BLU-RAY REVIEW: SINBAD THE FIFTH VOYAGE / CERT: 12 / DIRECTOR: SHAHIN SEAN SOLIMON / SCREENPLAY: SHAHIN SEAN SOLIMON, EVELYN GABAI / STARRING: SHAHIN SEAN SOLIMON, DANIELLE DUVALE, SAID FARAJ, PATRICK STEWART / RELEASE DATE: DECEMBER 22ND
Another film inspired by the Sinbad tales from The Arabian Nights, Sinbad the Fifth Voyage shows Sinbad (Solimon - also the director and co-writer) on his latest quest to save the love of his life, Princess Parisa (Duvale), from the sinister Deev (Faraj) who wants to claim her soul for his own deeds. Along the way, Sinbad and his merry band of thieves and rogues must contend with mythical islands and strange cities filled with giant creatures and blood-sucking vampires.
Sounds exciting, right? Except it’s anything but, as Shahin Sean Solimon has made a film that not only fails in honouring the Sinbad legend but also makes this year’s 300: Rise of an Empire look like the work of an absolute cinematic genius. For many years, the Sinbad stories have resonated with audiences around the globe and the Ray Harryhausen movies have stood the test of time, with different generations being enthralled by their cinematic spectacle.
All that magic is what’s lacking in this film, and within the first opening minutes things immediately starts to go pear-shaped, and Sinbad the Fifth Voyage carries on in that vein for the rest of the film. The story is all over the place and shambolic, with many different plot points that come out of nowhere and go nowhere. The acting is incredibly hammy, with performances that wouldn’t look too out of place in a pantomime show or a CBBC programme. Patrick Stewart’s narration does add an element of class to the whole thing, and he’s by far the best aspect of the entire thing, but it’s just a shame he didn’t provide a voiceover for the whole film. Also, why does Sinbad have an accent in the movie, but the older narrator Sinbad speaks with an English one? Strange…
In terms of the special effects, the stop-motion animation seems to be paying homage to Harryhausen’s work, but it looks cheap in comparison and completely lacks any of the soul, the beauty or peril that the legendary Ray Harryhausen’s work had on the originals. The choreography, which involves Sinbad fighting these monsters made out of plasticine, looks horrendous and even Harryhausen himself would’ve been deeply embarrassed by this. Equally atrocious is the editing, and because of that it makes what could’ve have been an average movie into something that is deeply cringe-worthy.
In the end, Sinbad the Fifth Voyage doesn’t even earn the right to call itself a Sinbad movie, and is instead a hollow and amateurish attempt to recreate an iconic classic. Do yourself a favour; go watch the Harryhausen originals, as they are infinitely more appealing.
Special Features: None
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