Western Animation: Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas
"What could be more perfect than this? A noble prince, a priceless treasure and a black-hearted thief. Oh, this is going to be fun..."
A Lighter and Softer re-imagining of the famous Sinbad stories by Dreamworks Animation, making use of a transitional blend between traditional and 3-D computer animation.Sinbad - in this version a charming pirate captain - is on a quest to steal the legendary Book of Peace and take it for ransom. However, when he attacks the ship carrying The Book, he runs into his childhood friend Proteus, who is responsible for the book's safety. They are suddenly attacked by a Sea Monster (sent by Eris, Goddess Of Discord, who has her own plans for the Book) and they team up to kill it. After nearly drowning in the ordeal, Sinbad is approached by Eris herself, who strikes a deal with him to steal the Book of Peace, in return for which he gets all the riches in the world.However, Eris then steals the Book herself and frames Sinbad for the robbery, getting him arrested and sentenced to execution. Proteus takes Sinbad's place in prison, pleading to the Council that Sinbad be allowed to prove his innocence by stealing the Book back from Eris. If Sinbad fails or does not return, Proteus offers himself to be executed instead.Accompanied by his faithful crew and Proteus' fiance, Marina, who is along to make sure Sinbad keeps his end of the deal, our hero must now journey past the edges of the Earth and into Tartarus, Eris' Realm of Chaos, to retrieve the book and return before Proteus' time runs out...The film made use of the same blend of 2D and 3D animation seen in Disney's Treasure Planet (released a year earlier), mixing traditionally animated characters with CGI-created creatures, objects and backgrounds in 3D. Although it was a flop at the box office, the movie, like Treasure Planet, has a good cult following.
Film provides examples of:
Absurdly Sharp Blade: Sinbad's knife pierces the stone floor when it is simply dropped. He also uses them to climb up an icy mountain.
Arbitrary Skepticism: Kale doesn't buy Sinbad's story of his encounter with Eris. After saving a boat with a magical book inside from a gigantic sea monster. (It might have helped if Sinbad had not opted to describe the encounter as "Eris has a thing for me and invited me back to her place.")
Arranged Marriage: Marina was brought to Syracuse 10 years earlier to prepare her and Proteus's marriage. It gets worse when it's revealed that Sinbad left because of it, and Sinbad and Marina start falling for each other. In the end, Proteus decides to cancel their marriage after realizing this.
Bare-Handed Blade Block: Kale manages to block a sword with his teeth, before using it to toss the attacker overboard, throwing back his head with enough force to pull his opponent (still holding the hilt) along with it over the railing.
Batman Gambit: Eris' Evil Plan relies entirely on manipulating first Proteus' nobility and then Sinbad's selfishness. She has the former completely pegged and only narrowly misjudges the latter.
Belligerent Sexual Tension: Sinbad and Marina have tons of it. Exemplified in their argument after she saves them from the Sirens, and again on the island which turns out to be a giant fish.
Betty and Veronica: With Proteus as Betty and Sinbad as Veronica for Marina. Sinbad gets the girl, and the pair (or at least Marina) even gets Proteus's blessings.
Big Entrance: Eris shows up during Sinbad's execution and Heroic Sacrifice. Said entrance involves the clouds spiraling into a tornado, creating a waterspout, and Eris emerging from the mist in a fifty-foot version of herself.
Big Friendly Dog: Spike. His way up helping in the opening fight scene? Attacking a crew member... by licking his face.
Boring Return Journey: After Sinbad has spent the majority of the film traveling to Tartarus to confront the goddess Eris (overcoming numerous obstacles set out by the aforementioned goddess), his return journey to Syracuse is apparently instantaneous. However, Eris has not actually been defeated yet, and while her loss or victory depends more on Sinbad's decision than anything else, she still has every reason to try to prevent him from getting there.
In defense of Eris doing nothing, she might be a goddess, but she isn't all powerful, and does have the entire rest of the world to cover when it comes to chaos. Also, she had every reason to believe that she had already won, so why would a god who had already won even bother continuing an ended (and therefore boring) game?
