The A.V. Club has agreed to sponsor 10 days of programming in Crackle.com’s Summer Drive-In Series. We’re providing a preview of each day’s movie (or movies) here.
Up today: The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad (1974)
We know the kids today love their martial arts battle craziness, but do any of those movies have a one-eyed centaur fighting a griffin? Huh? Didn't think so. For that, you need Ray Harryhausen's stop-motion-riffic Sinbad series, of which The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad is the second installment. Our heroic Arabian adventurer, guided by strange visions, agrees to help a disfigured vizier find the Fountain of Destiny on the lost continent of Lemuria so that he can obtain eternal youth, invisibility, and a "crown of untold riches." (Presumably if you've got the crown, you want to disappear a lot. And be a kid again.) Tom Baker (yes, Dr. Who himself) plays an evil magician who is also trying to find the Fountain and is responsible for burning the vizier's face, forcing him to hide behind a golden mask. On their way to Lemuria, Baker throws everything he can in Sinbad's way: the six-armed goddess Kali, the animated figurehead from Sinbad's ship, and various homonculi and other malevolent Dynamation creatures. There's something truly magical about Harryhausen's animation; it's shot through with humanity, infused with the love of a handmade object. And that three-dimensional miniature reality evokes the same sense of wonder that moviegoers have been feeling since Georges Méliès gave the moon a face and socked it in the eye with a spaceship.