Sinbad: Legend of The Seven Seas (2003)—A Failure or Hidden Masterpiece?



This was a Dreamworks animated film resurrected by Dreamworks founder Jeffery Katzenberg (who ran Disney during its renaissance) from tales that Disney cancelled. The result was 2003’s Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, which proceeded to be a box office bomb that cost Dreamworks $125 million, and would be the last classically animated Dreamworks film. So, nearly 20 years later, did this film deserve that fate?

Notorious thief Sinbad and his crew are on their way to steal the Book of Peace from Prince Proteus of the kingdom of Syracuse. Sinbad and Proteus were once friends, but split over their occupations. During his raid, a giant squid attacks both their ships. Sinbad is dragged to sea, but makes a deal with Eris, the goddess of chaos to steal the Book of Peace. He arrives with his crew to Syracuse to steal it, but doesn’t for some reason. Eris steals it instead and frames Sinbad. Sinbad is about to be executed, when Proteus takes his place, and tells Sinbad to steal it back from Eris. If Sinbad doesn’t return with the book in ten days, Proteus will be executed.


Literally my face when I watched this

I honestly liked this film a lot when I was a kid and re-watched it several times. The unique blend of traditional 2D animation and CGI looked spectacular to me at the time. However, upon viewing it as an adult, the effects look much more jagged and less-refined. Despite boasting a stellar cast, the overall characterizations of its main cast is rather lackluster. Sinbad is a rather one-dimensional macho character in an action adventure film. Meanwhile, Marina (Sinbad’s love interest) is the stereotypical “strong female lead” with no real personality outside of arguing with Sinbad. Hell, their entire relationship consists of name-calling and shouting at each other. I honestly felt like I was watching Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale from Van Helsing whenever I saw Sinbad and Marina.

Story-wise, the film is pretty standard action adventure schlock. And while that doesn't make a film bad, in this case, it doesn't add enough to get anyone interested in the film. There are a few interesting sequences, such as the opening fight with the giant squid monster, but the bad CGI really takes you out of those scenes. Oh yeah, and all the monsters look like Pokémon. The only good part about the film is Eris. She's so evil, yet charismatic at the same time. Michelle Pfeiffer does a great job portraying villains, first in 1992’s Batman Returns, and now in Sinbad. Eris is also hot as hell, but that's to be expected.


I mean, how can you NOT love her?

This film tries too hard to be 2002’s Treasure Planet, from the visuals, and overall plot, but misses what made it so spectacular. The characters are bland as hell, the plot is one-dimensional, and the effects really don't hold up. Also, what the hell does the Book of Peace really do? If you close it, then all peace goes away? What page do I turn to in order to bring about eternal peace? What happens when I scribble in it? Does the world end? It honestly just felt like someone just looked at a random object and was like, “this is a good movie McGuffin!”

Overall, Sinbad is another average action adventure movie that rips off of The Mummy and Treasure Planet. It’s fun if you just want something to watch on a boring Sunday morning, but other than that, it’s not really worth your time besides being a nostalgic trip to your childhood.


That's some heavy reading

Co-Written by: Owen Gonzalez

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