The sailor of legend is framed by the goddess Eris for the theft of the Book of Peace and must travel to her realm at the end of the world to retrieve it and save the life of his childhood f... Read allThe sailor of legend is framed by the goddess Eris for the theft of the Book of Peace and must travel to her realm at the end of the world to retrieve it and save the life of his childhood friend Prince Proteus.The sailor of legend is framed by the goddess Eris for the theft of the Book of Peace and must travel to her realm at the end of the world to retrieve it and save the life of his childhood friend Prince Proteus.
After reuniting with childhood friend Proteus, notorious pirate Sinbad is accused of stealing a valuable artifact laughingly titled the Book of Peace, and is immediately sentenced to death. The actual culprit is Eris, the Goddess of Discord, who snatched the book herself while disguised as the eponymous hero. Of course, this story falls on deaf ears, because then there'd be no movie. Proteus surprisingly volunteers to take Sinbad's place on the chopping block so Sinbad and his crew can sail to Tartarus in order to return the Book of Peace to the city of Syracuse, from where it was stolen. Accompanying Sinbad and gang on the quest is Proteus' feisty fiance, Marina. Given this flimsy plot, "Sinbad," like last year's Disney disaster "Treasure Planet," attempts to increase its coolness factor in order to appeal to adolescent boys and staunch an onslaught of boredom in adults; thus, we're treated to anachronistic X-Games-style snowboarding, cheesy one-liners, and bodily function jokes, not to mention a healthy bit of innuendo. (The latter two earned the film its PG rating.)
But the best story ever conceived wouldn't have rescued "Sinbad" from the doldrums anyway, and the substandard, miscast voice acting is to blame. Only Pfeiffer seems to be having any fun hamming it up in the role of the conniving Eris. She easily gives the film's best performance, but that's damning her with faint praise. The worst of the bunch is easily Pitt, whose perfunctory effort as Sinbad had me wondering if he recorded his lines from a Barcalounger. He gives us no reason whatsoever to care about his self-centered character, but perhaps he could barely contain his excitement at reciting dreck like "Okay, I'm officially creeped out." Meanwhile, Fiennes is bland and forgettable; Proteus appears indifferent to the fact that his very life rests in Sinbad's hands. Zeta-Jones recycles her "Chicago" surliness as Marina, who expends her energy by constantly trying to prove that a woman can sail the Seven Seas with the big boys. She discovers the heart of gold in the roguish Sinbad whenever they're not sniping at each other like a pair of fishwives.
For all the comparisons to animation pioneer Ray Harryhausen's Sinbad series that this movie has drawn, I was reminded instead of Harryhausen's final work, the underrated "Clash of the Titans," which dipped into Norse legend with the multilimbed Kraken but is a milquetoast compared to DreamWorks' ethnically-stripped mythical mushpot that plays like an overlong episode of "Hercules" without betraying the slightest hint of originality; it's nothing more than an out-of-sync compilation album of Greek Mythology's Greatest Hits. The only thing Arabian about this generic "Sinbad" is the name of the title character, because, you see, a Middle Eastern hero just isn't hip anymore in our post-9/11 world.
Perhaps screenwriter John Logan also confused Sinbad with Odysseus, because the Sirens make a brief appearance. Along with some wonderfully rendered CGI sea monsters, they lend themselves to the film's rare appealing moments. The ethereal Sirens captivate and seduce Sinbad with their haunting beauty. This Sin-bland movie will be hard-pressed to achieve the same effect on its audience. 5/10
- Jul 31, 2003