Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas

Film Review © 2003 by Trip Reynolds

Animated Film

Directed by Patrick Gilmore and Tim Johnson; Screenplay by John Logan; Produced by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Mireille Soria.

Starring the voice acting talents of Brad Pitt (as our very daring, self-centered, the rogue everybody loves, the greatest pirate ever known, Sinbad), Catherine Zeta-Jones (as Marina, the fiancée to Proteus but who, of course, will ultimately fall in love with Sinbad), Michelle Pfeiffer (as the evil, manipulative Goddess, Eris), Joseph Fiennes (as the proud, noble, and future ruler, Prince Proteus), Dennis Haysbert (as Sinbad's first mate, best buddy, and sentinel, Kale); Adriano Giannini (as Rat); Timothy West (as Proteus' father, King Dymas); Raman Hui (as Jin), Chung Chan (as Li), Jim Cummings (as Luca and other additional voices), Conrad Vernon (as Jed), Andrew Birch (as Grum/Chum), and Chris Miller (as the Tower Guard).

This animated movie is much more enjoyable than that other pirate film for 2003, Jerry Bruckheimer's live action mess, "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl." "Sinbad," has everything going for it: brisk pacing and tight direction, solid blending of traditional and computer-generated animation, topnotch voice acting by a great ensemble cast and, although the story is predictable, it's presented like a refurbished 1947 Cadillac with a brand new paint job. In this regard, producers and writers should give a big acknowledgment to "Sinbad the Sailor," from 1947, (truly the best pirate film ever).

Story has Sinbad framed (as usual) for taking something that didn't belong to him - the all-powerful and awe inspiring, "The Book of Peace." Essentially, "The Book of Peace" is similar to the "mystical energy source" in Disney's animated film from 2001, "Atlantis: The Lost Empire." Again, there's not much new here. An old childhood friend of Sinbad, Prince Proteus, nobly offers to forfeit his life if Sinbad, who claims his innocence, fails to retrieve the book from the actual thief, the evil Goddess Eris. Concerned about Sinbad's unsavory reputation, Prince Proteus' fiancée, Marina, decides to stowaway on Sinbad's ship to make sure the quest to save her lover's life is completed. Along the way Sinbad and his crew encounter many strange creatures and perils. Catherine Zeta-Jones does an excellent job bringing a Maureen O'Hara-like treatment to her character, Marina.

This film is what it is: a fun, exciting and occasionally intense entertainment (film contains a few action sequences that only suggest violence - but there's no blood-letting). Direction by Patrick Gilmore and Tim Johnson does not meander and supports efficient storytelling.

Film has a brisk running length of 86 minutes.

Recommendation: It's a perfect film for a Saturday afternoon matinee - with or without children [yes, adults will like this movie]. For more robust entertainment, purchase a copy of "Sinbad the Sailor," made in 1947 - which is the best pirate film ever!