Somehow in 1977 as a ten year old this movie ‘Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger’ slipped past me. I don’t even remember seeing this movie on Saturday mornings or anything like that the way I remember movies like ‘Jason and the Argonauts’ or ‘The Golden Voyage of Sinbad’. I know that 1977 was the year of ‘Star Wars’ and all, but I don’t remember being so Star Wars mad that I would put everything else out of my mind, but I don’t remember ever seeing this movie, which is a shame because ‘Sinbad and the Eye or the Tiger’, while obviously no ‘Star Wars’ would’ve been a great adventure for a ten year old boy to sit through and was some helly nostalgia for a forty year old man to sit through.
We visit the magical land of Wherever This Is just in time to see Prince Kassim (Damien Thomas) don the crown of king while his crazy hot, inappropriately dressed sister Princess Farah (Jane Seymour) looks on in pride. Also observing the festivities and looking mighty suspicious while doing so is Farah’s beyond evil step mother Zenobia (Margaret Whiting) and her son Rafi (Kurt Christian) who have a little surprise for Prince Kassim.
A few months later Sinbad (Patrick Wayne) and his crew return to port but something is wrong with this land. Farah tracks him down and informs Sinbad that something really bad has happened to his best friend Prince Kassim which has upset Sinbad greatly, not only because Kassim is his number one but also because Kassim’s sister is pretty much the hottest thing on the planet earth and he needs his permission to do that thing that he needs to do. When we see Kassim’s current state, he is no position give anybody permission to do anything.
There’s one man on the planet who might be able to help Kassim and that would be the alchemist genius Malanthius (Patrick Troughton) and his daughter Dione (Taryn Power) who seems to have a thing for Prince Kassim, despite his current condition. To
cure Kassim, our crew has to make it to the North Pole for whatever reason with Zenobia, Rafi and the evil Minoton, which is a bronze statue with bad intentions, hot on their tail. All kinds of adventures and equal numbers of hostile creatures awaits our team of heroes but Sinbad will let nothing stop him from saving his boy. Because if he doesn’t save Prince Kassim he won’t get to spend any quality time with Princess Farah. Failure is not an option.
Apparently this movie released back in 1977 was G-Rated. Really? The movie was all kinds of violent featuring folks getting stomped to death, gored, stabbed, slashed, drowned and all sorts of deadly mayhem. It featured elements of the occult and black magic and even threw in a touch of nudity. Just watching Jane Seymour move was straight PG-13 but this is what qualified for a G-Rating in 1977. Pixar’s ‘UP’ gets a PG rating but this festival of nudity, violence, devil worship and implied sexuality was for ‘General Audiences’. That’s outstanding and this is why my generation is so well grounded in these things and this current generation is so screwed up.
As far as the movie itself goes it was definitely entertaining but probably more so due to the campy fun of nostalgia than the actual movie itself. Star Patrick Wayne looks the part of a swashbuckling hero but my man is no actor and doesn’t bring a lot of personality to Sinbad. But while Patrick Wayne was kind of card boarding his way through this movie, everybody else was hamming it up something fierce. The late Sam Wannamaker who directed this mini-classic must’ve told Jane Seymour to be fiery because she overacting to the extreme, but of course we didn’t mind so much because she was looking so good in the movie and besides her overacting had to take a back seat to overacting of Margaret Whiting who channeled every wicked witch ever created in her virtuoso performance. Patrick Troughton probably gave the most well rounded performance as the ‘genius’ Malanthius but we put genius in quotes because of one particular incident that has us questioning this mans intelligence. Zenobia has a magic potion which makes things grow or makes things shrink. To see how it actually works Melanthius has a super poisonous bee drink the potion, the bee then grows and of course tries to kill everybody. What the heck did the resident ‘genius’ think was going to happen when the little bee drank the giant potion?
All that being said, overacting, underacting and stupid characters are a prerequisite in any B-movie and that’s what this movie is all the way down to its very pure heart. The Ray Harryhausen stop motion characters are always fun to watch in action and whatever shortcomings the actors in this movie might’ve had they all were earnest and seemed to be having an awful good time.
The most hardcore G-Rated movie ever made, ‘Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger’ is the kind of movie that will take you back to a simpler time and have your kids wondering how we ever survived a childhood without CGI.