ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  p. gilmore, t johnson

RATED  -  pg

GENRE  -  animated

LENGTH  -  86 minutes

RELEASED  -  2 july 2003

DISTRIBUTOR  -  dreamworks

OFFICIAL SITE  -  sinbad

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $60,000,000
sinbad: legend of the seven seas - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from sinbad: legend of the seven seas at

buy the dvd from sinbad: legend of the seven seas at

follows one of the many adventures of the famous arabian sailor, sinbad.

initially, russell crowe was once signed up for the title role.


picture from sinbad

picture from sinbad

picture from sinbad


three out of four possible stars

Though there are moments of humor and the film is more exciting than not, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas will not make a lasting impression on audiences. As an animated diversion for children and a youth-oriented film that will not offend the adults dragged to the film by their children, Sinbad does its job sufficiently. But it would be a hard sell to dub this film anything more than ordinary. With the steamroller of the recently released Finding Nemo still finding a large percentage of the box office, DreamWorks may find that Sinbad is quickly forgotten in the melee of summer season releases.

It is definitely not geared toward older audiences, so it will miss out on the childless portion of the movie going public, but as the marketplace is currently very crowded with big-ticket releases, it will be surprising if Sinbad makes waves at this years box office. And you can chalk up some of this film's failure to really ignite to the rather staid recital of dialogue by star, Brad Pitt, who voices the Arabian adventurer, "Sinbad." Though he finds more comfort and "animation" in his voice as the picture progresses, Pitt is not able to find the beating heart of his animated character and seems more of a celebrity voice than the character itself.

Michelle Pfeiffer, voicing the evil "Eris," seems to have more fun with her role and is one of the most vibrant characters in the film. Catherine Zeta-Jones, who voices "Marina," the stowaway who hides on board Sinbad's ship, also gives her character an energetic sense of humor and irony. But none of the characters will have viewers wanting stuffed versions or action dolls. A key difference between the warm and fuzzy of Disney animation and the DreamWorks brand of cartoon is that Disney is much more apt at creating a marketing monster that results in giant ancillary profits (as in stuffed animals, soundtracks, video games, and other assorted children's toys).

The quality of animation in Sinbad is on par with last year's Spirit, and the animators should feel proud that their product is beautiful to behold. Crisp animation that was definitely meant for the big screen means that audience members with more discerning eyes will enjoy the visuals of Sinbad much more than the recent spew of Disney films originally-meant-for-direct-to-video movies (see The Jungle Book 2 for an example). As DreamWorks is a newer player in the animation field, they simply don't have the number of products that Disney currently pushes each year. But there is a sense of grandeur in much of Sinbad and with its skipping pace, the film won't be considered a bore, strictly speaking.

But to put it more bluntly, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas is not a film which will hold the test of time. It is a simple diversion with some entertaining moments and a youthful momentum, but the meat of the story isn't as "heartwarming" as a Disney film, but nor is it as caustic (and therefore more "grown-up") as the recent DreamWorks film, Shrek. The animated films released in the past few years that have relied upon traditional cel animation have not, for the most part, been that impressive. Though films like last year's Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron and Lilo & Stitch (made by DreamWorks and Disney, respectively) made decent box office and performed well for video sales, neither film could be considered an artistic triumph for the genre.

Last November's Treasure Planet (2002) was a hit or miss with critics and though it had a strong impact on video sales, that film was probably fifty percent computer animation, and so was a different type of film. Strictly speaking, for a film made solely of hand-drawn animation, Sinbad won't approach the box office of giants such as the Lion King or and probably won't gain the critical favor of a film like Spirited Away. It is an innocuous animated feature whose placement in the summer schedule will entertain the wee folks but probably won't drag in many other supporters into the theater. This cartoon might have been a film with enough inspiration to transport the audience's mind and feelings to an entirely different realm, but as it stands currently, the film is more fun than truly incredible, which, for the current efforts of DreamWorks, should be an indicator that the company will surely increase in competence as the years pass.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

content 2000 - 2005 - ninth symphony films - photographs dreamworks 2003
home | archive | ratings | links | about | contact