Cassandra Truth: "So I meet Eris, Goddess of Chaos, she's got a major crush on me, and she invited me back to her place."
Cosmopolitan Council: Of the non-evil, non-plot important variety - The Delegation of the Twelve Cities are in Syracuse to await the arrival of the Book of Peace. King Dymas rules Syracuse (see Shining City), which is Greek. Marina is from Thrace. Of the other 11 delegates, one looks Nordic, two look distinctly Asian, two look distinctly African, one looks vaguely Byzantine, one looks Egyptian, and one looks vaguely Arabic.
Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?: Near the end, Eris gives her word she'll give the book back to Sinbad if he were to correctly pass her test; answer honestly if he would go back to save Proteus whether or not he got the book. He said yes, but Eris said he lied and threw him away. A quick Heroic BSOD later, he comes in to stop Proteus' execution and willingly take his place, if only to honor the sacrifice his friend gave to him. Eris is pissed, but Sinbad remembers what she said and calls out that she gave her word before, forcing her to return the book and let him live.
Irony: It should be noted that Sinbad didn't scam Eris at all. She just assumed he was lying, so it was a poor choice on her part.
Evil Is Hammy: You can immediately tell Michelle Pfeiffer enjoys going overboard with her villainous voice role.
Evil Laugh: Michelle Pfeiffer has a delicious one as Eris.
Evil Overlooker: Eris towers in the background of the poster, looming over the heroes.
Evil Plan: Near the end, Sinbad figures out Eris' goal. Kill off Syracuse's heir and thereby cause a succession crisis: guaranteed discord.
Extended Disarming: When Sinbad's crew gets to the party at Syracuse, they have to remove their weapons. Kale and Rat leave their knives, then Jin starts unloading his arsenal of knives, swords, claws, grenades, crossbows, arrows, a massive grappling hook launcher... When Sinbad and crew leave, he's still unloading equipment.
Flat World: Sinbad and crew discover this to be the case when they reach the gates of Tartarus (causing one of Those Two Guys to have to cough up money for their Side Bet). Although to judge by the way the gate looks in relation to the water when Marina and Sinbad are returned from Tartarus, and that the ship is back in the water just fine, this was likely all an illusion of Eris's.
Frameup: After Sinbad agrees to steal the Book of Peace for her, but chickens out upon seeing Marina, Eris steals it instead and uses his knife to point the finger at him. Oh, and creates a doppelganger of him out of chaos for her to literally step into and puppetmaster.
Genre-Killer: The film's low financial success caused Dreamworks to abandon 2D animation completely, turning to CGI movies such as Shrek. Interestingly, the 2002 Treasure Planet did the exact same thing to Disney, causing them to leave traditional animation for the Computer-generated variety. These two events combined might be why this blend of animation has never been seen since. However, as mentioned above, both movies have since achieved moderate "cult hit" status, suggesting there might be some other reason for their less-than-stellar financial performance.
Marina: [perusing Sinbad's stuff] Stolen from Venezia... From Pompeii... [holds up a bejeweled bra] And from a brothel in Syracuse. — Sinbad: A sword at my throat, at my chest, at my— Random Sailor In Background: PICKLES AND EGGS! Sinbad: [beat] You get the idea. — Sinbad: Think of the beaches. Kale: Beautiful, if you like mosquitoes. Sinbad: Think of the sun. Kale: It's monsoon season. Sinbad: Oh, then the women. Kale: They're cannibals, Sinbad. Sinbad:Exactly.
Not to mention that the 'flyer' of Fiji has a topless woman.
And later, a conversation between Sinbad and Marina:
Marina: Look, clearly, I can't appeal to your honour. But I have other ways of convincing you. Sinbad:glances down [hopeful] Really?
In the Norwegian dub, during the Siren attack an enthralled Kale down right says "Let's talk about lovemaking."
Kale and Sinbad are this given their interactions with one another and the fact Kale is the only crew member to know about Sinbad's feeling for Marina before it was revealed.
