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Islands of Adventure – Lost Continent:
Eighth Voyage of Sinbad

Rating: * * * +
Type: Amphitheater show
Time: About 20 minutes
Short Take: Slapstick stunts and explosions galore

In a 1,750-seat theater we get to witness the eighth voyage of the legendary Sinbad (seven just weren’t enough). This is a live-action stunt show that means to rival the Indiana Jones show over at that other movie studio park (no, not Universal) but is betrayed by clunky script.

Here Sindbad sets off on yet another search for riches untold, encountering along the way the inevitable life-threatening perils. Sindbad and his trusty but talkative sidekick Kabob (as in "Shush, Kabob!") have traveled to a mysterious cavern filled with treasure and the bones of earlier adventurers. Here the evil sorceress Miseria holds the beautiful Princess Amora in thrall and only the Sultan's Heart, an enormous ruby with magical powers, can free her. It's Sindbad to the rescue, but first he must battle Miseria for the Sultan's Heart and the ultimate power that goes with it.

Sindbad fights valiantly on the Princess's behalf. But this is no wimpy maiden in distress. Amora is a princess for the postmodern age, with hair of gold and buns of steel, who can hold her own against evil monsters, thank you very much. Together, the three heroes battle the forces of evil in its many grisly guises and (spoiler alert) eventually triumph. It's an action-packed spectacular that features six "water explosions" and 50 — count 'em, 50 — of Universal's trademark pyrotechnic effects, including a 10-foot-tall circle of flames and a 22-foot-high fall by a stunt person engulfed in flames.

Note: Sadly, at press time most of the show's pyro has been eliminated, severely dampening the attraction's biggest draw. This could be an early warning sign that Sindbad may soon be making way for that rumored expansion of the Wizarding World.

Sindbad's set alone, with its dripping stalagmites and crumbling pirate vessels, is stupendous. The show takes advantage of every inch of it, including the wrecked prow of an ancient ship that seems to have run aground in the very middle of the audience, and the stunts are all energetically executed by the athletic cast. Unfortunately, the dialogue is packed with clumsy one-liners and pop-culture anachronisms that drag the production down. The result is a dazzling but depressingly dumb display best enjoyed by children and non-English speakers.

The best seats in the house. If you enjoy getting wet, there are two "splash zones" in this show, one toward the front to the right of the audience and the other in the middle, to the left of the wrecked prow that juts into the seating area. Otherwise, every seat gives a good view of the action, which has very thoughtfully been spread all over the enormous set. Sitting a few rows back, just to the right of the wrecked prow, offers a particularly good perspective on the action, including some bone-crunching fights that happen almost on top of you. Another good choice is the last row in front of either of the two arched entrances on the left and right. These seats give you a great panoramic view of the action, have a back rest, and offer a quick getaway at show's end. Another bonus, if you're sensitive to sound: the open archways behind you let the sound out instead of bouncing it back at you.

You've read the excerpt,
now buy the book!

Universal Orlando 2011


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