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Legend of the
Seven Seas

One can't accuse Dreamworks of not knowing their audience. With Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, they have succeeded in making the perfect movie for undereducated 14-year-old girls and their 2-year-old children. If you don't consider yourself to be even slightly like either of these groups, you'd best keep your wallet in your pants.

Sinbad opens with The Goddess of Discord, Eris (voiced by Michelle Pfeiffer), plotting to bring some trouble to the world below. A generic opening for a generic picture. She releases a sea monster and the 'fun' begins. Sinbad (Brad Pitt) and his crew pursue a ship laden with fabulous treasure; well, actually just The Book of Peace. They board the ship and Sinbad runs into an old buddy (Joseph Fiennes).

Somehow he knew there was treasure on the ship but not that his childhood friend, also a prince, was the captain.

They fight amongst themselves and then band together to fight the 3D sea monster that Eris released into the 2D animated world. They sail on to Syracuse where Eris, disguised as Sinbad, steals the Book of Peace. Sinbad sets out to rescue the book, clear his name, and save Proteus who has taken Sinbad's place on the chopping block. Oh, and Marina (Catherine Zeta Jones), Proteus's betrothed, tags along.

When pitched in these generic beats it sounds like the makings of a good time. Unfortunately, that's just how the picture plays out. Bad action beats punctuated with bad action quips. The characterizations are dullsville and the plot has no real urgency or even any excitement within the action.

The picture is co-directed (generally a bad sign outside of established teams) by Patrick Gilmore and Tim Johnson. Johnson can be blamed for the lameness that is Antz but seemingly guiltier for this bomb is Gilmore whose background features many unmemorable video game versions of Disney pictures. Sinbad plays out like a video game: mindless trials through which our heroes pass easily, broken up by a few talking cut scenes.

The visual style of the film ranges from dull to grating. With an awful mixture of 3D and 2D animation, characters have smooth simple faces drawn with as few lines as possible and even less shading, while the settings and backgrounds are overly textured to the point of being distracting. It's like having the South Park kids from the first season wandering around the CG'd locations of Episode 2.

The characters, save the title character, have little to no personality -- the kiss of death for a picture with no innovation in the plot. Proteus literally and figuratively just takes up space and, taking a clue from their voice talent, the artists draw Marina with the same stupid expression on her face no matter what the situation. Whether under attack by a giant snow bird or trading sub-I Love Trouble banter, Marina never leaves home without that razor edged smile plastered across her kisser.

Pitt does all he can, but even his boundless charm can only drag this uninteresting Sinbad so far before he tires out and the bland animation takes over. It's not so much that the picture is bad as it is unremarkable. When dealing with such remarkable source material that may be the biggest crime one can commit.

Instead of lowering our standards when dealing with this type of picture, we need to raise them. These are the films that will form the next generation of filmgoers and the worse things they cut their teeth on, the worse the pictures that will be made 10 and 20 years from now will get.

Let's hope enough kids will be spared this mess, and if you're responsible for the education of a little one, try to fill the time that would've otherwise been spent on this with the far superior The 7th Voyage of Sinbad or even the not that great but still much better Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger.

What's It Worth? $2.50

Jordan Rosa

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