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Film / Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger

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Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger is a 1977 fantasy adventure film inspired by tales of Sinbad the Sailor. Sinbad is portrayed in this outing by Patrick Wayne. It is the third and last Sinbad film on which Stop Motion master Ray Harryhausen worked after The 7th Voyage of Sinbad and The Golden Voyage of Sinbad.

This incarnation of Sinbad is due to marry the beautiful Princess Farah (Jane Seymour (Actress)), but when he returns to her kingdom he and his crew are ambushed by monsters. The creatures are dispatched relatively easily, but the princess reveals to Sinbad that their troubles aren't over. Her brother, Prince Kassim, was about to be crowned Caliph when his wicked stepmother Zenobia cast a spell that turned him into a baboon (animated by Harryhausen). If he isn't turned back into a human soon, Zenobia's equally wicked son Rafi will be crowned Caliph instead.

Sinbad and his crew, with Farah and Kassim in tow, head out to consult the great sorcerer Melanthius (Patrick Troughton). He and his daughter Dione join the adventure as they all head for a lost, fertile city beyond the Arctic wastes where a magical energy that can reverse the curse can be found. All the while, Zenobia and Rafi, via a boat rowed by a clockwork minotaur, are in hot pursuit.

Not to be confused with that other Eye of the Tiger and its cult song.

Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger provides examples of:

  • Artistic Licence – Religion: Melanthius and Dione are still worshipping the Greek gods in the late eighth century, and none of the Muslim characters, good or bad, has the slightest problem with this.
  • Bathing Beauty: Princess Farah and Dione become these once they get to Hyperborea, only to be interrupted by the troglodyte.
  • Beast and Beauty: Dione with Kassim, and later with the troglodyte.
  • Bee Afraid: When the bee laps up the red liquid, it starts growing...until it becomes a giant hornet!
  • Beta Couple: Dione and Kassim. Though they meet well after he's been transformed into a baboon, he is inwardly still human enough for the two to form a bond with each other before The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body takes effect.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: A giant wasp.
  • Big Damn Heroes: When the group are cornered by the Guardian of the Shrine aka the titular tiger (possessed by Zenobia) things aren't looking good for our heroes - until the troglodyte they befriended comes bursting in to help. Sadly, the trog doesn't survive, but he does make time for Melanthius, Kassim, Dione and Farah to get away. The trog also brings in the Minoton's spear, which turns out to be the only effective weapon against the tiger.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Actually subverted: Maroof narrowly escapes death during the giant walrus attack and is among the last of the characters to die in the film.
  • Blood Magic: Used by Zenobia.
  • Bookends: The movie opens with the unsuccessful coronation of Kassim, and closes with the successful one, at last.
  • Call-Back: The Smilodon dies due to Inertial Impalement, much like the Allosaurus in Harryhausen's earlier classic, One Million Years B.C..
  • Dies Wide Open: Rafi
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Zenobia clearly cares about her son and he about her. His death devastates her.
  • Forced Transformation: Prince Kassim has been turned into a baboon.
  • Frazetta Man: The troglodyte is a strange midway point between this and Our Ogres Are Hungrier, being a huge, hairy, horn-sporting caveman with bestial features whose language is so close to ape-like that he can communicate with the baboonified Kassim. In stark contrast to both of his parent tropes, though, he's a purely benevolent figure, once Melanthius convinces Sinbad's crew that he's scared of them and not out to kill them.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Dione.
  • Gentle Giant: The troglodyte turns out to be one.
  • Harmless Freezing: The Guardian of the Shrine, a giant sabre tooth cat, has been frozen in ice for thousands of years. It re-animates and breaks out of the ice, alive and unharmed. Justified, as it's the work of Zenobia's dark magic.
  • Hero Killer: Zenobia ratchets up quite the bodycount over the course of the film, especially once she possesses the smilodon.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The Troglodyte loses its battle against the sabertooth, but manages to distract it long enough for most of the main cast to escape, and brings Sinbad the Minoton's spear, which is the only weapon capable of killing it.
  • Horned Humanoid: The troglodyte's head is topped with a single horn.
  • Idiot Ball
    • The Big Bad witch Zenobia visits Sinbad at his ship to gloat over his inability to save Prince Kassim. Unfortunately Princess Farah is present, and she blurts out that the sage Melanthius may be able to turn Kassim back into his true form. This lets Zenobia know that she must take an active hand to stop Sinbad. If Princess Farah had just kept her mouth shut, Zenobia wouldn't have interfered. Not only would Sinbad's mission have been much easier, but the shrine of the Arimaspi wouldn't have been violated and its power would have been available in future situations.
    • Sinbad's ally, the wizard Melanthius, interrogates Zenobia after she's been captured. Not only does he show her an important map and key, asking her if they're what she's looking for, he then feeds some of her magic growth potion to a killer bee. Not surprisingly, the ensuing mayhem allows Zenobia to escape.
    • The dumbest has to be Zenobia sending her son to attack a group of 6 humans and a baboon alone. He dies in 10 seconds flat (half of that time spent rolling down the stairs with the baboon) without doing any harm. This is a man who was supposed to be the ruler of the kingdom, not a trained fighter.
  • Inertial Impalement: In the Arimaspi shrine, Zenobia possesses the body of a sabre-toothed cat in order to kill Sinbad. During their battle, Sinbad uses the Minaton's long metal pike to fend her off. As they fight on some stairs, Sinbad holds up the pike toward her as she leaps upon him, impaling herself on the pike. She falls to the floor nearby, and he finishes her off with his sword.
  • Last Villain Stand: With her son dead and her plan in ruins, Zenobia possesses the smilodon for one last ditch effort at killing Sinbad and his crew.
  • Licensed Pinball Table: Gottlieb's Sinbad, released in 1978.
  • The Load: Princess Farah definitely (she manages to screw up walking), Dione slightly less so.
  • Lost World: Hyperborea, land of troglodytes and the eponymous sabre-toothed cat.
  • Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: Dione is a variant where the Mad Scientist in question (Melanthius) is a good guy.
  • Mama Bear: Zenobia despite being a evil sorceress cares about her son to the point that she possesses a Smilodon in order to kill Sinbad and his friends after her son dies at the hands of them.
  • Medieval Prehistory: Kind of. The overlap between a Lost World and a medieval Arabic society edges into this.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: Kassim initially retains his humanity after he's transformed — he can play chess with Farah and Sinbad and even write. By the time the party reaches Hyperboria, he's acting much more like an actual baboon, and Melanthius fears that if he isn't changed back soon, he never will be.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Princess Farah (Jane Seymour) and Dione (Taryn Power).
  • One-Winged Angel: Variation in the climax — Zenobia merges herself with the frozen body of a giant sabre-toothed cat, bringing the beast to life, so she can finish off the heroes.
  • Our Minotaurs Are Different: Zenobia's servant the Minaton, a giant bronze minotaur-shaped golem. In close-ups the Minaton is animated. In long shots it was portrayed by Peter Mayhew, who also played Chewbacca in Star Wars.
  • Panthera Awesome: Zenobia possessing the sabre-toothed cat.
  • Partial Transformation: This happens to Zenobia — she doesn't have enough elixir to fully undo her seagull transformation the second time 'round, with her left foot remaining a seagull foot.
  • Screaming Woman: Princess Farah screams a lot (while also managing to only have one or two canned screams).
  • The Stinger: The end credits roll over the remains of the Hyperborea shrine, and at the end of them Zenobia's cat eyes open, providing a jump scare.
  • The Unfought: The Minaton initially seems like it’s going to be a major antagonist and Zenobia’s primary weapon, in fact it is crushed to death by rocks before it even encounters Sinbad.
  • Stripperiffic: Most of Princess Farah's outfits cover very little.
  • Toplessness from the Back: Princess Farah often; the scene where she and Dione are bathing is perhaps the most blatant.
  • Villainous Mother-Son Duo: Zenobia is an evil sorceress who is the main villain of the movie. Her son Rafi assists her in her evil plots, including trying to assassinate Sinbad at the beginning of the film and attempting to kill the sage Malanthius near the end. It's made clear that both Zenobia and Rafi love each other as mother and son.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Zenobia transforms into a seagull to slip onto Sinbad's ship undetected.
  • Wicked Stepmother: The sorceress Zenobia.
  • Wicked Witch: The thoroughly evil Zenobia.
  • Wily Walrus: Sinbad's crew is attacked by a gigantic walrus in the land of Hyperborea. The creature is animated by stop-motion legend Ray Harryhausen.