animated movie Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas © Dreamworks

Reviews for Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas

3 stars / 9 ratings
starlac's avatar
KF Managing Editor
Reviews: 226

starlac's Review

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posted: Apr 17, 2006
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Any resemblance to the literature version of Sinbad is purely coincidental. Like others said before me, this is merely Homer’s Odyssey with a character called Sinbad thrown in, with all but the sailing aspect left to connect them. Also thrown into the mix are sirens, a powerful vengeful deity and a friend in danger of losing his head if the hero neglects to returns. All in all, the film suffers from this personality problem, is it suppose to be based on the voyages of Sinbad or ancient Greek mythologies.

I’ll admit, the first time I saw this I was being openly hostile to it, the second time, I approached it with a more open mind. In reviewing it, however, I more inclined to take the view that this is a flawed film that, if you’ll excuse the pun, just manages to stay afloat.

Looking at the film, well, it is as if the production crew had been told to run this through as quickly as possible so that the studio could set its sights on the holy grail of full 3D animation. To give you some idea about what I mean, Sinbad was (I believe) released as a DTV in my Country, if this is so then obviously the distributors didn’t think much of it either.

Sinbad may be extremely close to the characters of El Dorado, but Brad Pitt lacks the charms of Kenneth and Kline, who were able to add a little spice to their characters with little inprovs. The other characters are equality forgettable, with the exception of Eris, who is the strongest villain Dreamwork’s ever managed to produce for it traditional films.

The animation is technically impressive but I can’t help but also be reminded of Dreamwork’s other films. In all The animation has gotten kind of formulaic, lupercal is right, but this is a problem that seems to plague Dreamwork’s 2D library and its gotten more pronounced the more films they made.

The 3D integration is some of the worst I’ve ever seen in a animated feature, sticking out like proverbial sore thumbs, look at me I’m computer generated. The distant Crowds are forgivable, although some of the props jar considerably. Worst are the giant monsters, who at times, seem fairly cheap and cheerfully made. The CGI Water effects, the sirens are most impressive and Eris has a intangible quality that is to be expected of chaos.

I think the absolute worse candidate for 3D character has to be that Ice Bird, a bird that can’t seem to be able to close its wings. I can’t remember a scene where it closes them, even when it’s on the ground, I know it suppose to be made of ice but when does that stop a monster created by chaos. Since when did anything chaotic follow the rules of reality.

It passes the time, but in essence it’s a weak ending to Dreamwork’s 2D line-up, but it seems that for the time being this film is that line’s end.

Lucky_Bob's avatar
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Reviews: 78

Lucky_Bob's Review

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posted: Jan 06, 2006
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This film suprised me. It is definantly Dreamwork's best traditional animated feature film. Too bad it's the last.

The story is very entertaining, the animation is gorgeous, pretty much the best realistic human animation you can get. It's excellent. Very slick, smooth, and not stiff and robotic like you would see with a lot of "realistic" human animation. The animators at Dreamworks are definantly talented!!

Too bad this was Dreamwork's last traditional animated film :(
They really have potential and CAN make good movies if they want to.

James

lupercal's avatar
KF Animation Editor
Reviews: 517

lupercal's Review

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posted: Nov 28, 2004
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Well, Dreamworks have had four shots at a 2D classic, and I now believe they don't have it in them, though 'Road to El Dorado' came very close. This is quite a good film, but it's more of the same.

More of the same? Two young friends grow up to be rivals ('Prince of Egypt'), and the hero is a loveable, quipping rogue ('Road to El Dorado'). In fact, remember I said, swap Tulio and Miguel's hair and you couldn't tell them apart? You can't tell Sinbad apart from either of them. Dreamworks need some new writers.

Ok, I gave it 3 stars, so obviously I think it's worth watching. It's just that Dreamworks keep showing such promise, but ultimately falling short, and I've come to believe the problem is chronic.

Anyway, what's good? Well, of course it looks great - but frankly I'm getting tired of films that look great, and don't have much else going for them. Eris looks cool, though she tosses her hair around so much, sometimes you think you're watching a shampoo commercial. Whoever the supervising animator was for Marina though deserves a hand, because some of her facial animation were really subtle and terrific. Particularly the way her expressions were synced to the voice track. The music was good too, even if the composer pinched some phrases from Musorgsky's 'Great Gate of Kiev'.

