Every week EW’s Dalton Ross and his wife, writer Christina Kelly, have a… um, lively discussion about what movie they should watch with their two children (Dale, 12, and Violet, 9) that weekend. Now they make their cases publicly and you get to vote on the choices and decide how the Ross family will be spending part of their weekend. The power is in your hands, people. In a special Christmas edition last week, Christina’s selection of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ defeated Dalton’s pick of ‘The Polar Express.’ Read on and then vote for which film they should watch this week.
Dalton’s Pick: The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)
Perhaps no Ross Family Movie Challenge loss rankles me more than that travesty of a week when my clearly superior selection of Jason and the Argonauts lost to Duma. Duma! I didn’t even know what Duma was! (Turns out it stars Campbell Scott and a cheetah.) So I am here to avenge that loss with another masterpiece from the mind of special effects wizard Ray Harryhausen : The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.
The plot of The 7th Voyage of Sinbad is… completely unnecessary! But it basically involves Sinbad being forced by an evil wizard to travel back to the island of Colossa to retrieve a magic genie lamp. What’s important are the awesome battles pitting Sinbad against all manner of stop motion island beasts, including some giant bird with two heads and a sword-wielding skeleton. The pièce de résistance is a fight to the death between a cyclops and a fire-breathing dragon. And if for some reason all this is not enough to sway you, there is something called “the dance of the Cobra Woman.” Films like The 7th Voyage of Sinbad manage to somehow be dated and timeless at the same time. Sure, the special effects seem primitive compared to today’s fully computer generated worlds, but there is something in that simplicity that makes it all the more charming. I should also make it clear that this film in no way, shape, or form involves the comedian Sinbad. So, that’s another plus.
Christina’s Pick: Yellow Submarine (1968)
I see your antiquated film and raise you a Beatles soundtrack! This animated movie’s format is similar to that of Fantasia, which I proposed a few weeks ago. I was shot down by the voters, but I am feeling confident after my two-week winning streak. It’s largely a series of trippy montages set to Beatles hits such as “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” “Eleanor Rigby” and, of course, “Yellow Submarine.” I was 7 when this film was released, but I have no memory of seeing it as a child. I do vaguely remember The Beatles’ Saturday morning cartoon. Apparently The Beatles made this film to comply with some three-picture deal, and they didn’t even voice the dialogue in most of the film. Actors did that duty for them.
During this pre-New Year’s Eve weekend, I’d love to just kick back with some psychedelic proto-music videos and goofy 60s dialogue. On the other hand, if Dalton’s choice is voted in, I will be getting even more rest, no doubt sleeping through the entire thing.