Sinbad and his merry band of sea thieves are out to nab the Book of Peace from Proteus, the Fiennes brother who is about to marry the lovely Marina, when Eris, the Greek goddess of Chaos steps in to muck shit up for everyone. Now, Sinbad must travel to a far-away land in order to retrieve the book and save the life of his childhood buddy. Oh yeah, the lovely Marina tags along for the ride. Adventures in the se7en seas ensue.
I’m not exactly sure why I still review animated films, since they are about as critic-proof as any movie can get (parents will inevitably bring their kids to see them, as long as it’s not something like SOUTH PARK or adult anime, etc…), but I guess for now, I will churn them out until I see reason to do otherwise (or when I get a real job!) All that to say that this film is yet another one in a recent spat of “so-so” animated flicks that seem to have retrograded the field since the likes of CHICKEN RUN and SHREK were last seen jazzing it up again. SINBAD is a decent kid’s flick that starts off a little slow but gets going once the gang hit the high seas with a couple of doozie adventures (the giant ice-eagle being the best), a decent wisecrack or two (“How did he get carrots?”) and a cute, believable romance between the title character and the lovely Cathy Zeta-Jones. I’m not sure if it’s worth paying the baby-sitter to watch the smaller ones so that you could take the bigger ones to the actual “theater”, but I guess that’s inevitably your choice (but for the love of God and all that is holy, when the kid starts crying…take ’em out of the friggin’ theater, man!) It felt more like a “video movie” to me. It also runs a little too short for any kind of movie at a measly 80 minutes, and could’ve used a lot more action and humor (it has a bit of both, but not nearly enough to completely wake up my numb ass), but seeing as its target audience falls into the 5-12 age range, I guess it’s ideal for them (some kid next to me was jumping on his seat in minute two). Then again, the film also features a surprising shot of Brad Pitt’s ass (well, Sinbad’s butt-cheek…I suppose) as well as one of Prince Ponteus grabbing his wife-to-be’s left boob in one of the earlier scenes on the balcony?? Watch for it.
For me, an adult with no kids (as of yet…or that I know of), the film didn’t play as well as I’d hoped and definitely didn’t attain the high energy, bright colors, engaging characters and all-out adventures of the severely underrated TREASURE PLANET. What ever happened to that film is beyond me! I assume that it was simply released at the wrong time, since SINBAD is sure to make billions with its choice release date in mid-summer, despite a not-so-memorable cast of secondary characters (Spike the dog is the only one who stood out a little, but even he wasn’t “all that”), little to no eye-popping animation and a serviceable score. Basically, the film does “the job”, but not much more than that. The voice actors were surprisingly decent, even Brad Pitt, who I was convinced wouldn’t work as the lead, but did pretty well overall (although Russell Crowe, who was originally cast as the voice, would likely have been better and less identifiable). Pfeiffer also seemed to have a blast as the “villainness”, but her character wasn’t as frightful as many of the greater baddies from animation past. Zeta-Jones’ character was probably the best developed, as the woman about town, the chick with the attitude and the action-hero, all wrapped into one. I dug. The antagonism and chemistry between she and Sinbad also worked and I appreciated how it all turned out with a lesson about “truth” and “friendship” for the kids (and adults, I suppose). But in the end, this film, much like FINDING NEMO, didn’t really take things to the next level, didn’t truly electrify or fully entertain, and definitely didn’t make me want to see it again anytime soon. Then again, I’m not a 10-year old kid with a Sinbad Whopper in one hand and a Spike Pepsi in the other.