The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Sony/Columbia Pictures - 1958
MPAA Rating: G
Feature running time: 88 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: ACV (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.66:1
Audio Format(s): English/French Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Thai Dolby Digital 5.1, English Mono
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Korean, Spanish, Chinese, Indonesian, Thai
Starring: Kerwin Matthews, Kathryn Grant, Torin Thatcher, Richard Eyer
Directed by: Nathan Juran,
Music by: Bernard Herrmann
Written by: Kenneth Kolb
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: October 7, 2008
"A fantasy adventure class comes to blu-ray"
It's an incredible cinematic adventure as the legendary Sinbad sets off on a dangerous journey to the mysterious Island of Colossus. His quest is to break the spell cast over his beloved princess by a diabolical magician. But before he can save her, Sinbad must battle an awesome collection of mythical monsters, the man-eating Cyclops, a saber-wielding skeleton, a ferocious two-headed bird called the Roc and a fire-breathing dragon. Starring Kerwin Mathews, Kathryn Grant, Torin Thatcher and highlighted by the stunning visual effects mastery of Ray Harryhausen. Now in a pristine, hi-definition transfer that captures the magic of Harryhausen's "eye-popping" special effects in dazzling Technicolor.
I can clearly recall watching The 7th voyage of Sinbad on TV when I was a child. It would usually be broadcast on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. I remember being fascinated by fantasy adventure films that featured giants and the Cyclops was the one figure from this film that intrigued me. This is my favorite of all the Sinbad movies. Sitting down to watch it now definitely left me with a nostalgic feeling. You certainly see things differently now versus being a kid. The style of acting today is obviously much different and the performances by Kerwin Matthews, Kathryn Grant and Torin Thatcher seem brutally dated. The same could be said for the implementation of the sound and visual effects. I guess that is part of the film's charm now. The story isn't complicated and is aimed prefectly at its intended target audience. Ray Harryhausen is such a genius and his work really helped establish the foundation for stop motion animation which today employs techniques that he helped develop. Clash of the titans is another favorite of mine. I remember when it came out in the early 80's and eventually began showing up on cable TV. I would watch it every time it was on and never got tired of seeing the Kraken, Medusa, or Pegasus the flying horse. Sony has also released the Ray Harryhausen Collection on Blu-ray Disc. It Includes this film as well as It came from beneath the sea, Earth vs. the flying saucers, and 20 million miles to earth. The last three all feature both color and black and white versions of the film along with a plethora of bonus features. The 7th voyage of Sinbad is a classic in my opinion and I am so happy to see films like this finding their way on to high definition Blu-ray Disc. Kudos to Sony/Columbia Pictures.
There is nothing contained in the film that would not be appropriate for younger viewers.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
The 7th voyage of Sinbad comes to Blu-ray Disc featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 28 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 1.5 mbps.
Everytime I saw this film when I was young it was in black and white so this was my first experience seeing it in color. The various middle eastern costumes worn by the cast showed off a rather wide array of well delineated tones as did the landscapes and locales featured in the film. I thought that colors were represented well and had a naturally pleasing depth with clean rendering and ample saturation. Blacks were not very deep but shadow detail was above average which provided a better sense of visual dimensionality during the dark sequences in the caves and within Sokurah's castle. Bright scenes had plenty of dynamic range and contrast. Grain is intact and quite heavy at times. During a scene that takes place on the beach after they return to the island of Colossa the background exhibited a flickering that when coupled with the grain structure made it hard to determine whether it was relative to the photography or a video related artifact. There were several instance where the camera appeared to be out of focus. One example is when Sinbad is in the cave approaching the dragon's lair. The fact that the stay motion animation was added to the image later seemed more obvious during the skeleton sword fight sequence than with the sequences that featured the Cyclops, dragon and the giant birds. During the sword fight with the skeleton he seemed to be in focus while Sinbad was slightly less focused/delineated within the same shot. Close ups of the cast looked great and were fairly detailed with less descriptive but lively looking complexions. The beautiful vista views of the island and various city locations in Spain were resolved well and had good two dimensional perspective. I would imagine that this encoding comes very close to representing what this film looked like originally.
I am happy to see that Sony offered a lossless audio mix and included a mono track that might appeal to purists. I listened to the TrueHD audio track during my evaluation. The films opening bursts through loud and crystal clear with Bernard Herrmann's rousing music as it emanates from every speaker to encapsulate the listening position. It plays for the entire opening credit montage and sounds instrumentally divergent with punchy dynamic attack and smooth highs that are not edgy or fatiguing. Let's face it, this is not the type of soundtrack that is going to erupt with room shaking impact. There is enough surround activity so that certain scenes have more of an enveloping spatial presence. This is the form of musical and atmospheric ambience that is laid back but appreciable. There is no deep bass information mixed to the subwoofer but I never felt as though it was necessary. The majority of dialogue and creature sound effects are mixed to the center channel. Dialogue was intelligible and well intonated but sounded somewhat thin and lacking is prominence. I think this was due more to the source than the sound mix and attempts to improve it probably would have had negative results. The creature effects had better weight but still sounded narrow. Neither observation was detrimental and in the end blended well with the other elements present within the soundtrack. I felt that this presentation conveyed the aspects of the film quite well and didn't try to add anything in order to modernize' it.
Fans are sure to be pleased with this comprehensive bonus set that contains a nice blend of features dedicated to the film and Ray Harryhausen. I found the Harryhausen Legacy piece to be extremely interesting and the best of the bunch. Enjoy!
- Audio commentary featuring Ray Harryhausen, Visual effects experts Phil Tippet and Randall William Cook, Author Steven Smith and Arnold Kunert
- The Harryhausen legacy - Interviews with leading Hollywood visual effects experts and directors who talk about how Ray Harryhausen inspired them
- The music of Bernard Herrmann - Hosted by Bernard Herrmann biographer/author Steven Smith
- Photo gallery - Production still slide show played to the music of Bernard Herrmann
- Sinbad may have been bad, but hes been good to me music promo from 1958
- A look behind the voyage - Featurette
- Ray Harryhausen interview by Director John Landis - A discussion with Ray that looks at Jason and the Argonauts
- (HD) BD Previews
- BD-Live enabled
I suspect that there are many fans of this film that are going to be pleased with this offering from Sony Blu-ray. This is a film classic that is deserving of release in high definition. While its elements don't necessarily lend themselves to the highly polished and detail rich visuals of today's films this presentation seems to represent them in good faith. Fans can revel in the host of bonus content that offers a wealth of information on the film and the brilliant work of Ray Harryhausen that brought it to life. This Blu-ray disc is a must have for fans.
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