Tuesday, May 1, 2012

MST3K: Episode 505 - The Magic Voyage of Sinbad

I'm watching all of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes in order. More about that here and here.

Episode 505: The Magic Voyage of Sinbad

First aired: Comedy Central on 14 August 1993
Availability: iTunes, Amazon (Volume 20), Shout Factory (Volume 20), Best Brains (Volume 20)

It's not Sinbad!
Remember all those great Sinbad movies?

Yeah, me neither.

Not that I don't remember Sinbad movies. I just don't remember any great ones. Heck, I don't remember any good ones.

Oh, just to be clear, when I say I don't remember any good Sinbad movies, I'm talking about the Sinbad the Sailor character from literature, not Sinbad the Entertainer character from Michigan. No, the movies of the man born David Adkins is not the subject. No discussion of Houseguest, The Cherokee Kid, First Kid, or any of those films will occur.

Sinatra is king.
Of course, if MST3K had lasted longer, perhaps we would be covering them. But, it didn't and we're not.

No, we're limiting our discussion to the movies featuring the character Sinbad. Specifically, The Magic Voyage Of Sinbad, which wasn't a Sinbad movie.

Say what?

That's right. The Magic Voyage Of Sinbad wasn't about Sinbad. It was about Sadko.

Okay, then, who was Sadko? Well, he was a character from Russian literature who caught a great fish, only to discover true happiness was at home. Or something.
Sinbad loves Luberia...... but that's not Luberia! Then again, that's not really Sinbad, either.
Yes, Sadko was Russia's Dorothy Gale.

Not-Sinbad catches a golden fish.
Anyway, the Russian folk tale was turned the opera Sadko by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. There were also elements of 1001 Arabian Nights incorporated into the opera. So, when Roger Corman hired Francis Ford Copolla to adapt the screenplay to an American audience, Sadko was changed to Sinbad, some cities were renamed, and we ended up with The Magic Voyage Of Sinbad.

So, how did it go?

Not too good, actually. The original film was supposed to be a decent film. Some of the visuals of the scenery was left intact, and looked pretty good. The problem is generally considered to be the campy tone the movie picked up in the American screenplay. Of course, that's the version we're covering.

The Bluebird of Happiness is quite depressing, actually.
Sinbad goes around the world obtaining treasures and giving it all away. He promises to catch a golden fish and gets some aquatic tart to help him. He returns with the fish and makes the town merchant give away all their goods, but the people aren't really happy after all. He then goes looking for a bird or something, but the bird is really boring, so he returns home because that's what's important really. Or something. The end.

There's actually a lot of stuff going on in this movie, and in the Host Segments.

The Host Segments poke fun at the Emmy Awards, the Rat Pack, and puppetry. There's also segments involving scenes from the movie, including Crow deciding to travel, a town council to deal with Sinbad, and jesters.

There's no Sinbad in the movie, but, yes, that is a dancing octopus.
The movie is actually well-made. Some of the scenery is really good, and some of the special effects are rather good for a 1950s movie. In The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Amazing Colossal Episode Guide, Kevin Murphy actually compliments the movie for this. That means there's a whole element that can't be riffed on. Or so you'd think. Crow does mention that in a humorous way, so they still get one in about the quality of the production.

I was entertained by the movie. It's one of those that's actually watchable. Well, somewhat watchable. So, you need to watch the episode a couple of times so you can pay closer attention to the riffing. Well, I did anyway.

Not a great, but a very good episode.

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