Dreamworks obviously have a thing for adventure epics. They've made four in a row now. I'd like to see them tackle something a bit more personal. 'Spirit' was the closest they came, though even that had to be deployed against a sweeping, epic background, and ended up being emotionally flat anyway. I just think that animation tends to lend itself more to personal stories than epic adventures (not to say that you can't pull off an epic, but it helps if you're Miyazaki). Look at how 'Lilo and Stitch' shines, sandwiched between 'Atlantis' and 'Treasure Planet'.

'Sinbad' improves a lot in the second half, and it's a long time since I've seen an animated film do that. Based on the first 40 minutes, I was going to give this two and a half, but the second 40 seemed to be where the movie found its feet. I'll admit the first half bored me so much, I actually watched it over two evenings, so perhaps I was just more in the mood the second night.

Brad Pitt's smart lines didn't bother me all that much. That's more than I can say for his ugly, slobbering dog, who slobbers so much in the first scene that you're left in no doubt that this film is going to use up more animated slobber than any picture ever made.

So, bottom line - Sinbad is a good, technically impressive adventure movie. Nothing amazing, but good. If you liked Dreamworks other films, you'll probably like this too. Ditto if you just watch animation for eye-candy. It's better than Prince of Egypt (I admit the religious motif in that one got on my wick) and better than Spirit, but not as good as Road to El Dorado, which is the one to watch if you've never seen a Dreamworks film. But take note, Dreamworks - next time, you're going to have try something different. This style is starting to get old. And please, could you draw a lead character whose face isn't all angles? Half your characters look like Max Headroom.

One last little beef. Remember when 'Balto Wolf Quest' came out, and people (myself included) said, 'the 3D objects clash a bit with the 2D animation'? Well, Dreamworks seem to have abandoned any attempt to be subtle in this department. In 'Sinbad', it's more like "look - there's a huge great 3D object wandering around bollocks-naked!" It was schizophrenic, like watching two movies at once. The bit that got me was early on where the ship gets attacked by a 3D Kraken, or giant squid of chaos or whatever. It made me think it'd be a great parody if it was this monster that prowled the sea, looking for 2D characters to eat.

Ah, well. Another Dreamworks. Another technically accomplished, formulaic film. Gets 3 stars, but only just. Athena is right though. The 2D animation, when you actually get to see a screen full of it all at once, is terrific, and I suppose for that alone, Dreamworks deserve to be supported, though the 2D seems to be gradually leaking out of their their 2D films. Sometimes when there was a crisis on the ship, I wanted Sinbad to say "Grab a hold of something that isn't computer animated!"

Ah, sorry, Dreamworks. I'm being a bit rough on you. I just wish you'd show a bit more variety. Even Disney, tottering on its last legs, after they pulled out of their 90's nosedive, managed to make 7 films in a row, most of which were distinctly different from one another.

edit: having watched 'Triplets of Belleville' a few days after this, it really brought home to me what a dreary, predictable piece of work it is. Lose another half star.


edit. Some time later. As you can tell from my two stars rating, memory has not been kind to this movie. I still think El Dorado is the best of their 2D films, though even that is nothing amazing.

greykitty's avatar
World Class Animation Critic
Reviews: 193

greykitty's Review

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posted: Nov 13, 2004
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Sinbad is one of those rare movies which stars Brad Pitt that I actually enjoyed. This film has some awesome animation, a fast paced, entertaining story, and a great score.

Although much of the movie is animated with computers it still has a lot of the 2D quality, and is animated very well. Most characters are animated in 2D, with the exception of Eris' creatures. The 3D does clash with the 2D, but it's not unbearable.

Although the story is a bit predictable it is fast paced and entertaining which makes up for that. The main characters are developed fairly well, but they could have been built up a bit more. I think Eris is one of the best villains Dreamworks ever animated. None of the side characters are annoying thankfully.

This movie has an awesome soundtrack, and is one of my favorites. It's full of strong action themes and softer love themes. The cast was pretty good.

I'd definitely recommend this movie to anyone enjoys action movies.

