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Film review: Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas

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Despite its new-fangled, computer-generated backgrounds and other technological advances, "Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas" is surprisingly old-fashioned. And in this case, that's not a compliment.

"Sinbad" is a lot more like the generic, formulaic cartoons that were so prevalent before the "animation Renaissance" that began with the release of Disney's "The Little Mermaid" in 1989.

This is one of the more tepid, unmemorable animated offerings of late, with no real energy or cleverness. The animation is uninspired and the film is surprisingly violent for kids fare.

If that's not enough, even the all-star voice cast seems bored — including Brad Pitt, as the legendary sea-exploring title character.

In this adventure, Sinbad is searching for Tartarus, the home of Eris (Michelle Pfeiffer), the goddess of discord. She's swiped the Book of Peace, which has thrown all of Syracuse into chaos. That leaves Sinbad 10 days to recover the treasured volume, or his best friend Proteus (Joseph Fiennes) will be executed.

Accompanying Sinbad on the voyage is Proteus' betrothed, Marina (Catherine Zeta-Jones). And as you might expect, complications arise.

The predictable nature of the plot certainly doesn't help, and neither do the contemporary references and pathetic one-liners. The characters also spend a lot of time talking, which is slow death for an animated film.

As indicated, Pitt sounds like he's in a hurry to get out of the recording studio (and who could blame him?), while the flat material doesn't give Pfeiffer any room to stretch.

"Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas" is rated PG for scenes of animated violence (creature attacks, swordplay and other combat, as well as some slapstick), some mild vulgarity (sight gags having to do with animal fluids and bodily functions), and brief partial male nudity (shown for laughs). Running time: 86 minutes.


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