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  • Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas
    • Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas
    • Runtime:88 min
    • Release Date:2014-10-23 08:37:42
    • Director: Patrick Gilmore
    • Genres: Adventure, Animation, Family, Fantasy
    • Studio:
MOVIE REVIEW:Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas
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*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas is an exciting adventure, and it has
the obligatory clever quips and laughs, as well as minor romantic
qualities that always seem to find their way into these films. The very
strong cast does a very good job of their roles, especially Michelle
Pfeiffer as Eris. Animation is smooth and well-done, and although the
heavy use of computer animation sometimes doesn't work perfectly,
overall it does a good job. In the year it was made, it was very
advanced, and it holds up admirably.

The music is appropriate and well-composed and performed, which of
course adds to the enjoyment and the emotion of scenes. The character
designs are excellent, and they form a well-rounded group that gives an
interesting variety, in every way possible.

The story engages the audience quickly, since the action begins
immediately. It keeps moving rapidly enough, which is good because it
also keeps the audience occupied with what's happening, instead of
letting them stop and consider some of the parts of the film that don't
quite work.

When Sinbad is framed for stealing the Book of Peace, he is condemned
to be executed for it, but his childhood friend — Prince Proteus –
demands to take his place, giving him 10 days to retrieve the book from
Eris, the Goddess of Discord who framed him. The problem I had with
this was that there were too many confusing questions left unanswered.
For example, this society, governed by both crowned royals and a
council (who are apparently higher in authority), apparently relies on
a physical thing, a single book, to maintain the peace of their kingdom
and even the physical beauty and stability of it. This seems
problematic to me, as it seems also to indicate — and accurately,
given their immediate willingness to execute Sinbad despite his words
to the contrary and even the prince's statement — that the people have
relied on the book, rather than developing their own society into a
truly enlightened, peaceful society. It's clearly not that peaceful if
they have people's heads chopped off after being presumed guilty.

Furthermore, even if they are obliged to accommodate his request, a
council that is willing to let the most important prince, heir in line
for the throne, actually be executed is a problematic society indeed.
Although it is stated later by Eris that this is part of her plan, and
that she expected it, at the same time it makes it very difficult to
sympathise with the people and be concerned for their well-being, and
the book. Perhaps it would be better if they were to lose their
all-important magical artefact and change for the better!

The book was returning to Syracuse at the beginning, but it isn't said
where it was and why it was away. It also isn't clear how the book
works, either, since when Eris steals the book, the city immediately
becomes darker and the buildings deteriorate, and when it's returned at
the end, they're immediately restored. How does that work exactly, if
it was only being brought back at the beginning of the film? But it's
easy to see why these things were not brought up. The people of
Syracuse weren't really meant to be that sympathetic, because obviously
the audience were supposed to like and cheer for Sinbad, and that is
accomplished very well. It may well be that the writers set it up so
that the apology Sinbad receives at the end is more appreciated by the
audience, and that perhaps, one imagines, the people will re-examine
their system of government and dependency on a single item for the
welfare of their realm.

But really, the film is so lovable that it's easy to overlook that and
simply assume that the people were meant to be cast as antagonists
(which they are, though relatively lesser than Eris, of course) who are
later given a sort of redemption. It also makes the film much more
dynamic than most fare for young audiences, in showing that appearances
are not everything, and even the most idyllic-seeming place can have
serious problems that aren't handily solved in the space of a 90-minute
adventure. It also shows that nobility isn't something that can be
equated with lawfulness or authority, which is another good message;
even if Sinbad is a thief and a pirate, he ultimately does what's
right, whereas those in authority in Syracuse repeatedly do instead
what is wrong.

The only really nagging regret I have with the film is that Proteus
never really gets a break. Nothing good comes of his nobility. He is a
genuinely good person who does the right thing in every case, and yet
he receives no reward for it. That was the only real disappointment in
the film; even if the rest of the inhabitants of Syracuse were not
particularly respectable, he at least tried to do his best and not only
nearly died for it, but also lost his fiancée, for whom he seemed to
harbour genuine feelings.

However, the film was quite good, quite strong and well-done, and
although it might seem to try too hard at first, it quickly warms the
viewer up to it and its sense of humour. Like any good comedy act, the
jokes do get funnier. The action was gripping, the adventure was
well-paced, and in a particularly unique and nice turn, the final
confrontation didn't involve swashbuckling or violence, but cleverness
and intelligent conversation. Amazing!

You could do worse than spend an hour and a half with Sinbad. The
unique Greek tones add a novel element as well. All in all, it's a
fantastically fun adventure. Just don't think about that book too much!

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