On September 15th in the year of our Lord 2018, Universal Studios will be closing one of Islands of Adventure’s longest running shows in its original format, The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad. This news caused the collective hive mind of theme park bloggers to go: eh? By and large, most people don’t like the show. But I’m here to tell you, it’s still at least enjoyable even if it isn’t good in a traditional sense.
First and foremost, let’s talk about the plot. It’s about Sindbad and his sidekick Kabob (who I swear is only called that so they can make a terrible pun early in the show) who try to reclaim a jewel, save a princess, beat a evil sorceress and her minions and do as much Power Rangers stunt fighting as possible. Is the plot super complicated or deep? No. Is the acting top notch? Depends on the cast. But what makes this show a well polished turd is the spectacle that it offers.
The show’s greatest strength is the creative with the fight choreography. Most other stunt shows highlight that it is a stunt show and how they show the making of it. Sindbad goes all in as THIS is real and it’s tongue is firmly planted in every cheek and doesn’t even remotely take itself seriously, but commits 100%. This allows crazy things like teleporting portals, flips into water, everything as a weapon (even a kitchen sink), swinging on ropes and a man on fire. It’s a show that goes for broke at every step of the way and comes off as being silly and over the top, but that’s where it’s charm lies.
Now when I say go for broke, that is probably its down fall. All of the actors playing these parts aren’t cheap. They get paid more for all the inherent dangers of being in a job that requires you to be set on fire or be near an explosion or say things like, “Shh-Kabob.” Not to mention all the pyro, safety crews, technicians, etc. All of it racks up quite the bill, and over the years a show that hasn’t been updated or given a big reason to go to in the current theme park trend of IP popularity, so it’s dwindling popularity, high cost and negative perception, the writing is on the wall for it to be closing.
Now is this the worst thing at Universal, absolutely not, Fast and Furious has that covered. Is it the worst thing at IOA? Debatable, but this is Islands of Adventures we’re talking about. A park that has mediocre rides at its worst. So if you’re comparing Sindbad to Forbidden Journey, yeah it’s going to be bad by comparison. But looking at the Eighth Voyage of Sindbad for what it is, a hokey early 2000’s stunt show that goes all out to entertain guests, it’s a great show to watch and does exactly what it sets out to. So I’ll miss The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad when it closes. May it Rest In Peace in Theme Park Heaven.