Gotta love psychedelic shit from this era. With artists of all kinds trying to push their work to be as ambitious and forward-thinking as possible, fusing influences from wherever they could be found and creating grand works like this...it feels like they were onto something we never quite cracked. Like they knew the direction we had to go to create the ultimate art, but they could never quite do it. They were reaching for god and got SO close...it's a feeling that's infinitely interesting for me but that I have to take a step away from and just revisit now and then. It's easy to get stuck in thinking of that as the highest achievement of art in general and with that we limit our own creativity, our tastes, and risk making the same mistakes that those involved in it did. We shouldn't be free love druggie hippies hoping to make change by freeing our minds and reaching god through the sex and drugs, but we sure as hell can learn from and appreciate what the art born of all that ended up being.
That whole spirit is in this film, it's clearly aligned with everything else going on in the late 60s that had already started to crash and burn in the west. It captures you for that reason, if you have a taste for that. There's beautiful minatures and live action footage mixed with traditional animation in a charmingly rough fashion that reminds me more of when Spongebob did that than the more successful examples of those techniques, but it still works to its benefit. If I'm honest, though I've seen Arabian Nights and the stories lumped in with it adapted in a million different forms and I have some distant experience with some version of the original stories...I have a very hard time telling what is from that and what is original. Nevertheless, there's a lot of misogyny and...oddities in here that you can ignore at first when the full psychedelic wave is hitting you but quickly get to be grating as you come down.
The only reason I don't rate this significantly higher is that it loses its edge fairly quickly and eventually is just a disjointed telling of these stories that's not really all that exciting. The bits at the beginning when it's truly losing its mind are where the value of the thing are in focus, it would actually work much better as a music-driven deep psych dive with sexual imagery all over the place. It sags, and that's unfortunate, but it's still absolutely worth a watch for the moments where it really shines.
Let me do my own scoring system for reviews, cowards.