Monday 2 August 2010

Had enough of people mining Harryhausen for soulless remakes?

Too bad!


Just... why.  I mean, there's ripping off Bradbury, and there's outright plagiarism.  "In Dynamation!" it boasts - Harryhausen should sue.  Not to mention this comes hot on the heels of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and Mishmash of the Cretins, a truly Asylum-esque marketing ploy.  (I haven't seen Prince of Persia since my last experience with a mythologically-tinted movie was... unpleasant.) About the only good thing about the production - that being they finally have an ethnic Persian as Sinbad - is wasted since for some reason this Sinbad is bald.

Then the film openly invites scorn by claiming to be based on the original One Thousand and One Nights. If you're playing that game, then it would be nice if you at least had some modicum of consistency with the source material. See, the Fifth Voyage of Sinbad in the original work had a few notable elements:

  • Sinbad & the sailors come across the Roc's egg and eat the chick within
  • Mama Roc goes berserk, and sinks the ship by dropping boulders
  • The Old Man of the Sea enslaves Sinbad
  • Sinbad tricks the Old Man and slays him
  • A passing ship takes him to the City of the Apes, where the human populace spend the night in boats while anthropophagous apes stalk the city's streets

So... any evidence of those events in the trailer?  Any at all?  Because all I can see are a bunch of homages to the Harryhausen Sinbads.  Some of the most famous creatures are the Statue of Kali from The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, and the cyclops from The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad.  Kali is of Hindi origin, the cyclops Greek. Guess which beasties are featured on the poster despite having no place in the original mythology of Sinbad? Those unaware would be forgiven for thinking Sinbad's fifth voyage was very similar to his Seventh and Golden voyages...

What bothers me most, of course, is that after the initial tide of negative comments, we're bound to see that tired, inevitable refrain "hey, it's a cheesy fantasy movie, it's meant to be bad!"

Lord, I hate that copout. "Nobody goes to these films expecting enthralling plots, compelling characters, exciting creatures, exotic locales or heroic themes! They just go there to turn their brain off for a few hours! You're a fool for expecting anything else from a Sword-and-Sandal film, and frankly, an intelligent fantasy film would be missing the point, and be a complete disappointment and failure to the genre!"

To these people, I present my response.


  1. I'm with you, Al. Especially since I think Golden Voyage of Sinbad is a pretty decent little sword & sorcery film. It has a darker tone than the others and the sorcery is closer to what we saw in Howard (basically necromancy with a price). Not to mention it features Caroline Munro, who was about as close as you could get to an REH babe back in the day. Unless these guys are paying Harryhausen a royalty, they should stop ripping him off. As far as the 'meant to be bad' brigade go, I don't think Ray was trying to be cheesy. He was trying to make an exciting film on a limited budget and with the best creature effects available in those pre-CGI days.

  2. I love Golden Voyage of Sinbad (and Caroline Munro)

  3. Sinbad is another character I keep waiting for someone to do right since Golden Voyage. The animated movie that was out a few years ago depicted him as a pirate. Totally, completely wrong.

    Wouldn't Sinbad be a public domain character? I'd love to write a Sinbad comic. Of course, writing a Muslim character in what I would call these "sensitive" times may be problematic. Unfortunate.

  4. Please, Crom, let it be a fan-made trailer and this whole thing's just a cruel hoax!

    (goes fetal and sucks his thumb, muttering, "Just a bad dream. Yes, it's just a bad dream." But it isn't, and the horror consumes him.)

  5. I'm in full agreement, Charles & David: Golden Voyage (and to an extent even Seventh Voyage, even though it was undeniably lighter in tone) are among the handful of good Sword-and-Sorcery films. Not just because of Harryhausen's effects, but because everyone involved treated it seriously. Jason and the Argonauts is another.

    Oh, and I was absolutely hypnotised by Caroline Munro as a lad. Still am, come to think of it!

    Blackstorme, another thing about that last animated movie is they made Sinbad Greek. The entire film is pretty much set in the Mediterranean, featuring such locales as Syracuse and Greek gods and monsters. I'm pretty sure it was a result of the current climate regarding Muslims, since having an Arabic hero would bring "financial and political repercussions..." which kind of ignores the fact that not making Sinbad an Arabic hero would do exactly the same.

    Oh, Tex: you haven't heard the half of it. There's another Sinbad on the horizon... one I'll get to soon.