Legend of the Seven Seas
2 out of 5 stars
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This summer's DreamWorks animation is a swashbuckling adventure with gorgeous computer animation that mimics a hand-drawn style. Pity the script is so bad. Sinbad (voiced by Pitt) is a devil-may-care pirate in the ancient world, trying to get his hands on the valuable Book of Peace, which is now in the hands of his childhood friend Proteus (Fiennes), heir to the throne of Syracuse and a thoroughly good guy. But Eris (Pfeiffer), the goddess of chaos, is trying to stir things up, so she steals the book and forces Sinbad to voyage to the edge of the earth to get it back. He's accompanied by his faithful crew and Proteus' fiancee Marina (Zeta-Jones), who has always fancied a life at sea. Adventures ensue.

The classical story is superb, the vocal cast is excellent, and Sinbad's exploits are exciting and extremely well animated. And yet the film feels half-hearted in its cliche-leaden dialog and the clunky interaction between the characters. Nothing is remotely original, from unnecessary anachronistic slang to the uninspired forbidden-love/opposites-attract romance between Sinbad and Marina. There are a few hysterically outrageous zingers obviously added to the script later (two Shrek writers are credited as "consultants"), since it's clear that Logan (Gladiator, Star Trek Nemesis, The Time Machine) doesn't have a creative thought in his head. And while much of the animation is astonishingly gorgeous, the human characters look like tired retreads of every Disney film we've ever seen--all big eyes and tiny waistlines. That said, Eris is fantastic, with a combination of Pfeiffer's gleefully evil inflections and truly inventive visual styling. It's strange to see such a mixture of originality (the action sequences are astonishing) and laziness (the writing and character design). The result is a film that's enjoyable ... but instead of being something special it merely passes the time.

cert U themes, violence 27.Jun.03

dir Patrick Gilmore, Tim Johnson
scr John Logan
voices Brad Pitt, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michelle Pfeiffer, Joseph Fiennes, Dennis Haysbert, Timothy West, Adriano Giannini
release US 27.Jun.03; UK 25.Jul.03
03/US 1h26

Shipmates: Sinbad (above), Marina and Sinbad's sidekick Kale (below).
pitt jones pfeiffer
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2003 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall