The DreamWorks film Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas is one I had heard about but somehow never gotten around to watching. Secretly I was hoping it would turn out to be a hidden gem that I would find very underrated, but I still didn’t see it. Well, today I finally watched it and unfortunately it’s not a very strong film. It’s certainly not the worst of DreamWorks, but I can see why it has been basically forgotten.
Sinbad tells the classic story of the famous pirate but this time he gets mixed up in the schemes of Eris, the Goddess of Discord. The plot then becomes very convoluted. Basically it involves Sinbad, his friend Proteus, Proteus’ fiance Marina, a magic book and a variety of other adventures.
The problem is those adventures aren’t accompanied by characters I cared much about. Proteus is gone for most of the movie so it mostly relies on Sinbad to carry the film. What can I say about Sinbad but he’s no Jack Sparrow…He’s completely forgettable. Brad Pitt is fine as his voice but the role is super bland.
Then we have Marina and she was a strange character. At times she would be tough but then other times she was very submissive. She was engaged to someone she didn’t love but then storms off with Sinbad at a moments notice. She swings from being a damsel in distress needing rescue to punching Sinbad in the face. She had more personality than Sinbad but it just didn’t quite work. I liked some of their romantic comedy-style banter but it felt a little weird given they were both cheating on the friend who had put his life on the line for them to be together. Awkward…
Then we have the villain Eris who is probably the best thing in the movie. Her design is pretty cool and she is well voiced by Michelle Pfeiffer; although, I was a little unclear what her motivations were. I guess she wanted the Book of Peace because it is powerful or something? It was a little vague. Everything with the book was vague and not very satisfying.
The animation in Sinbad also leaves much to be desired. If we remember this is the same year as Finding Nemo it’s pretty alarming how bad the ocean and sea life look in this movie. At times the animation reminded me of a Barbie movie which is not good for a major studio film. I wish they had just gone all 2D because the mixture looks awful. For some reason Prince of Egypt and Spirit both hold up in their animation but this looked really bad. It always looked like the characters were floating on top of the backgrounds. Road to El Dorado with its many flaws has way better animation.
The one huge plus I will give Sinbad is the score by Harry Gregson-Williams is terrific. It really helped me get into the action scenes even if I wasn’t sure who was fighting or what was going on. It really worked well for the movie.
I am glad I finally checked Sinbad off my bucket list. It does have some positives but not enough that I can recommend it. I would say watch Spirit or Prince of Egypt instead. Those films have better characters, stories and animation.
What do you think of Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas?
(Also I don’t think there was any legends or anything about the 7 seas? Did I miss something It should have been called Sinbad: Legend of the Book of Peace)
8 thoughts on “DreamWorks 17: Sinbad Legend of the Seven Seas”
Yeah……. it’s a shame, since this film had a lot of potential (which I could not say for El Dorado), but they made it convoluted, but also with a bunch of unnecessary cliches. Some executive meddling was definitely in this film from what I could tell, and they needed to go all-out if they wanted to develop the characters and their dynamic.
Oh interesting. It didn’t strike me as an executive meddling film but there definitely are a lot of cliches.
I noticed a lot of the marketing aspects (the action scenes, the dog) were a result of executive meddling from what I could pick up.
I’m surprised they didn’t give the villain some snappy sidekick
I personally like this film more than others. I find the 2D animation gorgeous (I mean, the way Eris moves is just phenomenal!) Yeah, the CG is a bit odd, but not enough to make me dislike it. I also enjoy the relationships although it is weird that the poor friend is being cheated on by both his fiancee and his friend.
But can I say, Eris is definitely on my top animated crushes list?
I guess I’m in the minority because I love this movie, maybe because I saw it in the theater as a kid. All of your complaints about bland characters and vague plot really didn’t bother me back then and they still don’t. True, the 3D is a bit dated and weak, but the action and excellent 2D animation more than make up for it. Thank you for pointing out Gregson-Williams’ bombastic score that really adds to the swashbuckling thrills. I’ve always wondered why this film isn’t more popular, but maybe I simply enjoy it more than most.
We all have those films and I can see why. Maybe you feel for this what I feel for Atlantis?
Oh, I love Atlantis too. Yet another underrated gem. Because neither one was popular, though, we don’t see as much sci-fi/fantasy adventures in animation and certainly not 2D anymore, which is a shame.