• Sinbad And The Eye Of The Tiger



    Released by: Twilight Time Releasing
    Released on: December 10th, 2013.
    Director: Sam Wanamaker
    Cast: Patrick Wayne, Damien Thomas, Margaret Whiting, Patrick Troughton, Jane Seymour
    Year: 1977
    Purchase From Screen Archives

    The Movie:

    In this third and final film in the series, directed by Sam Wanamaker in 1977 and once again featuring stellar work by special effects titan Ray Harryhausen, Sinbad (this time played by Patrick Wayne – yep, The Duke’s son) and his crew are tasked with the chore of ensuring the safe delivery of Prince Kassim (Damien Thomas). The prince has had the unfortunate luck of being transformed into a baboon and needs to be brought back to his homeland of Ademaspai so that he can be transformed back into a human in time for him to be crowned the king. You can see how being stuck in baboon form might be a problem for heir apparent, but with Sinbad on the job, it should all turn out okay. Accompanying him on this journey is the gorgeous Princess Farah (Jane Seymour), the sister of poor Kassim

    Things get complicated for Sinbad and his crew when Zenobia (Margaret Whiting), Kassim's evil step-mother who also happens to be the witch who turned him into the baboon in the first place, tries to stop the crew. Her motive? She wants to ensure that her own son will be crowned king, not Kassim. As the crew heads out to complete their mission, they'll have to avoid the witch and all of the monsters that lay in their path along the way. Thankfully they have the help of an alchemist named Melanthius (Patrick Troughton, the second Doctor in the BBC’s Doctor Who) and his lovely daughter Dione (Taryn Power) to help them on their journey.

    Sinbad And The Eye Of The Tiger is, hands down, the least inspired of the three Sinbad films, at least from a storytelling perspective. Like the two movies that came before it, the plot follows Sinbad and his compatriots on a quest that will see them do battle with an evil magician of sorts and, of course, loads of monsters. This third entry borrows too heavily for its own good from the first movie and there aren’t quite enough unique characters this time around to make that pilfering of plot any less obvious.

    That leaves Harryhausen’s work to pick up the slack, and thankfully on that level the movie delivers. We get some impressive set pieces here, be it the opening scene when Sinbad is attacked by a hoard of bug-eyed alien looking undead, a scene involving a giant wasp, a battle with a massive walrus or the thrilling but tear jerker of a finale where a friendly Troglodyte takes on a huge sabertooth tiger. The creativity and sense of wonder created by these scenes saves the picture and makes what is in all actuality a bit of a tired retread a completely enjoyable experience.

    On top of that, we get a pretty decent cast – not quite as good as what we were given in The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad but still a pretty decent selection – highlighted by Patrick Wayne. He doesn’t always show the most range here but he’s built right for the part and handles himself well in the action scenes. He’s dashing and handsome and if he’s not completely convincing in a turban, he’s quick with a sword (and really, that’s more important, right?). Patrick Troughton is a lot of fun in his role and both Taryn Power and Jane Seymour are beautiful and fairy mesmerizing in their appearances here. Again, this doesn’t captivate the way the first two entries did but it’s a fun way to spend two hours with a movie, and the kind of film that makes you feel like a kid again.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Sinbad And The Eye Of The Tiger debuts on Blu-ray framed at 1.66.1 widescreen in AVC encoded 1080p high definition in a transfer that completely blows away the previous DVD release. Colors look absolutely gorgeous here, really showing off the filters used to light up the weird cave where much of the finale takes place and also allowing for some really radiant sunshine and outdoor landscapes. Skin tones look lifelike and natural, there are no issues with noise reduction to note, while compression artifacts are held firmly in check. Edge enhancement is never a problem and the source material appears to have been in excellent condition as outside of a couple of specks here and there, the picture is more or less pristine. Detail and texture are both very obviously and impressively better than what we had with standard definition and while some of the film’s many optical effects are maybe a little more obviously just that, this is really an excellent picture. Just pay attention during the stop motion scenes and note just how much more extra ‘stuff’ you can pick up on during playback!

    The only audio option for the feature itself is an English language DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track, with optional subtitles provided in English SDH. While it would have been nice to see the original mono track included here, the 5.1 remix is fairly faithful to the source material. The dialogue pretty much stays in the front of the mix while the surround channels handle most of the effects and sometimes spread out the score to nice effect. Levels are properly balanced and there are no issues with hiss or distortion to note.

    Extras a little slim but we get a few goodies here starting with a quick three minute piece called This Is Dyna-Mation, which is basically a fun vintage highlight reel showcasing some of Harryhausen’s work. Outside of that, the disc also includes the film’s original theatrical trailer, an isolated score track in DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, menus and chapter selection. Inside the Blu-ray case is a nice full color booklet of liner notes from Julie Kirgo that are once again worth a read. She makes some interesting points as to the use of the baboon in this movie, noting the human traits he is infused with (for reasons that make sense in the context of the story) but also tying in his presence to Harryhausen’s infatuation with the original King Kong.

    The Final Word:

    Sinbad And The Eye Of The Tiger is the weakest of the three Sinbad movies but it is still a whole lot of fun, the kind that makes you feel like a kid again. Patrick Wayne makes for an enjoyable leading man here and he’s surrounded by a fun cast while once again, Harryhausen’s amazing special effects work steals the show. Twilight Time’s Blu-ray roll out is light on extras but it looks and sounds fantastic. If you’re a fan of the film or of Harryhausen’s work, it’s pretty much an essential release.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!