Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas
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Sinbad, Legend of the Seven Seas

(This film is an animation, therefore the voice actors are named)

Eris (1), Goddess of Discord (Michelle Pfeiffer), wishes to ruin the Twelve Cites, currently protected by the magical powers of the Book of Peace. The Book is being transported by ship to a new home, a tower in Syracuse, by Prince Proteus (2) (Joseph Fiennes) of Syracuse, only son of King Dymas (Timothy West): however he is followed and attacked by his childhood friend Sinbad (Brad Pitt) and his crew, which includes his lieutenant Kale (Dennis Haysbert), look-out Rat (Adriano Giannini), oriental twins Jin (Raman Hui) and Li (Chung Chan), and elderly Jed (Conrad Vernon) who wish to seize the Book for ransom. Eris sends a kraken-like sea-monster, Cetus (3), to attack both ships: this is defeated by Proteus and Sinbad, but Sinbad, washed overboard as the monster sinks, is met by Eris, who tries to persuade him to steal the Book for her and bring it to her realm of Tartarus (4), for a far greater reward: a tale laughed at by his crew when Sinbad tries to tell them.

Proteus brings the Book safely to Syracuse. At the celebratory feast, which Sinbad and his crew gatecrash, Sinbad is confronted with Marina (Catherine Zeta-Jones), Proteus' fiance, and his own secret love: he leaves abruptly. Eris breaks into the Book's tower, and, assuming the form of Sinbad, overpowers the guard (Chris Miller) and steals it, leaving Sinbad's knife behind. Immediate decay and disaster overwhelms Syracuse: Sinbad, arrested, is tried and condemned to death for stealing the Book, despite his tale about Eris. Proteus, however, believes Sinbad, and offers himself in Sinbad's place as a condemned prisoner so that Sinbad can rescue the book - for which he has just ten days.

Sinbad, back on his ship (the Chimera (5)), has however no thought except to retire to Fiji: he knows Dymas will not allow Proteus to be executed (although when Dymas later engineers Proteus' escape, Proteus refuses). Marina however bribes her way on board ship and then bribes Sinbad with a bagful of jewels to make the journey to Tartarus - although she is not very happy when told she'll be bunking up with Sinbad's drooling dog, Spike.

The first danger of the journey is the savage rocks and passage of the Dragons' Teeth, to which Eris adds a special touch; mer-music, from malicious mermaid-like water-spirits, sirens (6), whose singing entrances the male crew and tries to persuade them to cast themselves overboard. Marina, unaffected, is left to steer the ship through the hazardous rocks whilst also trying to save the crew; with Spike's help she manages this, but at some damage to the ship, about which Sinbad is annoyed.

To repair the damage, the ship stops at a wooded isle, where the tension between Sinbad and Martina results in a mud-slinging match: this awakens the isle, which is really a giant fish. Everyone hurries back on board ship, and Sinbad manages to attach a harpoon and rope to the fish so that they are rapidly towed in its wake towards Tartarus. One very bumpy night afterwards, when everyone is feeling sick, Sinbad releases the rope: they have now appeared at the Granite Gates, a huge ruin of monoliths. Sinbad tells Marina how he and Proteus met as children, but evades the question of why they parted.

Eris once again intervenes, freezing the entire area so that Sinbad's ship is trapped in ice, and releasing a white Roc (7) to harry the crew: this carries off Martina to the top of the ruins, and Sinbad has to climb to rescue her, which they do by sliding down the mountain on his shield like a snow-board. The collapsing Gates kill the Roc, smash the ice and free the ship: Sinbad now reveals his love for Marina.

Approaching the gates of Tartarus, Rat sees that these lie beyond the edge of the world, a huge waterfall: Sinbad re-rigs the ships sails to fly it in the up-draught beyond the falls so that he and Martina can swing on a rope through the gates into Tartarus.

In Tartarus, Eris meets them and her full plan, not only to steal the Book but to engineer Proteus' execution, thus causing widespread chaos, is revealed. She offers Sinbad a deal, to which she binds herself: he can have the Book if he answers, truthfully, what he will do if he does not get it - will he take Marina to Fiji, or will he go back to Syracuse to face execution? He answers the latter, but Eris decides he is lying, and throws both him and Martina out of Tartarus without the Book. Marina, in love with Sinbad, tries to persuade him to run away.

Back at Syracuse, the ten days are up, and Proteus is about to be executed when Sinbad returns and takes his place. Since he can now be seen not to have lied, Eris, enraged, is bound to return the Book to him - which she does, and Syracuse is restored. Proteus realizes he has lost Martina to Sinbad, and she joins him on his ship, to search for new adventures.

On the DVD there is an additional post-tale episode with Sinbad and Martina on the isle of Krakatoa, inhabited by numerous blue furry Cyclops: there is a battle between these and the crew, but then Sinbad accidentally triggers a volcanic eruption, and the island sinks.

Notes: (1) Mythically, Eris is indeed the Greek goddess of discord (2) Mythically, Proteus was a Greek sea-god capable of changing his form (3) Mythically, Cetus is the sea-monster usually associated with Andromeda, daughter of Cassiopeia, rescued by Perseus: it is an associated constellation (sometimes called the Whale) in the northern sky. (4) Mythically, Tartarus is the hellish part of the Greco-Roman Underworld, in which the Gods imprisoned the Titans, and where those who offended the Gods, such as Ixion, Tantalus and Sisyphus, undergo eternal punishment. (5) Mythically, the Chimera was a creature part-lion, part-goat, and part-serpent, killed by Bellerophon (6) Mythically, the Sirens were between two and five monsters, part women and part bird, who lured sailors to their death by their singing. (7) The roc or rukh is a giant bird in Persian mythology, probably inspired in part by the eggs or even sightings of Aepyornis maximus, the elephant bird, a now-extinct three-metre-tall flightless bird of Madagascar, for which there were reported sightings at least in folklore memory recorded in 1658. The eggs were known at least as early as 1420, according to a caption in the 1456 Fra Mauro map: Marco Polo also gave an account of the rukh in 1298.
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