Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas Review
Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas is a 2003 animated adventure comedy made by DreamWorks Animation. It is one of their lesser works as it has way too many problems.
The story is one of those problems. Sinbad is framed by the goddess Eris and accused of stealing Book of Peace. He is sent to recover it while his brother accepts his death sentence if he doesn’t return. Yes, it all sounds incredibly cliched. But it is the execution that is just typical in every regard. It literally follows every expected plot point after a plot point and is just entirely predictable from beginning to end. Now, as adventure, it honestly does work as it does have nice production values and is genuinely fueled with a nice adventurous spirit and great world-building. But the whole quest and the protagonist’s troubles and shift from bad to good is so familiar. As for the love triangle, it is better than most of the other triangles, but that is not saying much as most are bad. It is far from good and the whole forgiving nature from Proteus in the end is just so contrived and so incredibly unrealistic.
The characters okay, but nothing too remarkable. Sinbad is, as I said, typical, but still interesting nonetheless and is not a nuisance. Proteus is, as I said, too forgiving and too good a person whereas Marina is a strong female character, but annoying at that. Eris is the highlight and her villainous and great presence is evident. As for the other characters, they are just there and never at least a bit developed. The character development overall in this film is certainly passable, but it follows basic formulas for sure.
Now, the voice cast is problematic. This is another one of those celebrity voice casts from DreamWorks and that can get pretty frustrating. Michelle Pfeiffer did a great job and is the standout and the rest are all okay, but Brad Pitt‘s voice is so distracting in this one. He certainly did a fine job with his role, but his voice and accent is too modern for this kind of film which is a mistake this company always makes. And the whole shift from Middle Eastern to Greek roots of the characters is not that welcome and is a typical meddling from Hollywood studios.
The animation is quite good. I dislike this mix of computer imagery and hand-drawn animation personally, but it is done rather well. The backgrounds and especially monsters are evidently done by computers whereas the characters are hand-drawn creations. And surprisingly, the CGI stuff is better handled here. It has great imagery, it is colorful and is pretty to look at. But the character design is troublesome. It is basically taken from ‘The Road to El Dorado‘ in both their appearance and the tone of the movie.
Speaking of that movie, both share similar qualities and similar flaws and both are two of DreamWorks’ lesser works. I applaud both of these movies for having a traditional story and traditional animation, but they still did just an okay job that doesn’t stand out quality-wise which is one of the reasons both flopped at the box office and marked the end of hand-drawn animation. After Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, DreamWorks will never do another hand-drawn animated film and that is such a shame and it led to the death of this wonderful technique.
The world-building here is great and the action is fairly well executed. The story is typical, but has a nice charm to it and it is genuinely interesting to follow. I liked its adventurous tone and as adventure, the movie succeeds wonderfully providing you plenty of thrills accompanied by some wonderful scenery. The editing is so-so as the action sequences are way too prolonged. Also, the movie lasts for such a short time and the running time should have definitely been longer. It just does not end well due to its evident contrived nature and there just never happens too much here which is weird as the world is so well imagined and the scope is enormous. They could have done much more with it, but unfortunately they did not.
The score is memorable for sure. It is interesting that this time around there are no songs to be heard whatsoever and that is great for this film even though it led to more action that ended up being overwhelming. But the score is great and easily one of the best things about the whole experience. I like its theme and though it repeats itself too often, it is still very memorable.
The villain is quite good and some scenes are very pleasing to the eye due to some great imagery and very good animation. The dialogue is solid but could have been better. The humor is nothing remarkable, it is charming definitely, but never that funny. But overall I liked its tone as it shifted greatly from comedy to drama to adventure. But it worked best as pure adventurous entertainment. It isn’t original, but I liked its mythology and I wish more filmmakers would do Sinbad as it is ripe for animation. The imagination is evident and is the standout aspect about the film as the creatures it has are all very unique and memorable and the world overall is so beautiful to visit. And it does have its heart even if the conflict and the relationships at the center of it are so cliched. But overall it is more mature than you might think.