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Blu-ray Review: The 7th Voyage of Sinbad

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7th Voyage of Sinbad is classic Hollywood. It’s a grand-scale adventure, loaded with goofy costumes, magic, monsters, women, villains, and heroes. It’s not a great movie, with long stretches of dull dialogue and wooden performances, but the special effects of Ray Harryhuasen can make anything a classic.

Not surprisingly, that’s the case here. Regardless of what happened during Sinbad’s other six voyages (?), 7th Voyage is packed with Harryhausen creatures. The Cyclops is brilliant, the dragon gorgeous, the skeleton fight a true epic (only topped in Jason and the Argonauts), and the snake woman… well, let’s forget about the snake woman.

The simple tale, that of a magician trying to get his hands back on a magical lamp, is goofy fun. Torin Thatcher gives the best performance of the group as Sokurah the Magician, coming off as a true classic-film bad guy. Kerwin Mathews has the charisma for a lead role, but the dialogue he’s given is painful. The story feels like an excuse to showcase Harryhausen’s talents for the first time in color, and it can carry enough to get you there.

While regarded as a classic (and certainly with a lot of nostalgia behind that), 7th Voyage isn’t on that level. Surely the level of adventure present in Jason and the Argonauts trumps everything seen here. Still, with the dazzling stop-motion on display here, it’s hardly a total bust either.

Shot on budget and loaded with effects shots, expectations shouldn’t be too high for this Blu-ray transfer. Rest assured at that point, your expectations will be met. The only true benefit of this hi-def upgrade over the DVD is richer, bolder color. The transfer is soft, murky, and completely lacking depth. Grain is heavy throughout to the point where it becomes a problem. Some small edge enhancement can be seen in some shots. Black levels are nearly non-existent. This is a film that’s not meant for HD.

Uncompressed audio doesn’t do much for Sinbad. This is a center-loaded mix, with only occasional soundtrack bleed into the rears. The high-pitched roars of the creatures sound strained.

If the disc does something right, it’s the extras. The five-way commentary, including Harryhausen, is wonderfully informative. Harryhausen is open about his work and how each shot was done. It’s not too technical to where the audience will be confused either.

Remembering the 7th Voyage of Sinbad is a 23-minute piece that has Harryhausen exclusively talking about the film, how it came about, and what happened to the other six adventures we apparently missed. The Harryhausen Legacy is filled with Hollywood names discussing how they were affected by his films. It can be redundant at over 25 minutes, but it’s staggering to seen the number of people who credit the stop-motion master for their careers. The Music of Bernard Herman is an equally long piece about the film’s composer.

Look Beyond the Voyage is an older featurette from some time in the ‘70s about the film. John Landis interviews Harryhausen, mostly about Jason and the Argonauts, with fleeting references to Voyage. A photo gallery, music video, another retro featurette touting Dynamation, and meager BD-Live capabilities round off an excellent disc.

A soundtrack to the film was released by Colpix, Columbia’s record label at the time. Amongst soundtrack collectors, it’s highly sought after due to its rarity.

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.
  • James

    Well done on an honest review – I have seen so many positive reviews for this film by supposedly independent reviewers.

    I find it amazing that none of them mentioned the numerous out-of-focus shots – there’s even one displayed for them on the back of the box!! No increase in resolution will improve such shots. And no-one else mentioned the patch of faded colour in the bottom-left corner!!

    I didn’t expect much, and since I didn’t have the DVD, I’m happy to have a general bit of colour enhancement and very occasional resolution improvement.

    As this review honestly suggests, if you already have the special edition DVD, it’s probably not worth the upgrade!