Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas (U)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner08/07/2003

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 85 mins

Enjoyable adventure in the Disney tradition, though thankfully without the songs – impressive set-pieces make up for what it lacks in gags and characterisation.

Dreamworks’ latest attempt to rival Disney in the traditional animation stakes is a much better movie than Prince of Egypt, though it’s unlikely to repeat the success of Shrek. However, it’s a treat for fans of swashbuckling adventure flicks such as Jason and the Argonauts or the Sinbad movies.

As Many Monsters As Is Feasible

The plot is basically just an excuse to throw in as many monsters as possible. Eris, the Very Sexy Goddess of Chaos (silkily voiced by Michelle Pfeiffer) frames Sinbad (Brad Pitt) for the theft of the mystical Book of Peace. His childhood best friend Proteus (Joseph Fiennes) is convinced Sinbad is innocent, so he offers himself up for execution in Sinbad’s place, giving Sinbad just ten days to recover the book and save his friend’s life.

Unfortunately for Proteus, Sinbad is a morally ambiguous sort of rogue and decides to make a run for it instead. However, he changes his mind when he realises Proteus’ feisty fiancée Marina (Catherine Zeta-Jones) has stowed away on board his ship, intent on making him keep his promise.

Sinbad’s flashiest trick is to render the various monsters (including a sea monster, a giant fish and a scary ice-bird) in digital animation. However, this backfires a little because, while it’s undeniably impressive, it has the unfortunate effect of making the traditionally animated characters appear, well, two-dimensional.

Pfeiffer Steals The Show

The voice-casting works really well – Pitt is impressive as the morally dubious hero and Catherine Zeta-Jones is superb as the feisty, short-haired, trouser-wearing Marina. However, the film really belongs to Michelle Pfeiffer, whose swirly, sexy Evil Goddess appears to be having as much fun as the actress herself.

Sadly, nowhere near the same amount of effort has gone into the supporting cast and they are largely a forgettable lot, despite the presence of Dennis Haysbert (President GiantVoice from ‘24’). Spike the dog is, frankly, a bit boring and Eris doesn’t even have a Comedy Animal Sidekick.

What Sinbad lacks in characterisation, however, it makes up for in its set-pieces, the highlight of which is the encounter with the Sirens which manages to be both exciting and vaguely saucy at the same time. One small gripe, though – for a swashbuckler, there’s not nearly enough sword-fighting in it: after a fantastic opening scene in which Sinbad fights first sailors, then a huge sea-monster, expectations are high for more sword-fighting…and there isn’t any.

Having said that, Sinbad is still a lot of fun and a thoroughly enjoyable family adventure which, though not on the level of the Disney classics, is nonetheless worth watching. Recommended.

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Content updated: 02/09/2014 22:19

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