Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas

Year 2, Day 83 - 3/24/10 - Movie #448

BEFORE: Back to animated films about magic and legends - I'm getting burned out on cartoons, so this will be the last animated film for a while, but the start of 3 films about the legendary sailor, Sinbad. And the start of a longer chain about boats and the open seas...

THE PLOT: Sinbad is framed by the goddess Eris for the theft of the Book of Peace, and must travel to her realm at the end of the world to retrieve it and save the life of his childhood friend Prince Proteus.

AFTER: Now, this is more like it, probably the best animated film I've seen all week - this is what I think animation is really good for, showing things like giant sea monsters and elaborate stunts that would be nearly impossible to portray convincingly in regular live-action. (though CGI is making larger strides every year...)

My ear for voices identified Brad Pitt right away as the voice of Sinbad, and Catherine Zeta-Jones was obviously the voice of Marina, but I flubbed the other main voices - I thought Eris was played by Cameron Diaz, Proteus sounded like Jude Law to me, and I could have sworn Kale was played by Michael Clarke Duncan. Wrong on all three counts, it was actually Michelle Pfeiffer, Joseph Fiennes, and Dennis Haysbert. I'm sort of embarrassed...

Like Kuzco and Kronk, Sinbad is a bit of a renegade freelancer, who learns that the best way to live his life is to stick up for his friends - after being falsely accused (for once...) of a theft, his old friend Proteus volunteers to take his place in prison, while Sinbad travels to the edge of the world (and beyond) to steal the item back from the goddess of discord, and prove his own innocence.

Sinbad also learns that a woman on a sailing ship can actually come in handy and pull her own weight, but the movie never gets too preachy with a feminist message.

I really liked the action sequences, with Sinbad facing off against giant squids, giant fish and a giant snowbird. They were really thrilling, and Sinbad had some innovative methods of dodging danger and defeating the creatures. We never really learn WHY the Book of Peace is important, or what exactly it can do - but I guess all we really need to know is that it belongs in the city of Syracuse, and not in the hands of an evil goddess.

It's a bit of a shame this movie didn't really catch on, in the same way that the "Pirates of the Caribbean" films did. It's a pretty rollicking adventure.

RATING: 7 out of 10 cutlasses

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