Hoist by His Own Petard: It was Eris herself who told Sinbad that the gods were bound once they had given their word... Also, during her Reason You Suck Speech she taunts him about moving in on Proteus's girl before he's even in his grave, and it's his feelings for her that are a big part of why he goes back to Syracuse.
Honor Before Reason: Proteus's father tries to get his son to escape. Proteus refuses because he knows that it'll only cause trouble and ruin Sinbad's honor.
Indy Ploy: "It worked?" Also, using the angler fish to cut down their travel time by a huge amount.
In Name Only: As they appeared in The Arabian Nights, Sinbad's stories were set around Arabian/Chinese cities populated with Muslims and told of the sailor's seven (mis)adventures that made him a rich man. This movie throws it all out in favor of a Mediterranean setting populated with Greeks/Italians and tells of the pirate's (mis)adventures as he learns the true meaning of friendship and love. So... Yeah. There's a guy named Sinbad, there's a boat, and there's a giant bird. There are Chinese among the crew though.
Like You Would Really Do It: This gets averted in that even though you know main characters (usually) don't die in a children's animated feature, it's really hard not to hold your breath when that sword is one freakin' inch from decapitating Sinbad.
In-universe version. Sinbad sets off for Fiji with no guilt instead of questing for the book because he believes Proteus's father would never let them execute his son. And he's right... but Proteus refuses to leave.
Meaningful Echo: Eris seems to love stealing lines from Sinbad and his crew. Right after Rat comments on the simplicity of robbing the dinner guests, Eris uses his same line of "This is just too easy." She also steals Sinbad's "Lucky for you I have places to go, things to do (destroy), stuff to steal" spiel.
Meaningful Name: Marina means sea. Also, Proteus means changeable—while he himself doesn't change, it's because of him that Sinbad becomes a hero and Marina, going along on the journey to make sure he keeps his word, discovers her true calling.
Only Sane Woman:Later he shares this title with Marina. Before and after she becomes an official part of the crew.
Our Monsters Are Different: Boy howdy, although this is more readily apparent in the production sketches (which are by the same fellow who designed the dragons in How to Train Your Dragon and can be seen on the DVD.) Cetus looks like a combination of everything in the fisherman's platter. The Roc looks a bit more owlish than usual and can run about on all fours like a vampire bat. The Cyclops, had they appeared in the film, would have either been crab-men or fish-people.
Papa Wolf: Proteus's father has his most trusted guards bribe some of the other guards so that his son can escape.
Marina: Clearly I can't appeal to your sense of honour. But I have other ways of convincing you. Sinbad: Really? [Sinbad glances up and down on her.] Sinbad: Uh.. Just how do you expect to do that? Marina: By speaking your language. *pulls out giant diamond*'
Rescue Romance: Marina seems to realize she's in love with Sinbad after he saves her from the Roc.
The Reveal: We don't know what caused Sinbad and Proteus to fall out until the beginning of the third act when Sinbad reveals he saw Proteus meet Marina at the dock for their arranged marriage. Rather than stay and resent his best friend, Sinbad chose to to leave.
Shining City: The Royal City of Syracuse; filled with gleaming white, gold domed buildings and spires, built upon and amoung impossibly high Ghibli Hills, which are all connected by elegant walkways. There is even an elevated canal for ships, linking the seas with the Royal Palace. King Dymas is surely one of the most under-appreciated city building kings in the history of fiction. Its a shame that we only see it for a few minutes of the movie though.
Side Bet: Those Two Guys in Sinbad's crew have this down to a Running Gag. They bet on everything. Special mention goes to when the ship reaches the edge of the World: "Pay up! It's flat!"
Turtle Island: The island they come across after escaping the Sirens is actually a giant angler fish, complete with giant glowing lure.
The Villain Makes the Plot/Villains Act, Heroes React: Other than Marina choosing to join Sinbad on his journey to make sure he keeps his word, almost everything which happens in the movie is either due to Eris's direct involvement or the creatures she sends to harass and attack Sinbad, with the heroes then having to react to it all. (And that sole choice of Marina's actually turns out to be a big part of why she loses.) This is to the film's benefit, since she is a superb villain.