Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas
Film Length: 85minutes
Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1)
Audio: DD 5.1, DD Surround, DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Retail Price: $19.95
Sinbad (voice of Brad Pitt) and his men of thieves are out on the ocean when they come across a huge ship, which is carrying the legendary “Book of Peace”. Sinbad and his men attack the ship and destroy everyone on board except for the ship’s captain, Proteus (Joseph Fiennes). Sinbad is shocked to see him because the two grew up together but hadn’t seen one another in over a decade. Sinbad locates the books and heads off to his ship when a huge sea monster attacks. Sinbad could have made an escape for safety but instead he stayed aboard to save the life of Proteus but in the battle the monster wraps him up and carries him under the water.
The monster drags him to the bottom of the ocean where the goddess Eris (Michelle Pfeiffer) makes a deal with him. Sinbad can die right now or follow his former friend to the town of Syracuse and steal back the Book of Peace. If he steals the book then Sinbad will not only live but will be rewarded with all the money he’ll ever need. Back in Syracuse Eris ends up stealing the book on her own and frames Sinbad who is sentenced to death. Proteus stands up for his former friend and the government makes a new deal. Sinbad is to get the book back or his friend will die in his place.
I must admit that I didn’t know a single thing about this film when it arrived at my doorstep. I didn’t know what the story was and I didn’t even know how many A-list actors were involved with this project. What I did know was that the film was a huge bomb at the box office, which in large part was probably due to the success of Finding Nemo. After reading a few reviews I really wasn’t expecting too much but I actually found myself enjoying the film and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t care too much for animation.
What I was most surprised about is how this kids movie was certainly adult enough to keep older audience members interested throughout. There are a couple sex jokes, which the kids might not get but the adults certainly will and that’s never a bad thing. I was also rather shocked at how fast paced the film was and that the action is actually a lot more entertaining and imaginative than most summer blockbusters. There’s a brilliantly wonderful scene with the sea monster but the best moment occurs when the men make a stop at an island to make repairs to the boats. The “surprise” certainly caught me off guard and was a lot of fun.
Brad Pitt, through his voice, turns in a remarkable performance and really captures the role of Sinbad so perfectly that I wouldn’t mind seeing him do a live action film. Sinbad is your typical wisecracking jokester and Pitt pulls this off wonderfully as an adult and not a know-it-all kid. Catherine Zita-Jones is his love interest and also brings a lot to her character. The two together are very charming and actually makes the love story rather interesting. Michelle Pfeiffer, in full Catwoman mode, is also good, although she’s certainly not the most memorable villain. Joseph Fiennes however is rather forgettable and brings nothing to his role.
Again, I’m not expert on animation but I’m rather shocked that Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas didn’t do better at the box office. Perhaps current audience members have been spoiled by films like Toy Story and Finding Nemo but if that’s the case they’re certainly missing a rather adventurous and enlightening film.
VIDEO---The movie is shown widescreen (1.85:1) and is enhanced for 16x9 TVs. The picture quality is another stunning transfer from Dreamworks who are batting a perfect score in my book. I’ve yet to be let down with one of their transfers and that remarkable run continues here. The print is virtuously flawless and the colors are something wonderful to look at. I’ve seen many animated films over my DVD career and this is certainly one of the best out there matching anything Disney has put out.
AUDIO---You can choose from a Dolby Digital 5.1 track, DTS 5.1 and an Dolby Digital Surround track. I listened to the 5.1 and DTS tracks and I must say there really isn’t much of a difference. The only difference I could hear was in the opening sequence where the DTS track adds a little more surround support but the rest of the feature was pretty much the exact same track. Whichever you pick to listen to will be delightful. The dialogue is kept in the center speaker throughout with the surrounds perfectly used for the various sound effects ranging from a sea storm to mermaids in the water to the various battle scenes. French and Spanish 5.1 tracks are also available.
EXTRAS---Up first is an audio commentary with directors Patrick Gilmore and Tim Johnson, producer Mireille Soria along with various other people behind the production. I had to turn the track off after thirty minutes because it was pretty much boring me to death. The group track is lively from the get go but nothing they were saying kept me interesting. Up next is a making of featurette, which is a lot more entertaining. We get interviews with a few cast members as well as some behind the scenes stuff. DWK: This Way To Play is an interesting feature for the kids, which has been on previous Dreamworks DVDs. Cyclops Island allows the kids to pick one of their favorite characters from the film and follow them on an adventure through Cyclops Island. While this was meant for kids I must admit it kept me rather entertained. The Voice of Spike is another short featurette, which deals with what it took to get the dog in the film to act so “real life”. Up next are some character bios, which are basically cast bios about the characters in the film. Finally we get cast bios as well as production notes.
OVERALL---Why this film was such a bomb is beyond me but hopefully people will give the film a second chance with this stellar DVD release from Dreamworks. The video is brilliant and the audio serves the film just fine. The extras are certainly for the kids but they kept me entertained as well.
Release Date: November 18, 2003