories are in the monster/epic adventure vein, but they are all wonderful stories. You'll enjoy them all.
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Kendall Fontenot (kfontenot)
Despite looking extremely cool, I have to admit that I'm a dork. I grew up on the outskirts of the small town of Oberlin, LA. I have since relocated to the Lake Charles, LA area.I love my home state … more
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In this last go-round for the Sinbad series, Patrick Wayne plays the legendary sailor. He is betrothed to Farah (Jayne Seymour) and seeks her hand in marriage, but her brother Kassim has been turned into a baboon by the evil Zenobia (Margaret Whiting). Before he can break Zenobia's spell, Sinbad must contend with the Minoton, a bronze statue brought back to life to do her bidding; a trio of flaming skeletons wielding swords; a 9-foot-tall troglodyte; and a saber-toothed tiger. Wayne is the film's weakest point, making a rather wooden Sinbad. Whiting's performance smells strongly of ham, but it's a brand of ham that fits the movie perfectly. As always, though, Harryhausen's work is outstanding. He instills more personality and character into his creatures in this outing, especially for Kassim and his relationship to his sister. The prolonged battle between the troglodyte and saber-toothed tiger is a violent one, generating some real suspense. At times it's difficult to remember that it's not live action with guidance from a director. Though this is an uneven effort for the Sinbad series, it still has its moments.--Jerry Renshaw