JHawkinsFan's avatar
Mad Scribbler
Reviews: 13

JHawkinsFan's Review

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posted: Jul 11, 2004
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I felt that Sinbad was very well done but was dissapointed in the fact that it had just about nothing to do with the original tale. If you know nothing about the original Sinbad then I think you will enjoy it throughly. Even if you have read the book you still will be blown away by the animation work that was put into it.

anya's avatar
Mad Scribbler
Reviews: 11

anya's Review

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posted: Jun 14, 2004
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This is a very great movie (i know : all DW movies are great ! lol).
I can't explain why but it is so different than the others, and I don't understand why it was a failure...
So don't think "it was a failure at the BO, so I will never see it" because you will miss something !

Inkwolf's avatar
KF Animation Editor
Reviews: 202

Inkwolf's Review

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posted: Jan 23, 2004
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A watchable, enjoyable movie with some brilliant character and effects animation, interesting situations, great monsters and some fun characters. It's sad that the advertising for this made it look so lame, it would have been worth seeing in a theater.

If you expect this film to have ANYTHING at all to do with the legendary Sinbad of the Arabian Nights, prepare to be disabused of the notion. Movie Sinbad hails from Syracuse, and his obstacles and opponents are much more derivative of the creatures of The Odyssey than anything from the tales of Sheherezade. There is a giant bird, but that's as close as anything gets to the voyages of Sinbad.

The framework of the plot is pretty interesting, and nicely different, but too many characters and touches gave the unspoken message 'We're trying hard to be Disney." And once out of Syracuse, for some time the voyage took a rather predictable pattern of 'fight monster, develop romance, fight monster, develop romance, fight monster, develop romance...' It was very noticeable that just about everything but the actual people was computer animated. (Even the people were clearly 3D models in some distance shots.)

But still, the monsters are brilliant, the crew is personable, Marina and the slobbery dog are likeable...Sinbad is rather obnoxiously full of himself, but then, this story is partly his journey of maturation, and he had some very likeable moments as time went on. Eris is visually spectacular, but her behavior is on the typical spoiled-sulky-teenager level, rather than any sort of interesting attitude which one might hope to find in a Goddess of Chaos.

And, I confess, re Marina and Sinbad, I've really had enough of the movies where the woman stands by being the warm, nurturing good influence while the male finds himself. Marina's only internal conflict was the usual, 'Which guy do I choose' which, of course, is always resolved in favor of the hero.

But these are the petty quibbles of someone who's watched too many cartoons. Sinbad will while away an hour and a half happily, and may be worth rewatching a few times.

athena's avatar
KF Animation Editor
Reviews: 218

athena's Review

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posted: Dec 05, 2003
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Oh, so close! Watching this movie, I had the sense that this could've been the breakthrough hit for Dreamworks.

Please note: *COULD* have been...

Action sequences... exceptional, best stuff I've seen animated in a very long time. The sequence with the sirens and the giant snowbird were very well done. If anything these sequences were so packed with visuals that it was occasionally hard to keep up. But still, good stuff.

Animation... wow, really impressed with what they did with the villainess Eris. Not a bad character in unto herself, but her morphing, whispy movements were really lovely to watch. Imagine the spirit of spring from Fantasia 2000 only evil--and better. As per usual, there probably could've been better integration between the 3D computer stuff and the 2D characters... personally I think Dreamworks did their best integration work way back with the Prince of Egypt.

Story... nice premise. Is Sinbad a black-hearted thief or is he a real hero? We're never really sure. Sinbad himself is never really sure for that matter.

A lot could've been done with this... unfortunately through some really foul combination of really, really bad oneliners and Brad Pitt's voice acting I think Sinbad as a character falls flat on his face. Never mind Marina strangling him, I was quite ready to take his head off by the end of the movie. Every single time the story started getting good, there was some half-baked, badly delivered oneliner... sometimes from the crew but far too often from Sinbad.

I think this movie suffers largely from not deciding where its audiences is... on one hand we have fun action adventure with cute, slobbery dog... on the other hand we have jokes about Kail's hard manly nipples and Sinbad's pickles and eggs (and if you need me to explain the last one after watching the movie, you're probably too young to know). Anyways, all these attempts to be cool merely suck us out of the story and back into the theatre where Brad Pitt and/or the writer is jabbing us in the ribs saying "gee whiz, wasn't that clever?"

The morale of the story... definitely worth a look--if only because you may not see 2D this fine for some time to come. Then find yourself a nice picture of Brad Pitt to throw darts at.